The textbook world as we know it
Flat World Knowledge has decided to stir things up in the world of textbook publishing. As it stands, textbooks are published by recognized publishing houses that send out updated version of their most recent books every two years or so. They come in one format—hardback, and sometimes they’ll have a CD or DVD in the back. Some even give a unique code that can only be used once by the buyer, thereby rendering any resale of the book redundant because the new owners cannot access the same content.
Students are using book-rental stores
A textbook usually costs somewhere in the region of $80-$120, and even when students resell the books to try and recoup the cost of something they could not afford in the first place, they can forget about getting even two-thirds of their money back if the book has been updated.
Some publishers have put the textbook material online, but at a price. Colleges have to pay a set fee to the publisher for a number of log-in codes—the number of students in their class—and students have to cover this cost.
Second-hand bookstores, textbook rental sites, book sharing, and even scanning and printing off copies has been the norm for broke students until now.
Flat World stirs the pot
Enter the newest superhero of textbook publishing: Flat World Knowledge. When you look at cost, ease of use, and different learning styles, this crowd is definitely on the cutting edge of publishing.
Flat World’s textbooks are available in the following formats:
black-and-white print & color
single chapters in audio files
and Flat World also sell study aids, mobile flash cards and online quizzes.
“Our books are free online. We offer convenient, low-cost choices for students – softcovers for under $30, audio books and chapters, self-print options, and more.”
Other bonuses from Flat World Knowledge
Students don’t even have to register to access the free book material.
“Are you reading this feeling a bit jaded? Something must be coming – some advertising, spam, a charge after a trial period, lock-in to a product, something. Breathe. Relax. It’s just not coming.”
Being a writer, my favorite thing about this company is that they pay their authors a 20 percent commission instead of the usual 15 percent. Another point of interest for teachers is that they can change the content to make it their own.
“Our books are open for instructors to modify and make their own (for their own course – not for anybody else’s).”
The printed version of books teachers have modified will be the modified version. This is possible because of the company’s print-on-demand business model. I wonder will colleges get their own Espresso printing machines as time goes by and this method of study becomes more common.
Students can also post questions online to a global community of students studying the same content. I’m sure that will give a great boost to the hopes of Donald Trump’s beauty queens for world peace.
Want to learn more?
If you would like to learn more about this new and ingenious business model, Flat World Knowledge have a webinar every Monday at 2:00 p.m. EST. You can sign up for the ones that best suit your schedule.
In the interim
And for those poverty-stricken students who still have to panhandle on the streets to pay for their books, lifehacker is a great resource.