Just under a year ago we wrote a long article about Flat World Knowledge, ‘Flat Meets Round World Head On’ and the world of creative commons attribution licence (CCAL). Flat World Knowledge is a new venture foundered by two very reputable publishers Jeff Shelstad and Eric Frank.
Then earlier this year we reported that Greenhill SAVP had invested $8m Series A financing in Flat World Knowledge.
Now Wired gives us a healthy update on this innovative company’s progress. It reports that Flat World now claim 40,000 college students at more than 400 colleges are going to be using their digital, DRM-free textbooks in the coming semester, up from their beta of 1,000 students in 30 colleges in the last semester.
Flatworld pricing is based on an 'a la carte' model where online can be free, a PDF some $20 and a printed rendition of the same textbooks could cost up to $60. Flat World’s use of Creative Commons licenses also is not just to the student to allow unencumbered non-commercial use, but also the lecturers to add supplemental material.
Flat World now are working on supporting the likes of the Sony e-book reader and Amazon Kindle and plan to use their most popular format the PDF to achieve this. It will be interesting to watch how the most widely supported digital format, PDF, promotes a DRM free textbook in a flat world.
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