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Digital Conversion Service Publishes Accessible, Multi-Platform Textbooks

A company known for helping clients in the media and retail sectors digitize their publications has launched a version of its publishing platform for converting PDF-based books into interactive texts that can be accessed on multiple platforms for the education segment. YUDU Media has launched YUDU Education, which allows publishers to create course materials that can be optimized and delivered for Macs, Windows-based PCs, and Android and iPad tablets. The same technology can also simultaneously create an accessible edition of the same materials for users who use assistive technologies.

The company started in the United Kingdom and has expanded to the United States. Its reading platform allows users to annotate, bookmark, and capture clippings of content. Instructors can integrate supplemental materials, which are then synchronized to the YUDU cloud for access from student devices.

Textbooks can be made available for purchase from the iTunes Store, the publisher's Web site, the distributor's Web site, the Google Play Store, and third-party sites. The publisher has access to reader data, can send notifications to readers when new titles are published, and can set up their Web sites to allow a particular student or institution to choose the type of device they want to have a textbook delivered to.

"YUDU Education solves the biggest challenge of the bring-your-own-device era for both publishers and students--cross-platform access," said CEO Richard Stephenson. "Students may need to read and take notes on a Windows PC in the classroom, but then want to pick up where they left off on their iPad at home. Or, perhaps the school provides iPads for classroom use, but the student has an Android tablet, or maybe a laptop, at home. With most publishing platforms, this is impossible. YUDU makes it possible."

"As a mainstream publisher, it is important that we can provide our educational content on every type of device for all students. It would cost us a fortune to build this type of platform ourselves," said Conor O'Sullivan, education technology manager at Folens, an education publisher in Ireland.

According to the company, publishing a book with its technology is fairly straightforward. The publisher uploads an existing textbook as a PDF onto the publishing site. YUDU digitizes the content. And from there, the publisher can add animations, videos, hyperlinks, and other interactive features. The finished book will appear in the publisher's YUDU digital store. When an update is required, the publisher can make the revision and post a new version.

The cost of the service is based on the number of pages in the textbook. There's also an annual maintenance fee, which covers operating system upgrades, according to the company.

Options are available for additional fees to add in-book testing, teacher management, and customization that allows teachers to edit notes within the textbook and share them with the entire class. Those edits are done through a utility available as an app.

In 2007 the company added functionality that would enable publishers to create accessible editions of their materials. Those feature text-only content that can be zoomed, annotated, bookmarked, searched, and browsed.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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