Web developers unleash code in hopes that students will take on bookstores

College students lauded the release of TextYard's code.

The creators of a popular online textbook service are arming college students with open source code that might give rise to low-cost textbook sites and create competition for campus bookstores.

Ben Greenberg and Rui Xia, co-founders of the site TextYard, announced Feb. 14 that they are moving on to another project, and that their last action at TextYard would be making their code open source – a move that large bookstores are expected to combat with new security methods.

Making the code public means even students with “rudimentary coding skills” can create their own online textbook stores that pose a challenge to campus bookstores, TextYard said in an announcement.…Read More

Partnership a boon for alternative textbooks

More than 40,000 students at 400 colleges used Flat World textbooks in the fall 2009 semester.
More than 40,000 students at 400 colleges used Flat World textbooks in the fall 2009 semester.

Students who are blind, have low vision, or have a learning disability that requires computer-generated speech and highlighted text soon will have more resources after publisher Flat World Knowledge announced Dec. 14 that it will make its content available to Bookshare, the largest web-based library for people with print disabilities.

Bookshare, which has 75,000 members worldwide, will add 11 new digital textbooks to its online library, which has been bolstered in the past year by contributions from colleges and universities hoping to bring reading material to students who can’t see standard print or can’t turn a page.

The first Flat World Knowledge peer-reviewed textbooks on Bookshare will be for economics and business. The partnership is expected to produce about 50 more books–covering algebra, genetics, sociology, and a range of other subjects–that will be released over the next two years, according to an announcement from Bookshare, which launched in 2002.…Read More