Frequently Asked Questions for Teachers

What is special about Modular Press?

Good question. In the coming year, lots. Right now not as much as we have the potential for. But let’s talk about now. Unlike other textbook publishers, everyone involved with Modular Press is an educator and not someone sitting behind a desk. We are talking about people who are in the classroom working with students. The kind of people who understand how theory actually turns out in the real world. Think of it this way: we are just like our users, trying to find ways to increase learning opportunities on a daily basis.

Why should I trust you?

Another good question. First look around the site and spend some time on the About Us page to see who we are. Also read our terms of service, which, by the way, are written in understandable language. No lawyers needed. We use commonly accepted services for payment, renumeration, and other services. Our motto is stupidly simple systems with obnoxiously obvious transparency. Go ahead and ask us a question. If we don’t answer it to your liking and you want to go somewhere else, we understand.

Who are you people?

We ask ourselves this very same question and never seem to come up with a really good answer. Basically, we are teachers who want to make a difference by creating a system of texts that adapt to students, not the other way around. Some of us have PhDs. Others have Masters. One of us has a toy poodle. And a Masters. You can learn more about us by going to our About Us page. It even has pictures.

What guarantees do I have that you are for real?

Uh oh, it’s time to watch “The Matrix” again. Let’s see, we have a website with pictures, and we even provide you with a phone number. Email us or call us and we will happily try to prove we actually exist.

What are the benefits of using Modular Press?

Wow, you are filled with good questions but this is really an important one. We assume you want to know the benefits for you as a teacher. If you want to find out about the benefits for student please see the next question. So where were we? The first benefit for teachers is that you know your students and can make pretty good guesses about what they need. So you’ve probably created materials for a specific need in the classroom, and we then help you get it to your students.

Most classroom practitioners don’t have time to write a compete textbook, but most of us have developed materials that might form a complete unit. So maybe you upload a unit, and find some other units made by other teachers, put them together in an order you like, and we do the rest. We put it all together in a polished package that is made available to your students.

The texts are designed for mobile first, which means that we assume that your students will be reading the texts on their phones. We’re not talking about tiny, teensy teensy PDF files that are impossible to read. We're talking about text that flows smoothly and is easily read on any device. Trust us, we hate having to read PDFs on our phones as well and wouldn't wish it on our worst enemies. Well, on second thought .....

What are the benefits for students?

Now we get to the interesting part. Each unit costs 100 yen. So if you put together a “book” with 15 units (and by the way, when is the last time you made it through all the units in a textbook) then your students would pay 1500 yen. That is something like half the price of a usual textbook. So your students get a customized text at a pretty good discount. And who doesn’t like a discount? Oh yeah, large multinational publishing companies that make outrageous profits.

What about someone’s battery running down?

This is kind of like what do you do when your student forgets their paper textbook? You could get angry and scold them, or have them work with another student. We suggest the latter. Actually, phones running out of juice doesn’t happen all that often now.

How do students access the content?

After students have paid for the text, the download /access links will appear and off they go.

Who owns my materials when I publish with Modular Press?

This is where we truly are different from other publishers. Listen carefully or should we say, read carefully: the author owns the copyright and can choose what kind of copyright they want. We are digital publishers and a digital marketplace, and believe that the people who create the materials own the materials, not the people or organization that distributes. Want to sell your textbook or content somewhere else as well?  Please do so. In fact, we encourage you to get as much exposure as you can.

How do I upload my content?

Once you have signed up and agreed to the TOS which includes a statement that all the materials are yours and that you are obeying all copyright laws, then it’s just a matter of clicking a button, navigating to your file and selecting it. Then the magic of the internet does its thing. Then the editorial team has to get to work.

Do you have an editing team?

We do and they really care about teaching since they are teachers. The editor assigned to you will work hard to make sure that your unit or book meets the needs of students and can be formatted properly.

How much do I get?

Since we are beginners at digital publishing, we only take transaction fees, sales tax, and a small percentage to cover our server costs. The authors get almost everything, which we think is pretty generous and pretty much the opposite of the usual publishing model. In the future we plan to pay a 70% royalty per unit or text, and take 30% to help us grow and make sure our children get fed and can buy the latest iPhone.

How do I get paid?

We use a payment system that can directly deposit the money into a bank account you designate. If you are using a Swiss bank or some tax haven off shore account, maybe you don’t really need to be asking this question, since you’re probably sipping a Margarita on some exotic beach while the rest of us are toiling away.

Can anyone just upload their materials and have their students  download the texts?

This sounds like a trick question but we will answer it anyway even though the answer depends on how far we are into our plan. Right now, anyone can upload material and our editorial team will review the material. We might make some suggestions, we might outright accept it if it’s really good, or we might say no thank you if it it’s not a good fit for our project. If we accept your material, then it is available for download. Guess the short answer is yes and no.

What about ISBN?

If you submit a complete text and it’s approved, we take care of issuing the ISBN.

Paper textbooks have places for students to write things down. What are they supposed to do with a text trapped on their phone?

The online at https://modularpress.org has some really cool tools including annotations which act like notes. Students can type or tap in their answers to questions and then copy them for uploading to you by email or through an LMS. Or you can go old school.

Maybe you are too young to remember or maybe you didn’t go through public schools, but when were we kids long ago, we weren’t allowed to write in the textbooks the schools gave us. We wrote the answers on paper and then handed that in. Fast forward to now. Instead of having each student show you their work during class, they can  give you their work at the end of class and you can take it home and check it. Whoops, did we just give you more work?

How do students take notes?

Wow, your students take notes? You are really lucky. Seriously though, what appears to be a negative point actually turns into a positive. Most of the students we know, do not have good note taking skills and pretty much write things down anywhere in their book. Maybe this is good since the note is close to the source material, but it is difficult for students to easily retrieve the information.

Most of us like to teach our students how to use the Cornell Note Taking system, and now you have an excuse to do it to. Honestly, by making your students learn to take notes, whether on their phones or on paper, you’re teaching them a valuable skill. And yes, all of here, since we are teachers, understand the challenge.