SOURCE: Flat World Knowledge

Flat World Knowledge

August 20, 2009 08:23 ET

40,000 College Students to Save $3 Million Utilizing Flat World Knowledge Open Source Textbooks in Fall 2009 Semester

Flat World Knowledge Reduces Average Textbooks Costs by 80 Percent, Leads the Race to Deliver Affordable Higher Education Learning Materials

NYACK, NY--(Marketwire - August 20, 2009) - Flat World Knowledge, the leading publisher of commercial open source college textbooks, today reported a dramatic increase in the number of colleges and classrooms adopting its textbooks. This fall semester, over 40,000 college students at more than 400 colleges will utilize Flat World textbooks, up from only 1,000 in Spring 2009 at 30 colleges.

The increased adoption of Flat World's free and low-cost open source textbooks follows two semesters of successful in-classroom trials. During Spring 2009 trials, Flat World textbooks were shown to reduce average textbook costs to only $18 per student per class, an 82 percent cost reduction compared to traditional printed textbooks averaging $100 per student per class.

"We'll save college students and their families nearly $3 million in textbook expenses this semester," said Eric Frank, Flat World Knowledge co-founder. "We're on track to expand to 50,000 students in Spring 2010 and to 120,000 students in Fall 2010. By the conclusion of 2010, Flat World will have conservatively saved 200,000 students over $15 million."

In response to instructor and student demand, Flat World Knowledge has increased the number of titles under development. To date, the company's titles have focused exclusively on business and economics. Flat World recently added titles to its pipeline in Introduction to Psychology, Introduction to Sociology, College Success, Genetics, and more.

Flat World currently has 32 new titles in development, and by Summer 2010 will have 50 titles in development.

Digital textbooks have gained increased nationwide attention over the past two years as a potential solution to the problem of high textbook costs. Yet, several digital-only field trials including those using digital e-reading devices such as the Amazon Kindle, have demonstrated mixed results because they forced rigid constraints upon students.

Flat World has succeeded by allowing students to consume the textbooks as they choose. Students can access entire textbooks for free online over Web browsers; pay $19.95 for a PDF download; pay $29.95 for a black and white printed version or $59.95 for a color version, or pay $39.95 for an audio version. Books are available by the book or by the chapter. Students can also purchase digital study aids like audio study guides, online quizzes, digital flashcards, and more. Flat World's approach is device agnostic, so students can use the books on their laptops, netbooks, favorite e-reading devices, web-enabled mobile phone, or by reading a traditional print copy.

"Traditional textbooks have clearly failed students and instructors," added Eric Frank. "Similarly, digital textbook trials that force a single format, device, or price point will also fail. No single e-reading format or device will ever satisfy all students. Our commercial open source textbook approach puts control and the power of choice in the hands of students and instructors."

About Flat World Knowledge, LLC

Founded in 2007 by textbook publishing industry veterans Jeff Shelstad and Eric Frank, privately held Flat World Knowledge is a leading publisher of open textbooks for higher education. Flat World Knowledge's textbooks are written by the world's leading subject matter experts. The books are peer-reviewed, professionally edited, and made available for free online under a Creative Commons license to educators and students. Educators have the freedom to use the books as-is, or to reorganize and edit them to suit their unique classroom requirements. Students can access the books for free online, or purchase alternatives from print-on-demand versions of the books, to audio versions, to downloadable versions and more at a fraction of the cost of traditional textbooks. Students can also purchase from a range of digital study aids that support each book. Flat World Knowledge backs its textbooks with an online social learning platform that allows students to learn from each other as well as from the book. More information about Flat World Knowledge is available on the Web at

Contact Information

  • Media Contact:
    Corey Oiesen
    Dovetail Public Relations
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