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Monday, May 21, 2012

Inkling, Follett Deal Expands Store Reach

Inkling set out to reinvent the way people learn. The San Francisco-based start-up wanted to create a better, interactive, and engaging textbook by taking advantage of new technology the Apple iPad provided.

Now, Inkling is teaming with Follett Higher Education Group on a distribution partnership that will make hundreds educational titles available online and in Follett-managed campus stores. Inkling also provides content through Verba, an NMS partner, making its titles available to any store that uses the Verba price-comparison tools.

The new Inkling agreement provides students with the option to buy entire Follett e-titles or use Inkling’s “Pick 3” pricing method that allows the purchase of just three digital chapters instead of the entire book, along with the flexibility to pay for the titles using financial aid or campus cards.

For the moment, only students using iOS devices, such as the iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch, will be able to access the titles. But Inkling is working on an HTML5 application that will expand availability to other gadgets.

“I think the important part here is that Inkling is making its content available via stores,” said Mark Nelson, chief information officer at NACS and vice president of NACS Media Solutions. “Previously, it was only available from them directly or through the Apple channel. It is an interesting example of a company who has become more in favor of working with the stores once they learned more about us as a retail channel. There are other avenues through which they can reach stores as well—and if they want their content adopted, ultimately they need some help from the stores.”

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