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Accounting Most Downloaded of Free E-Books Available

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Jan 31st 2007
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Basic Accounting, Economics, Mathematics, Excel and Statistics are explained in seven free e-books that are available on the internet and professionals, students and teachers have downloaded these resources in growing numbers. Last year over 700,000 pages were downloaded. Many people are aware of the books because Google has given many of the free libraries that store them a high rating.

Overview of the Accounting Cycle had the greatest number, with about 20,000 pages, but because teachers may download a single copy and photocopy it for classes, the actual number of pages studied by students is much larger.

The idea began when Walter Antoniotti, President of 21st Century Learning Products, wanted to know if paper versions of the Quick Notes Learning System textbook series would sell faster if the internet made free e-book versions available. While the action did not increase sales, the idea was made profitable by Google ad revenue.

The Financial Accounting e-book has the greatest number of downloaded pages, and Antoniotti feels, "Learning debits and credits lends itself to the concise nature of The Quick Notes Learning System." In addition, searching Google using the terms "accounting help" or "free stuff accounting" also added to the large numbers. The information covered by a traditional twenty-page accounting textbook chapter is outlined on two adjoining pages and this concise format fits the learning style of many users. A student who is stuck for an answer simply clicks to a photocopy of the problem page which now discloses a complete solution, unlike traditional accounting texts that only give key answers. The Accounting book is dedicated to Antoniotti's college accounting teacher who has Multiple Scleroses and she remains an inspiration for him.

The most unique e-book is the Excel Statistics Lab Manual because it was written entirely in a Microsoft Excel workbook. When users click on a link, their Excel software loads the manual from the Internet Column A which contains problems from the Statistics e-book and directions for using Excel to derive the needed statistics to analyze the problems. Data sets are in column B and users follow directions and Excel then generates statistics that must then be interpreted by the user. "That's the tough part," Antoniotti says, though just a click leads to a replica of the problem sheet with everything completed, including the author's interpretation.

Visits to the Free Internet Libraries increased to almost 50,000 in November 2006 and one reason is that bloggers have been recommending the libraries. Also, visitors to socially orientated sites like MySpace.com blog as the age of members increases and are more interested in education and career related material. A school district in Louisiana and Indianeconomy.org are a few of the interesting sites with links. Almost 40 percent of the visitors have come from foreign countries, with Canada in the lead with 5.1 percent, followed by India with 4.7 percent.

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