Digital Textbook Platform Kno Partners With Publisher HMH to Power K-12 Content

Kno, the interactive and digital textbook provider BetaKit last covered when it launched its Advance platform to provide publishers with DIY ebook solutions, announced today that publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) will use Kno’s platform to digitize and deliver its K-12 core curriculum across the U.S. School districts will now be able to put in orders for digitized versions of textbooks that include all of Kno’s interactive features like rich media, links, and definitions, in addition to social sharing and learning analytics through HMH. The content can then be made available on Kno’s web platform, or accessed via its iOS, Android, and Windows 7 and 8 mobile apps.

“It’s a very exciting partnership, HMH is the number one publisher in K-12, they roughly own 47 percent of the market and they tend to be literally in every school in America. As the world goes digital, they selected us as their content delivery partners as well as the interface through which students can read and consume the material,” said CEO Osman Rashid in an interview. “It’s a partnership where the HMH sales team leads the effort in the schools and we deliver content to their customers and to the students who then use our platform for day-to-day use.”

The lat time Rashid spoke with BetaKit regarding the Advance platform he said that using its technology publishers are able to convert a PDF into an interactive textbook in as little as 12 minutes, with the added benefit that if any changes are required, they are able to go in the system and push it out instantaneously to all existing versions, something which took well over a year in the traditional print life-cycle of textbooks.

Some of the key features of the K-12 enhanced content will include search options with the digital textbooks, highlighting capabilities, a digital journal to take notes, social sharing for collaboration between peers and teachers, and multimedia content like videos, 3D models, and links. Other learning tools will include flashcards, a Quiz Me feature, and an interactive glossary. School districts will purchase the content just as before through HMH, with Kno powering the back-end distribution, with students accessing the content via an online account.

The edtech space continues to gain momentum, and last week BetaKit also covered iPad Flash-enabled browser Rover when it hit the one million user mark and unveiled its monetization strategy, while we previously covered Top Hat Monocle’s partnership with Pearson to increase the distribution channels for their app, which replaces traditional classroom clickers. Not to mention Friday’s news that Noodle is acquiring education social network Lore, which at one point planned to monetize by selling textbooks to its base of students and teachers. Kno’s latest partnership puts in good standing in a market that includes competitors like Inkling, Amazon, and Apple, with its education marketplace now including over 200,000 textbooks from more than 80 publishing partners.

Rashid said the company will continue to add to both its partners and titles in its marketplace, and is also eyeing international expansion. The partnership means digital textbooks powered by Kno could eventually reach HMH’s global base of 60 million students in 120 countries, giving it a viable way to expand internationally without having to court partners in every country. While the edtech space is a competitive one, winning over large publisher partners will likely be the key to expansion, so whether Kno wins the space remains to be seen, but this partnership is a good start.


Humayun Khan

Humayun Khan is a Senior Writer and Analyst at BetaKit. A marketing graduate with honors, Humayun's work experience spans the fields of consumer behaviour with noted contributions in an academic paper published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology and market research consulting having coordinated projects for a major financial services client at Decode Inc. More recently he was involved in business strategy as a Business Analyst for an equipment rental outlet and prior in the National Marketing Department at Ernst & Young LLP. He is passionate about emerging and disrupting technology and its ability to transform and create entirely new industries.

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