Huntsman Post

Bookeducator.com is Posting Textbooks Online

By Paul Lewis Siddoway

A student at the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business has teamed up with three recent Huntsman graduates to lead a company that they hope will eventually bring financial relief to thousands of university students who are now expected to come up with more money each semester for textbooks.

The company, BookEducator.com, put up its first textbook in November, and professors in Brazil, Canada, Spain, and the United States have committed to post their textbooks on the site.

(From left to right) Rick Champlin, Erin Buttars, Kaden Comadena, and Brad Gessell lead Bookeducator.com.

Photo by Sara Eaton

Rick Champlin graduated in May 2011 in economics and business administration and is the COO of BookEducator.com. He said while the new website offers just the basic text, an upgrade is available for $20 per student, per semester. The upgrade allows students to enter notes in the digital book, have online discussions with classmates, or take quizzes or surveys and get immediate feedback.

Kaden Comadena, the vice president of global strategy who graduated Dec. 2010 in international business, said additional features also would be available to professors who upgrade to utilize them.

“You can read the textbook on your smart phone, your tablet, your laptop, basically any electronic device. So it’s more convenient for students,” said CEO Erin Buttars, who graduated in May 2011 in human resource management and operations management.

Brad Gessell, the CFO, created BookEducator’s accounting system and coordinated with a local law firm to create contracts for the authors. He is finishing up his undergraduate degree in finance and economics.

The incentive for the authors, Kaden said, is that they get to keep the rights to their book instead of surrendering them to the publishers and receiving royalties.

He said the team is taking what they learned during their time at the Huntsman School and applying it to their experience running the company.

“It’s different when you are on campus, hear about start-ups, and analyze business cases,” he said, “but it’s really fun and unique to be in that position right now ourselves.”

The company was founded in Provo in the spring, but has since moved its headquarters to Logan. The idea for the site came from Chad Albrecht, assistant professor in the management department, and his brother Conan, who is now teaching at BYU. Kaden said the two brothers, who are also the main financial investors of the enterprise, placing their trust in four young executives is “a ringing endorsement for the Huntsman School of Business.”

“We laugh and kid sometimes, but we also take our jobs seriously,” he said. “We’ve been entrusted with a pretty big responsibility. I don’t think they’re doing it because we’re good kids. I think they know the education we got from the Huntsman School of Business is a quality education that truly prepares students for leadership roles.”

The new company leaders said they piloted their book at the ESADE Business School in Barcelona, Spain, and are now reaching out to other schools accredited by the International Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Kaden said the toughest part is getting professors to start using the site.