Discover the Spotify for textbooks and start saving
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Textbook prices have increased substantially in the last forty years, and with the already extremely pricey tuition fees needed to start a university career, having to spend more on several books can make access to higher education ever more difficult.
To tackle this necessity, students had up to now only one alternative - buying second-hand books. Now however, another option is available, and it’s called Perlego.
Defined as the "Spotify for textbooks", the platform gives university students unlimited access to over 200,000 eBooks for a £12 monthly subscription.
Founded in August 2016 by Gauthier Van Malderen and Matthew Davis, the platform is already growing exponentially, and preparing for its launch in October.
“We launched a Beta version last January to test the platform” Oliviero Muzi Falconi, Head of Growth at Perlego told The National Student.
“We’ve been in many UK campuses to test it, to see what people thought of it. What were the features we needed to implement. Nearly 8000 students signed up for this program, mostly from London”.
When asked how Perlego works, Oliviero said that’s basically a partnership between them and the publishers.
“The books are sent to us in EPUB or PDF format by the publishers, they are scanned through a Content Management System, tagged with appropriate categories and metadata, then uploaded to the platform.”
Talking about the long-term plans for Perlego, Oliviero said that the final goal is to “make the platform available not only directly to students but to universities as well. To have universities use the platform internally.”
“At the moment we’re discussing this with a handful of universities in the UK."
“Realistically, they might be start using Perlego from next January, since we’re still in the process of procuring books from their reading lists.”
But why would Perlego work better than the existing eBook services universities are already using?
“The problem with most of them is that they’re either using third-part services that are very costly for universities, or they’re paying the eBooks’ licenses individually, and by doing so the number of digital copies students can access is limited.
“Perlego would be much cheaper than these services, and would allow all students to access the books without any restriction.”
We have tried the platform ourselves and must say that, despite some titles were still missing from some universities’ reading lists, the catalogue is quite extensive already and is about to grow exponentially ahead of the official launch in October.
“We’ve already partnered with most of the leading academic publishers such as Palgrave, Wiley, OUP and Pearson, and waiting for 400,000 books before our official launch.”
In the meantime, people can test the platform without any commitment on 50,000 royalty-free books already present on Perlego.
When asked what should we expect from Perlego launch in October, Oliviero was pretty cheerful.
“Starting next week we’ll be under the spotlights in almost every student union in the UK. We’re also launching a Facebook campaign, and we’ll be physically in London campuses at the beginning of October. Hope to see you there!”
What do you think of Perlego? Will you be using it? Let us know in the comments below.