Friday, March 27, 2009

Markets in Everything: Free, Open Textbooks

Flat World Knowledge publishes college textbooks that are free online and open for editing. Its business model is to offer the option for students and professors to print soft-cover textbooks in whole or part, at a fraction of the cost of a standard hardbound college text.

The company announced this week that it has
raised $8 million from Greenhill SAVP, High Peaks Venture Partners, and Valhalla Partners.

See the catalog here (including 6 economics texts and 3 finance).

8 Comments:

At 3/27/2009 5:07 PM, Anonymous gettingrational said...

Wow, what a great idea. A lot of textbooks could be kept for future reference without the high inventory cost for the student. I think I should have my comments, that have been posted on this blog, printed in book form. Just kidding about the last part!

 
At 3/27/2009 6:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What garbage - you get what you pay for folks - more free online crap

 
At 3/28/2009 10:53 AM, Blogger fboness said...

Ya never know, anon, you may find a logic text that explains "self referential statement."

 
At 3/29/2009 3:00 AM, Blogger 1 said...

"What garbage - you get what you pay for folks - more free online crap"...

Hmmm, yes that is a strong possibility...

More wikipedias in the making?

 
At 3/29/2009 4:34 AM, Blogger Flat World Knowledge said...

Caveat - I'm co-founder of the company. A clarification - we publish our books as we did at Prentice Hall & McGraw Hill (former employers of founders). Our authors are leading experts (i.e. Preston McAfee of CalTech for Intermediate Microeconomics). Our books undergo extensive peer review and editing. However, when the book is done, end users (faculty) have an open license and platform to modify the textbook for THEIR class. The original always remains on our catalog for others and is maintained by the original authors. We are actually generating signficant revenue from sales of print versions, audio versions, digital study aids, etc. of which we pay 20% to our authors (significantly higher than industry average). Sorry for long post - just wanted to clarify this is NOT a wiki.

 
At 3/29/2009 10:33 AM, Blogger misterjosh said...

Flat - thanks for the clarification. I was wondering what the business model was. You don't get 8Mil these days from crossing your fingers.

I have to say I think is a step in the right direction. There were several books in my recent MBA program that I never broke the plastic wrap on. Programs may not spent any less on materials for classes under your paradigm, but I think it might be more focused, which would be a good thing.

 
At 3/30/2009 12:36 AM, Blogger 1 said...

Thank you Flat for that explanation...

So if what you say is the case I do hope it works out well for you and those others involved...

 
At 3/30/2009 2:54 PM, Blogger ExtremeHobo said...

Textbooks are quite the racket for corrupt professors, this will never work!

 

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