It’s no secret that textbooks are expensive. Almost every student has had the experience of either deciding not to buy a textbook in order to save money, or bought a textbook and regretted it. What if there was a way to simply pay-as-you-read so you don’t rob yourself of a learning opportunity in the fear that you won’t get your bang for your buck? Well, now there is.
What it does
Bang For Your Book is a site that provides online textbooks and charges you based on the viewing time for each.
How I built it
We built on the Interledger Protocol, a protocol that enables payment between different financial ledgers, so that users can stream micropayments of any form to our site. We connected to the Interledger live network so that we can accept funds into our XRP account. We also make use of Coil, a web extension that uses an API called Web Monetization in order to pay sites that have enabled this feature in real-time. Coil takes care of the micropayment streaming so the user only has to pay a flat monthly subscription.
Notes: for this demo, only the first two textbooks in the list actually function. Furthermore, you need the Coil plug-in (https://coil.com/) to be active in order for the interledger money streaming to function.
What's next for Bang For Your Book
There are many ways we can improve this service. For example, we hope to expand our idea to incorporate academic journal articles, which are often quite expensive to access. This way, researchers can adequately determine how much a paper is relevant to their own work and pay accordingly, and the authors can be paid directly rather than through intermediate portals. We can also incorporate ML APIs to provide our readers with suggestions on what to access next.