September 22, 2009, 12:00 AM

Barnes & Noble sparks design changes for SparkNotes.com

Multichannel books retailer Barnes & Noble Inc. has revamped its key online learning community and given it a fresh look and more advanced features, including the chance for readers to purchase e-books.

Multichannel books retailer Barnes & Noble Inc. has revamped its key online education community and given it a fresh look and more advanced features, including the chance for readers to purchase e-books.

Barnes & Noble, No. 41 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, has re-launched SparkNotes.com, a study aid web site and digital community. New features and functions include:

  • An updated test preparation blog for the Scholastic Aptitude Test written by Allen Mogol, a former marketing director with the College Board.
  • The ability to purchase more than 700 digital textbooks with accompanying study guides.
  • A new flashcard application for studying vocabulary, history, biology and other subjects.
  • Interactive quizzes for 20 literature study guides.
  • New blogs that cover writing, grammar, style, assignment planning, and guidance on selecting and applying for colleges and financial aid.
  • A new non-scholastic area called SparkLife, which includes content related to the social and cultural side of school and college.
“SparkNotes is designed to help students make sense of their assignments in the fastest, most effective way while being as fun as possible, so they can quickly get to where they really want to be,” says Mike Skagerlind, vice president and head of digital content for BarnesandNoble.com. “The new SparkNotes.com site provides students with a more enjoyable and effective learning experience.”

The newly re-launched SparkNotes.com is the latest in a series of moves by Barnes & Noble to target the textbook and student markets. Last month Barnes & Noble acquired sister company Barnes & Noble College Booksellers Inc. for $596 million. Barnes & Noble College Booksellers, which generated revenue of about $1.8 billion in fiscal 2009, operates 624 college bookstores through multi-year management agreements.

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