BookFusion provides benefits for local educatorWednesday, October 21, 2020
Education consultant, trainer and publisher Howard Campbell has expanded his range of educational books through the open e-book platform BookFusion.
The former teacher — who is also a local and regional information technology (IT) consultant as well as a certified Level IV NVQJ/VTDI assessor working with bodies such as the Caribbean Examinations Council, International Baccalaureate and others — founded his publishing company, Nutcracker, 18 years ago and has written 32 books since his first publication, entitled Introduction to Programming for CXC Information Technology in 2002.
Campbell, who holds a master of science degree in digital education from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and a bachelor of science in computing with management from the University of Technology, Jamaica, believes that setting up an electronic storefront on BookFusion in January this year was an important milestone in the growth of his business.
“What BookFusion allows me to do is to produce a wider range of products that I can get to market much more rapidly than if I was going the traditional route,” he explained.
“I no longer have to go the route of printing my books in North America, importing them, handing them to my distributors wherever they are, whether they are in Trinidad or Barbados or wherever.
“So, I cut out all of that simply by sitting at my desk, and instead of sending the file to my printer overseas I upload that file to the BookFusion platform,” Campbell continued. “I can switch it on, make it available for sale and pick up my first sale within a couple of minutes, literally. That is what BookFusion allows.”
Campbell, whose books are primarily curriculum support material, has placed between 12 and 14 books on the platform since January of which only four exist as physical books.
BookFusion hosts interactive content including question and answer features, audio, video, read-along and animations which are key components of the new generation of online educational books. It also offers offline functionality, meaning that in the absence of Internet connectivity students can still study, read, answer questions and interact with content. Their work can be synced seamlessly to all their other devices when connectivity is restored.
These advantages are essential for the educational books produced by Campbell and he revealed that he is collaborating with BookFusion on one of his products.
“There is one particular book that we are building from the ground up with the technical support of BookFusion,” he disclosed. “It is interactive, so whereas our original print product, which is an exam practice book, would have had the person looking at a question and flipping to the back of the book to get the answer that they are thinking of, we have the person actually touching the correct answer and if the answer is correct then the point at which they touch a, b, c or d would have a green tick coming up beside it, and if the answer is incorrect there is a red x.
“In the case where they want feedback they could simply click a button on the same screen to get video or audio or text feedback.
“Because the device has the capability to play video, to show text to play music and all that kind of stuff, we have built a whole product around that. We can then market our book as being fully interactive. It is a real e-book from the ground up,” he explained.
Campbell elaborated on other advantages to which he now has access, such as marketing support through BookFusion's many social media platforms and being able to increase his sales with minimum investment. Unlike other major platforms which require a financial outlay such as a monthly fee, BookFusion only collects a commission on sales.
“That's one of the benefits that I am getting and one of the things that caused me to go with BookFusion initially,” he said. “The mere fact that it allows me to extend my business using their own resources and I don't have any commitment so to speak.”
BookFusion has an extensive reach throughout Jamaica, the Caribbean and the rest of the globe. Campbell's market is primarily in the Caribbean, but his ambition is to realise greater sales further abroad. This is another key factor behind the partnership.
“Whereas my physical books were available in a few Caribbean countries, only with BookFusion can they be purchased by people all over the world,” he pointed out.
Over the next five years Campbell plans to expand into books for the primary school level while broadening his range of products for secondary level students.
“At secondary level we have material for two subjects,” he said. “We are hoping to increase that to about 10 in the next two to three years. Certainly, within the next 12 months we are going to be launching a series of primary-level books on BookFusion as well.”
He added: “Every month since I opened the electronic storefront on the platform our sales have increased, and this encourages our ambition for growth.”
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