Saint Paul, MN (PRWEB) March 2, 2006
Following a highly successful beta launch, Freeload Press, Inc. (“FP”) announced today the expansion of its unique free textbook initiative. The company plans on providing one million free downloads of college e-textbooks and study aids--all supported by commercial sponsors.
Staffed by experienced academicians, entrepreneurs and former textbook publishers, FP developed a breakthrough model providing students with free e-book versions of textbooks. Students download free e-books from FP’s distribution web site, freeloadpress.com. The e-books, which are in Adobe’s PDF format, contain sponsors’ advertising or marketing messages.
Corporate sponsors, among them FedEx Kinko’s, pay FP to place unobtrusive messages in e-books at natural breaks in the text and layout. Paperback versions of the e-books, with advertising, can also be purchased for 65% less than comparable textbooks for the same courses.
Halfway through the beta launch season, FP model has been used for 75 courses in over a dozen colleges, including U of Texas, Georgia Tech and U-Mass Lowell. . The company estimates its beta list of books will save students over $500,000 in textbook costs this year. College instructors at over 350 colleges are registered and reviewing FP’s offerings for next year’s courses with users. Inundated with overwhelming positive student and instructor feedback, the company is lining up more sponsors to support their one million free downloads initiative.
“College textbooks are too expensive,” said Dr. John Ivancevich, FP’s Chief Academic Officer and a former dean and a current faculty member of the C. T. Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston. “A recent study found that students pay more than $900 a year for textbooks.”
The company’s announcement follows a recent federal General Accounting Office report revealing textbooks and supplies account for a whopping 72% of students’ tuition and fees at two-year colleges, and 26% of tuition and fees at four-year colleges. High textbook costs have forced some students to skimp on purchases. “More than 55% of today’s students do not buy all their required course material,” says Ivancevich. “We believe that’s wrong. We want to reduce textbook costs so students from all financial backgrounds can afford these important learning tools.”
Freeload Press co-founder and CEO Tom Doran, a former CEO of a traditional textbook publisher, says initial sponsors encouraged a rapid expansion of the program. “We purposefully rolled this out quietly with a few books and a handful of sponsors to assure quality control. Now we are getting a lot of inquiries for sponsor involvement, along with exciting program ideas on how they can help. We are lining up a pipeline of sponsors that will fund one million free downloads. From there, we plan to explode the program.”
Doran pointed out that FP’s concept involves a unique partnership between business and education. “Businesses want to reach the 16 million students that attend U.S. colleges because it’s a $122 billion demographic that gains even more purchasing power once students hit the work force,” he says.
To spotlight support for a commercial sponsorship model, the company is compiling data from instructor and student registration surveys that it will publish soon. “The student survey data is trending at more than 97% approval rate of the model,” said Ivancevich. “and the instructor approval rating is north of 80%--which is well beyond the original forecast we conducted to launch the business. Instructors are more concerned with the high price of textbooks than we anticipated.”
FP announced it will publish 25 textbooks and study aids by the end of the year—all supported by commercial sponsorship and written by a growing stable of proven textbook authors. The current list of free textbooks and study aids focus on business courses. More books are scheduled for courses in the Social Sciences, including Economics and Psychology. The company also plans to expand their “textbook media” model by recruiting other publishers.
About Freeload Press, Inc.
St. Paul-based Freeload Press, Inc. publishes e-textbooks using advertising and corporate sponsorship to reduce costs. The company publishes its own college textbooks, and distributes both Freeload Press publications and other publisher’s textbooks. The publications are available for free as e-book downloads at the company's distribution web site. Customers include students at four-year and two-year colleges throughout the U.S. and Canada. For more information call Tom Doran, CEO, at 651-204-7218 or send e-mail inquiry.
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