[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Questia Press Release

More on the e-books front:  a large new vendor positions self to license
academic books.  Limited contact with this vendor suggests a different
approach: targeting content.  Will be worth following their progres.  Ann

---------- Forwarded message ----------
4 April 2000



Questia Reveals Development of Revolutionary Online Research Service
Will deliver on the true promise of the Internet by providing access to
the wealth of human knowledge.

Houston TX (April 4, 2000) - Questia Media, Inc., a new media venture
driven by an extraordinary team of experienced leaders and visionaries,
today revealed the development of a revolutionary online research service
that will deliver on the true promise of the Internet by providing access
to the wealth of human knowledge.  Through ongoing funding projected to
total $210 million during this year and next, Questia is building the
first online service to provide unlimited access to the full text of
hundreds of thousands of books, journals and periodicals, as well as tools
to easily use this information.  For millions of college students, the
Questia service will enable them to research and compose their papers at
any time, from every connected corner of the world.

"Throughout history, many people have struggled with inadequate access to
knowledge," noted Questia founder and CEO Troy Williams.  "Important
events such as Gutenberg's printing press and the emergence of the public
library have made books accessible to larger audiences.  Yet still today,
many people struggle with inadequate access.  Even those with access to
the world's largest libraries cannot avoid the fact that books are finite
resources that are available to only one person at a time - an access
limitation that Questia overcomes."

"Questia is different from most eBusinesses," Williams continued.  "Most
have been merely translating today's brick-and-mortar activities to the
Internet, converting brochures into websites or setting up eCommerce to
sell goods and services online.  But none of this activity really delivers
on the promise of the Internet -- to provide access to the wealth of human
knowledge.  By digitizing the books most needed by college students, by
making them accessible to all students at any time, and by hyperlinking
footnotes and references to the precise page cited, Questia is creating a
revolutionary research tool that enables users to instantaneously follow a
complete train of thought from one book to another.  This has never before
been accomplished in the history of human learning, and it offers the
possibility to truly change how people learn," Williams concluded. Similar
to a traditional library model, emerging Internet-based library and
electronic book services are limited by the actual number of copyrighted
books they purchase - one copy of a book can only be accessed by one
person at a time.  In contrast, Questia will offer a complete research
service with rights secured directly from publishers so that an unlimited
number of people may access a given book at a given time.  Questia expects
to have a robust 50,000 volumes digitized by early 2001 and is projected
to have over 250,000 within three years - that's greater than the number
of volumes in over 80 percent of all academic libraries in the United

Substantial investment in people and dollars

Questia has quietly amassed over $45 million dollars in venture funding
from the venture capital firm TA Associates of Boston and individuals, and
has grown in just a few months to over 200 employees in Houston and New

"The Questia vision is so compelling that we have been able to attract the
very best talent to our team," said Williams.  "Compaq co-founder Rod
Canion, Enron chairman and chief executive officer Ken Lay - both
extraordinary visionaries in their own right - are on our board of
directors and actively participating in our mission.  With the recent
funding from TA Associates, senior managing director Andy McLane also
joins the board.  Moreover, we have built an experienced senior management
team from the publishing, Internet, and computer industries that is
absolutely first-rate.  Finally, we have enrolled important academic and
publishing partners," Williams said.

Williams founded Questia Media, Inc. in 1998 after completing Harvard Law
School.  He formulated the vision, enrolled others, built a prototype of
the service and secured venture funding - much of this from a small
Houston apartment furnished with nothing but a folding table, a PC, and a
five-dollar plastic chair.

Experienced business leaders on the management team include: Tim Harris,
former vice president for Compaq (NYSE: CPQ), as VP of finance, chief
financial officer and chief operating officer; Linda Raglan Cunningham,
former senior vice president for HarperCollins Publishers, as VP of
publishing; Randy Dragon, former vice president of technical operations
for Disney Online (NYSE: DIS), as VP and chief technology officer; Todd
Papke, former vice president of Internet technology for ShopAtHome.com, as
VP of engineering; Kathleen Harrington Clark, former director of
advertising for Compaq, as VP of marketing; David Cabello, former senior
vice president, general counsel and secretary for Compaq, as VP, general
counsel and secretary; Mary Ryder, former vice president of operations for
First Data Corporation/TeleCheck (NYSE; FDC), as VP of customer support;
and Charles Winder, former vice president of operations for Compaq, as VP
of operations.  A roster of brilliant young Internet visionaries with
diverse backgrounds and experiences rounds out the senior management team.
Compelling benefits to students

The Questia service will be live at www.questia.com in early 2001 (near
start of the second semester of the 2000-2001 academic year) with at least
50,000 of the most valued volumes in the liberal arts from the 20th and
21st centuries (not including textbooks).  This initial online collection
will offer access to a range of titles that are today -- for all practical
purposes -- out of reach of many students.  With a monthly subscription
fee and an existing Internet connection, students will be able to search
the online collection, research related references, view the actual pages
of individual titles, and compose and save their papers online.  For
college students doing research papers, the Questia service will become
the indispensable tool for researching and writing. "Today, it is
unthinkable for a student to compose a paper on a typewriter; the PC-based
word processor is the tool of choice.  Very soon, it will be unthinkable
for a student to research and write a paper without using the Questia
service," Williams declared.

Compelling benefits to publishers

For publishers, Questia represents a tremendous opportunity to increase

Questia has developed a way for publishers to receive revenue each time a
student accesses even a single page of a title.  This has never been
possible before. Thus, older titles and out-of-print books that have been
read and studied thousands of times over the years in libraries (yet have
not generated new income) will now produce new revenues and become more
valuable assets to publishers.  Moreover, current industry trends show
that traditional individual copy sales of titles benefit from exposure on
the web because consumers are more inclined to buy books they can browse
online.  Questia will make it easier and more convenient for subscribers
to locate, search, and browse an entire library of books, vastly
increasing awareness of previously hard-to-find titles.

In sum, Questia offers publishers a new opportunity to revitalize older
titles and to broaden the audience and gain exposure for newer titles.
Through this, they can gain additional revenues for all titles that would
otherwise have been unrealized.

Compelling benefits to librarians and professors

For librarians and professors, Questia offers a new valuable tool that
facilitates their goal of helping students to find the right information
effectively and efficiently.  The Questia search function alone - to be
offered to all at no charge - allows librarians or professors to find the
exact volumes and pages that can answer a student's question.  Because the
research process is more efficient and less cumbersome, it will mean fewer
dead-end trips to the stacks, thus allowing for more time for the
mentoring and thoughtful interaction that actually foster a love of
discovery and learning.

About Questia

Founded in 1998, Questia Media, Inc. is building the first online service
to provide unlimited access to the full text of hundreds of thousands of
books, journals and periodicals, as well as tools to easily use this
information.  For millions of college students and researchers, the
Questia service will enable them to efficiently research and compose
papers at any time, from every connected corner of the world.  Based in
Houston, TX with over 200 employees, Questia is delivering on the true
promise of the Internet by providing access to the wealth of human
knowledge.  Information can be found at www.questia.com.

# # #
Questia is a service mark of Questia Media, Inc.

John Sweney	
Brookwoods Media Group	

Tim Harris	
Questia Media, Inc.