SOURCE: Flat World Knowledge

Flat World Knowledge

April 08, 2010 12:40 ET

Flat World Knowledge Blazes Trail Across the Globe in April for Free and Low-Cost Solutions to Skyrocketing Textbook Costs

Open Textbook Innovators on the Move on Campuses, Conferences, Publishing Events

NYACK, NY--(Marketwire - April 8, 2010) -  During April, executives of Flat World Knowledge, the leading publisher of commercial, openly-licensed college textbooks, have been invited to speak to faculty, administrators and policy-makers in more than 21 cities in three countries and on three continents about innovative solutions to the textbook affordability crisis -- an ever-rising barrier to higher education.

At dozens of universities and colleges, publishing industry events, and educational conferences and summits, from Duke University to the London Book Fair, to a UNESCO-sponsored talk with members of the National Congress of Brazil, Flat World co-founders Jeff Shelstad and Eric Frank are raising awareness of free and low-cost alternatives to expensive, traditional college textbooks whose prices have increased four times the rate of inflation, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

By comparison, expert-authored, openly-licensed textbooks that are free online and affordable offline save students 80 percent of traditional textbooks costs.

"The interest in quality, peer-reviewed open textbooks has never been higher," said Jeff Shelstad, who like Frank is a veteran of the textbook publishing industry. "We've been invited by large community college systems in Virginia and California, public and private research universities in North Carolina and Massachusetts, and big state universities in Michigan and Ohio, to discuss publishing innovations that make it easier and more affordable for students to gain the knowledge and skills they need for a successful career."

Faculty, administrator, and policy-makers who attend events that feature a Flat World speaker, such as a textbook affordability seminar on April 9 at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte, will learn about the company's unique open textbook approach that puts control and the power of choice in the hands of students and instructors.

Flat World's open publishing license gives students unprecedented flexibility. They can read texts for free online, or choose low-cost options that better suit their learning needs, such as print-on-demand, audio and downloadable versions that students can access on a range of devices from computers to hand-held readers.

For faculty, Flat World's online platform gives them the freedom to customize and update the content to enrich the course material and improve the quality of instruction, and the power to choose when and if to switch to new editions.

"Education is the black gold of the 21st century," said Eric Frank, co-founder of Flat World Knowledge. "Access to high-quality, affordable education is paramount for individuals to be competitive in a global economy, and is the foundation of economic self-reliance and meaningful participation in society. The technology is available to make educational materials, including textbooks, much more widely accessible, but old business models stand in the way. We are changing that, and it is gratifying to see the huge outpouring of support from around the globe."

Earlier this year, the Horizon Report, an annual research project of the New Media Consortium and the Educause Learning Initiative, cited Flat World Knowledge as being at the forefront of the open content movement, which it called one of the top educational technology trends of 2010. Prior, Fortune Small Business magazine named Flat World one of "Five Companies to Watch in 2009," and Outsell, a media industry analyst firm, named Flat World as one of "30 Innovators to Watch" (alongside Apple, Google, and Hulu).

Coming to a city near you
Here's a sampling of the more than 30 speaking engagements for Flat World Knowledge open textbook experts this April:

  • Virginia Community College System's annual New Horizons conference, Roanoke (April 7)
  • Keeping Education Accessible seminar, University of North Carolina, Charlotte (April 9)
  • SugarCon 2010, CRM conference, San Francisco (April 14)
  • "The Big Event," Academic Technology Group, Oakland Community College, Auburn Hills, MI (April 16)
  • Seminar at Oakland University, School of Business Administration's Center for Integrated Business Research and Education (CIBRE), Rochester, MI (April 16)
  • Disrupting Content seminar, London Book Fair, London, UK (April 19)
  • Education Innovation Summit at Arizona State University, Scottsdale, AZ (April 21)
  • Education symposium, UNESCO/National Congress of Brazil, Brasília (April 26)
  • Duke CIT Instructional Technology Showcase, Duke University, Durham, NC (April 30)

In addition, Flat World hosts an ongoing series of webinars that explore the economic, social, and technology drivers that are transforming education, and propelling the growth of open content and open-source textbooks. To view pre-recorded webinars, visit:

To customize a faculty development webinar for your institution, or to schedule a Flat World Knowledge speaker, please contact Kelly McDonald at:

Contact Information

  • Media Contact:
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    Carole Walters
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