Kno is a multi-platform digital textbook reading application full of features to improve the textbook reading and studying experience. It is available as a free iPad version, on the Web, and as a Facebook app. Currently, only around 150,000 titles are offered in the Kno Bookstore, yet it looks like Kno is already getting the thumbs up from student users: A pilot study was conducted with 400 students in California Community Colleges who used Kno to read a digitally enhanced version of Collaborative Statistics by Barbara Illowsky and Susan Dean throughout Fall 2011. 95% of the students found the Kno app very useful and said they will use it again, and 3 out of 4 respondents said that “reading, annotating and search were all better on Kno than using a physical book.”

Kno’s textbook enhancements include 3D images and animations, highlighting and annotating options, videos, links to interactive content, and an interactive homework section. Additionally, the iPad app lets you create smart links to connect images and video to formulas and concepts in your book, keep a digital “journal” by clipping images and text from your textbook, and write directly onto the pages of your Textbook.

The textbook prices in the Kno Bookstore are 30-50% off the hard copy prices. Semester e-textbook rentals are also available. And even if you don’t purchase your textbooks from Kno, with the iPad app, you can import PDF files into your Kno Library through Dropbox. The Kno iPad App PDF reader has the capability to perform almost all of the features that the App provides for purchased books, and it lets you use the “Course Manager” dashboard to organize your textbook and PDF collection by course and term.

Kno makes a strong e-textbook app choice particularly because of its organizational tools and features that are specifically geared towards students. If you’re looking for a better, cheaper way to read your class materials on a computer or iPad, Kno is definitely worth a try. Download or learn more about Kno here.

[The Course Manager in the Kno for Facebook app. Photo from]