The electronic textbook revolution has officially begun with a relatively new start-up called “Kno.” Kno allows you to purchase, download, and read over 100,000 eTextbooks on the iPad, the Web, and even . . . wait for it . . . Facebook! If you have already begun to explore the eTextbook realm, you may know Amazon does the same thing (except for Facebook) with its Kindle application and eBookstore. Nearly all eTextbook titles are available on both platforms, but the unique interactive toolset sets the Kno service apart.
Basic functionality includes the ability to highlight text, add virtual sticky notes, and bookmark important pages. Of course this can all be done in a regular textbook, but in this case Kno aggregates the information automatically into a “Journal,” which acts as a terrific study aid. Your account then syncs your latest Kno information on the web, iPad, and Facebook versions of Kno, so you will always have access to everything no matter where you happen to be.
Kno is also experimenting with a few beta features that allow for greater interactivity, including “Quiz Me,” “Smart Links,” and “Kno 3D.” The “Quiz Me” feature allows readers to create multiple-choice quizzes on the fly from any diagram (think Biology, Chemistry, and Anatomy texts). Certain textbooks contain “Smart Links” that bring up a menu of ancillary materials (web links, video, audio) related to what’s on a page. The “Kno 3D” feature, which allows readers to manipulate and interact with 3D figures such as molecular models, can be found in certain Chemistry texts.
To experience Kno for yourself, visit the website or download the free app to your iPad. You’ll find creative videos demonstrating how Kno works and its myriad features. If you decide to take the plunge and actually purchase an eTextbook (note that Professors can request free eTextbooks for their classes), use coupon code “MLKNO” when checking out (found through Retail Me Not) and $10 will be deducted from the price of the book you order. There is a generous 15-day return policy on all electronic textbooks as long as you don’t read too much of your purchase (generally the first chapter or two) and order directly through the website. Unfortunately, if you order books using an iPad, no refunds are allowed.
Give the service a try and get to know “Kno.”