For anyone thinking about college, often the biggest concern is cost. Not only have tuitions increased, but the cost of living is up too, especially considering rising gas prices. If that weren’t enough, another “hidden fee” for attending college has always been the price of the textbooks that are required for each class. Even used books come with a hefty price tag, and you can’t always find them.
From the standpoint of college and university professors, there are other challenges with traditional textbooks. First, a textbook is typically written with a “one-size-fits-all” approach. Whether the information is covered in the order or manner any particular educator prefers is not considered. Secondly, as rapidly as information changes in many fields of study, the material within textbooks often becomes incorrect or obsolete quickly – sometimes even within the course of a college semester.
Until recently, textbook customization was not an option many had even considered. But thanks to Flat World Knowledge, custom textbooks are here, and their pairing of open licensing and textbook personalization with a radical pricing model is providing a formula for disrupting the $8.5 billion U.S. textbook market. For students, this model is a dream come true. Books are free online, while offline books cost around $35 for print, and $25 for other formats.
So, for the first time, students can choose the format and price point that’s best for them. But that’s not the half of it! Textbooks through Flat World are available in multiple formats: an html textbook with full functionality like search, note-taking and multi-media support; pdf files for printing soft-cover versions in color and black and white on demand; epub and .mobi files for reading on mobile readers and devices like the iPad and Kindle; and audio books and formats like digital Braille for people with print disabilities.
What are the advantages to professors? Plenty! Under Flat World Knowledge’s system, expert-authored and professionally published textbooks are published under a Creative Commons open license, transferring legal control to faculty to reuse, revise, remix, and redistribute textbook materials for their own courses. That means that true textbook customization is in the hands of the educator.
MIYO – Flat World’s breakthrough “Make It Your Own” Platform enables faculty to drag and drop chapters and sections in a dynamic Table of Contents to reorder the book, delete material with the click of a button, edit anything in the book down to the sentence level, and insert new content, including audio and video multi-media directly from YouTube and other sources.
It’s no wonder investors have taken notice of this company. Flat World Knowledge has raised over $27 million in venture capital over the last two years, from investors including Bessemer and BDMI. Proof that a great idea whose time has come pays off!