Sunday, February 15, 2009

The textbook reinvention starts February 2009

It starts this year in the colleges. Kindle 2.0 leads at the last mile. The first player is Flat World K-12 textbooks are next.

My bet is that Staples or Fedex or AlphaGraphics will be, or already have gotten, in contact with Erick Frank about the benefits of a distribute and print platform. If not, then Ricoh, HP, Xerox, Oce, Kodak still have a chance to make the pitch. For any vendor that has significant presence in University in house plants, the sell should be a no brainer.

It will be niche this year, mainstream in three years.

Two refugees from publishing giant Pearson (PSO)-Prentice Hall - who were on a fast track for promotion - formed Flat World in 2007, snaring $1.5 million in seed money to shake up the $3.7 billion textbook industry.

"We are definitely perceived as disruptive," says co-founder Eric Frank, 39. "The big textbook publishers are aware there's a problem; but whether they have the ability to turn the Titanic around is another story." read at Money at CNN.

Following is a cut and paste from Flat World Knowledge In The News.
Wired Blog Network
Flat World Knowledge to Bring Free Textbooks into Blackboard
by Chris Snyder

February 4th, 2009

"Flat World Knowledge, a free, open source textbook publisher, has announced plans to add support for direct integration of its books into campus learning management systems (LMS) like Blackboard and ANGEL. With Flat World's LMS-supported textbooks, professors and publishers will be able to include supplementary material content in its entirety available directly on the platform and split up chapters into various folders according to their syllabus. "
Outsell Inc.
Outsell Publishes Information Industry Outlook 2009; Cites Apple, Elsevier, and LinkedIn Among 30 Innovators to Watch by Christan Graham

December 18, 2008

"Among others in Outsell’s “30 to Watch”: BBN Ad Network, Blurb, British Medical Journal, BrownBook, CNN, Collexis, Critical Media, Data Explorers, Demand Media, Exact Editions, Flat World Knowledge, Google, The Guardian, Hakia, Hulu, IHS, LiveMocha, MarketTools, Nature Publishing Group, Public Library of Science (PloS), Safari, Thomson Reuters, Wood MacKenzie, and ZoomInfo."

Fortune Small Business
Next Little Thing 2009 by Melanie Haiken

December 4, 2008

"Undergraduates spend an average of $1,000 a year on course materials, and textbook costs are rising by an average of 6% annually, according to the National Association of College Stores. Early next year, those scholars will have another choice. Flat World Knowledge, a startup in Nyack, N.Y., will release its first set of online college textbooks. " Small Businesses
Save cash: Download your Textbooks by Melanie Haiken

December 4, 2008

""The Web gives us a rare opportunity to rethink the delivery mechanism for textbooks," says Regan Caruthers, director of communications and business development for the California State University system. "If someone does this right, they'll make it better for everybody concerned: the professors, the students and the publishers.""
Publishers Weekly
Open Source Text Publisher Gets More Financing by Jim Milliot

October 21, 2008

"Flat World Knowledge, a year-old company that plans to publish free open source college textbooks, has received $700,000 in new financing, bringing total investment in the startup to $1.4 million. The company has also announced a number of new appointments, including that of former Simon & Schuster CEO Jonathan Newcomb to its board of advisors."
Community College Week Fall 2008 Technology Supplement
Redefining 'Open Book' For The 21st Century by CCW Staff

October 20, 2008

"Flat World Knowledge, the world’s first commercial open textbook publisher, saw an opportunity to leverage principles of openness, technology, and a new business model to...create real value for faculty and students.."

ars technica
Flat World Knowledge: an open-source textbook revolution? by Nate Anderson

September 17, 2008

"Eric Frank spent 11 years in the dead-tree textbook industry... And then he gave it all up to launch a startup called Flat World Knowledge. His new company's business model: give high-quality textbooks away for free on the web. It doesn't take a psychology prof to ask the question, "Has Eric Frank lost his mind?"

The New York Times
Don't Buy That Textbook, Download It Free by Noam Cohen

September 14, 2008

"SQUINT hard, and textbook publishers can look a lot like drug makers. They both make money from doing obvious good - healing, educating - and they both have customers who may be willing to sacrifice their last pennies to buy what these companies are selling."
Wired Blog Network
Open Source Textbooks Challenge a Paradigm by Chris Snyder

September 1, 2008

"A small, digital book startup thinks it has a solution to the age-old student lament: overpriced textbooks that have little value when the course is over. The answer? Make them open source -- and give them away."
The Washington Post
Break on Cost Of Textbooks Unlikely Before Last Bell, 2010 by Ylan Q. Mui and Susan Kinzie

August 20, 2008

"The rising cost of college textbooks has driven Congress and nearly three dozen states -- including Maryland and Virginia -- to attempt to curtail prices and controversial publishing practices through legislation. But as the fall semester begins, students are unlikely to see much relief."
L.A. Times
Free digital texts begin to challenge costly college textbooks in California by Gale Holland

August 18, 2008

"Caltech economics professor R. Preston McAfee is one of a band of would-be reformers who are trying to beat the high cost -- and, they say, the dumbing down -- of college textbooks by writing or promoting open-source, no-cost digital texts. Thus far, their quest has been largely quixotic, but that could be changing."
Thad McIlroy: The Future of Publishing
The Future of Educational Publishing by Thad McIlroy

August 7, 2008

"There is no publishing segment under attack right now as strongly as the educational publishing sector. Most of the vitriol is focused on publishing for higher education (colleges and universities). With headlines screaming: "Textbooks at $200 each?" it's challenging for the industry to mount a defense, or for anyone to make much sense of what's happening here."
US News and World Report
Four Reasons Textbook Costs Will Drop, by Kim Clark

July 21, 2008

"Textbook prices, which have nearly tripled in the past 20 years, may finally start to decline thanks to some new laws, technology, and upstart companies. Undergraduates who take advantage of the new alternatives could easily slash their textbook costs in half this coming academic year."
Coming This Fall: Free Textbooks By Kathleen Kingsbury

July 16, 2008

“Shelling out big bucks at the campus bookstore is a college tradition that students can count on each semester. Textbook prices have risen steadily over the past two decades to the point where the average student now pays $900 a year, an expense that typically is not covered by financial aid. But come September, publishing upstart Flat World Knowledge will offer a much more appealing price point: its books will be free."
USA Today
Online "Open Textbooks" Saves Students Cash By Svetlana Shkolnikova

July 10, 2008

“As textbook prices skyrocket, college students and faculty seeking more affordable options increasingly are turning to "open textbooks" as an alternative. Some in the publishing industry have noticed the trend…. It became clear that open textbooks would provide the ideal solution, Frank says."
The Chronicle of Higher Education - Wired Campus
Community College Open-Textbook Project Gets Under Way
by Catherine Rampell

April 29, 2008

"The Community College Open Textbook Project begins this week with a member meeting in California… They will initially review four providers of free online educational resources: Connexions, run by Rice University; Flat World Knowledge, a commercial digital-textbook publisher that will begin ..."
Competition in the Free Textbook Market

April 26, 2008

"The NYTimes has an editorial plugging Flat World Knowledge, a startup that will offer college textbooks inexpensively (~$30) in print, and free as PDFs. They plan to make their profits from add-ons like podcast study guides and mobile phone flashcards. Books will be licensed under CC Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike."
The New York Times
That Book Costs How Much?

April 25, 2008

“Schools are beginning to balk at outrageous pricing. Rice University offers textbooks for some classes free online and charges a nominal fee for the printed version. A new company called Flat World Knowledge, based in Nyack, N.Y., plans to offer online textbooks free and hopes to make its profit by selling supplemental materials like study guides and hard copies printed on demand."
The Chronicle of Higher Education
An Online Company Tries an Unexpected Publishing Model : Free Textbooks
by Catherine Rampell

April 24, 2008

“The high prices of textbooks, which are approaching $1,000 per year for an average student, have those students and their professors crying for mercy. Yet publishers say their cheaper options—electronic versions of traditional texts—aren't selling.

Enter Flat World Knowledge. Starting next year, the new digital-textbook publisher will offer online, peer-reviewed, interactive, user-editable textbooks, free of charge."
National Public Radio - Marketplace
Textbook Costs Getting Hard to Cover

April 15, 2008

“Most high school seniors know where they'll be spending the next four years of their lives -- college acceptance letters went out earlier this month. Now all they -- and their parents -- have to do is figure out how to pay for it. One big and growing chunk of that tab is textbooks. The typical undergraduate book bill is $900 a year and growing. So today, a group of college professors went public with a call for low-priced and free texts online. Congress is trying to ease the book burden too.
Marketplace's Jill Barshay has the story."

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