E-reading notes: Amazon, Kno and e-textbooks, plus more

It’s just shaping up to be an all-Amazon day.

• Amazon.com is invading the college-textbook-rental market, the only part of the textbook market it had left to cover, reports GeekWire. The giant online retailer — and now, social games maker, too (see previous post) — had already been selling and renting e-textbooks. It had also sold print textbooks, of course. Now it’s renting them out, like rival Barnes & Noble, Santa Clara-based company Chegg and others.

• Speaking of Chegg, its co-founder two years ago founded another company called Kno, which offers digital college textbooks. Monday night, Kno announced that it has teamed up with major textbook publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt to offer e-textbook rentals for students in grades K-12. (I wrote a longer story on SiliconValley.com.)

Co-founder and CEO Osman Rashid told me his company is targeting parents who want to relieve their children of heavy backpack burdens: They would use regular textbooks at school but leave them there. They can access the same textbooks on an iPad or a Web browser at home, but with added interactive features. Kno is going up against Apple, which earlier this year began offering a similar service, and Amazon, which offers some e-textbooks for elementary and secondary level schoolkids.

• And now we circle back to Amazon, which over the weekend said that its e-book sales have overtaken its print sales in the U.K. The company said it sells 114 electronic titles for its Kindle e-reader for every 100 books it sells through its website, according to the BBC. The e-book numbers Amazon released are unaudited, the Guardian points out.


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