Max Basaraba Talks Digital Publishing

Bookstep.com is a new website for digital textbooks. The site lets students pay what they want for digital textbooks and social study features. We caught up with Max Basaraba, founder/CEO of the site to find out how it works.

EBN: How does Bookstep.com work for publishers?

MB: Publishers contribute their content to Bookstep, and we deliver that content to students in digital format, to any computer, Android or Apple tablet or phone. So in that sense, it could be said that Bookstep works for publishers similar to any other digital textbook platform, like Kno or CourseSmart. The most distinguishing feature for publishers is that Bookstep is content agnostic. It supports commercially published textbooks, which we get from companies like Macmillan and McGraw Hill, open-source textbooks and self-published course materials.

EBN: How does it work for readers?

MB: We are allowing students to control the textbook price by paying only for what they need to read in order to successfully pass their courses. Our goal is to help students successfully pass their courses with the least money spent on textbooks. The actual using of Bookstep is actually very simple. You login and you may use any of your social logins like Facebook and Twitter. Then you find the textbook you need and make sure you have funds available to begin reading (the lowest reading plan is $0.99). You can choose three basic access options: pay-as-you-go; prepay for the term; or annual subscription or year-long access. Then you can start reading.

EBN: How do the social networking and study tools work?

MB: We enable the social networking and study tools to all of our readers through our Help me Pass section. Here, students can simply plug their textbooks into our Learning Hub and enjoy study groups, share notes, get homework help, access relevant videos and lecture sets, get live help when provided by their instructors. Every Bookstep member can contribute to all of the sections of the Help me Pass by creating new items or simply joining existing groups, discussions and shared notes.

EBN:  What kinds of devices can readers use to access content?

MB: For now Bookstep is available on any Internet browser.  We’re also in final stages of releasing our iPad, iPhone, and Android apps. From the very early days we’ve designed Bookstep as a device neutral platform, and we strongly believe that students should be able to access their textbooks from any computer or any internet enabled device.