After a year-long wait, Perlego is now available in the United States! If you're not familiar with Perlego, it is basically a "Spotify for Books" (although their primary focus is on textbooks). The cost is $12 a month if you buy the yearly subscription. The link to their computer science library is https://www.perlego.com/browse/it-computer-science. Unsuprisingly, many of the staple CS textbooks (as defined in AB1908/CS-Books)seem to be unavailable in the United States (versus just Packt books). I suspect this will change rapidly, though. I am optimistic this will be the future for learning to program in combination with free OER and OCW. Online learning just keeps getting better and cheaper (and more legal)!
I have long awaited a Spotify for Books. I think Perlego is probably the best chance by a company at succeeding at the attempt. Rather than focusing on books, they focused on textbooks, which is the primary need for a Spotify for Books. As soon as we get a "University Library on a tablet", people won't have to use Library Genesis. But as soon as someone finally completes the task of putting every textbook in an app, there will be very little need to pay for university to access their libraries too. Instead you can just read the equivalent assignments from an online syllabus at home for $15 a month. Why pay tens of thousands of dollars a year for the equivalent opportunity at just $12 a month? The benefit of a Spotify for Books for enabling affordable but quality education is immense.
Should I start making curricula for Perlego? Should I abandon making syllabi using OER, now that academic textbooks are available for just $12 a month? I suspect that in time, my entire website dedicated to free OER curricula will be deprecated. What's the need to read legal and free OER when you can read the most popular textbook legally for chump change? My hope is that Holm School becomes redundant, and people will turn to normal University syllabi for their reading assignments rather than using my web site to find OER-based syllabi. I myself am looking forward to that future, and I will certainly indulge. Perlego is a small operation (they have 1000 twitter followers at the moment). If you want to help contribute to the success of a company possibly enabling affordable education for the future generations, consider signing up for Perlego. The more people use this as their primary source for education, the more robust the textbooks available on their platform will be. A subscription model for books is just as important to have as Spotify/Apple Music is for music. No subscription model is going to kill the industry, that's just preposterous. It changes it, but it does not destroy it.
This is exciting for me because I've been putting off creating Perlego-based curricula since it wasn't available yet in the United States and I didn't want to spend the effort if it flopped. Seeing it released in the United States is very encouraging for the future of this company and its mission to provide cheap digital textbooks through tablets. You can educate yourself for free through OER, as this site attests, but $12 a month is very reason. 2 hours of minimum wage work is well worth the admission fee for tens of thousands of computer science textbooks. I would sacrifice netflix, spotify, and everything else for years to have the money to pay for Perlego until I reach the point where I get a junior dev job as a programmer if I weren't already employed. And then at that point I would use tuition reimbursement to fuel my CS degrees for free.
The future is rich for affordable, collegially independent self-education! Here's my hope that Perlego makes Holm School irrelevant, so the day and age when people couldn't afford textbooks becomes just a curious footnote in history! I might even add Perlego to my F-You Degree subscription suggestions.
I know I will be signing up with Perlego! This is truly exciting EdTech! I wish them the best of luck in their mission to create a subscription-based academic book platform. With the success of Perlego, I can focus on other things than making OER-based Holm School curricula. I hear the death knell for Holm School! Thank you Perlego!