What Is ProBooks?
ProBooks is a unique educational-content provider. We offer customized digital publishing services and resources, such as textbooks, courses, and course materials, for clients including educational institutions, associations, and publishers. We work closely with our clients to realize the optimal solutions for their educational and business programs. Our customers include three of the top-five for-profit education companies and two of the top-three educational publishers.
ProBooks can develop materials on any topic, subject, or academic discipline, and furnish them in any format you desire. Our process involves hiring and coordinating networks of experts that can meet the specific requirements of different projects. ProBooks has extensive experience creating K–12, adult education, and higher education materials. Our key expertise is in recognizing, deploying, and managing the right mix of talent for each job and each client. Our teams and processes can adapt to work with any existing production model, working arrangement, or staff set-up.
ProBooks can produce customized materials from scratch, but we can also adapt preexisting content to make one-of-a-kind products; either of these kinds of offerings can then be licensed to our clients. However, we do most of our projects on a work-for-hire basis, meaning our clients own all of the finished content outright—as well as the accompanying copyright privileges. Our work is all done confidentially, and once it's been completed, our clients are free to deploy, update, revise, and repurpose their materials however they wish. ProBooks also offers turnkey update and revision services.
- Generate Revenue: ProBooks provides customized, completely proprietary course materials that can generate significant revenue for your organization.
- High-Quality Content: ProBooks texts equal traditional textbooks in terms of domain credibility and exceed them in pedagogical flexibility and effectiveness.
- Customization Aids Uniformity: ProBooks materials are customized to your instructional design model and foster uniformity in how your courses are taught.
- Reduce Student Frustration: ProBooks' customized materials reduce student frustration with high textbook costs, helping to reduce student attrition.
- Competitive Advantage: ProBooks materials are proprietary intellectual property assets that represent an important competitive advantage in the crowded online education landscape.
- Speed Your Growth: ProBooks texts and courses allow you to increase the number and breadth of your course and degree offerings at a faster pace.
Textbooks and Their Discontents
Most online courses still assign hard-copy textbooks that students either buy from the school itself or purchase on their own. Textbook prices have been soaring as the textbook industry grapples with the ongoing impact of digital technology on its basic business model. Traditional publishing economics still require most schools to accept the "one-size-fits-all" textbooks the publishers are most committed to selling.
Faculty members have long been frustrated with how poorly traditional textbooks align with their \curricula. Many instructors assign multiple textbooks to ensure complete coverage of each course's curriculum, or resign themselves to a single text that may only correspond to half, or less, of the course's material.
Students share this frustration, especially as the prices of textbooks continue to spiral upward. Many try to buy used texts, though new editions of popular texts are being issued ever more rapidly. According to the National Association of College Stores, nearly 60 percent of students nationwide choose not to buy all of their assigned course materials. The physical delivery of hard-copy texts also represents a problem for online schools; many have a student population spread out across the country, or even around the globe. Even if your school sells textbooks directly to students, the majority of this revenue ultimately goes to the publishers.
The ProBooks Model
- Agate ProBooks offers a different model for supplying students with course texts—a model precisely suited to your organization's unique needs and opportunities.
- We create proprietary, fully digital textbooks that your organization will own and control. Once completed, these texts are entirely your organization's property. These valuable intellectual-property assets can provide an ongoing stream of revenue through sales made directly to students, whether you supply them with digital versions or hard-copy books.
- We create one-of-a-kind texts that are completely customized to your organization's course design model. These ensure that your students pay only for the text materials that they will need and use in their courses, and that all of your instructors—whether online or "on-ground"—use the same uniform, customized course text content to supplement instruction.
- We produce top-quality course texts to your specification in whatever content domain you require—and we do it in time-frames as brief as 120 days from receipt of your specification document to completed text.
- We supply your materials in whatever form you require—whether basic word-processor files that you can custom-design to match your course environment, fully page-designed and finished ePub or PDF files, or XML format files. If you choose, you can supply these materials to your students digitally and control delivery via your own online course environment.
- We collaborate with you at whatever level of engagement you prefer—from interacting personally with your staff, faculty, or instructors to devise an appropriate text design that we then execute, to receiving your completed specification document and using it to create the customized text you require.
- We also offer lower-cost options for which we customize our own existing body of domain content to your specifications and then license you to sell these customized materials exclusively to your own student body.
- We can help you produce "print-on-demand" hard-copy versions of the texts in whatever quantities you need to serve your students.
ProBooks is a division of Chicago-based Agate Publishing, Inc. Agate's founder and president is Doug Seibold, who from 1999 to 2002 was founding editorial director of UNext, which created online schools (Cardean University, Ellis College) in partnership with on-ground universities such as Columbia University, the London School of Economics, Carnegie-Mellon University, the New York Institute of Technology, Stanford University, and the University of Chicago. Seibold built and led a team of more than 30 editorial and publishing professionals in creating millions of words of high-quality course text material, working collaboratively with university faculty, freelance subject matter experts, instructional designers, web developers, and other experts. At ProBooks, our veteran publishing professionals work with a tight network of experienced writers, editors, graphic designers, and instructional designers to create top-quality course text in any format or design paradigm you prefer.
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