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May 16

Personalized Textbooks are now Possible due to Flatworld Knowledge

Posted by abiao at 14:06 | Review | Comments(0) | Reads(4603)

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Flat World Knowledge. All opinions are 100% mine.

  Flatworld Knowledge is a company that has developed a software package that allows for the editing, inserting of data, and rearranging of digital textbooks. The principle beneficiaries of this creation will be the professors who will now be able to take a standard textbook, and customize it to meet exactly what they intend on teaching in a class.

  Most of us that have taken college level courses know that the professors sometimes skip chapters completely, teach them out of order, leave out sections of a chapter, or require other material outside of the textbook to be read and studied as part of the class.

  Flatworld Knowledge’s new software package will now allow them to put all of the information they intend on instructing in the precise order that it will be presented to the students. The student will be able to access their new textbook’s using the iPad, Kindle, other digital media readers, or computers.

  The textbook customization will be available in a multitude of formats, including an html textbook, pdf files, epub., and mobi. These formats will allow the students to insert notes when necessary, print out the textbook, or view different types of multimedia.

  The firm behind this highly imaginative approach to learning, Flatworld Knowledge has risen over $27 million in venture capital from investors like BDMI and Bessemer. The textbooks themselves will need to be licensed from the firms holding the copy-writes to them, and Flatworld Knowledge will then pay them a fee based on negotiations done in the future.

  The US textbook market alone is worth over $8.5 billion each year, and presently there is not a consensus on what effect this type of system will have on it. They intend on offering books that can be read online for free, formats that can be printed out will be $35, and all other formats will be sold for $25.

  It is pretty easy to see that Flatworld Knowledge’s present business plan is going to face a major uphill battle from the leading publishers in the textbook industry. College students are for the most part, are always broke, and extremely computer savvy. It will not be too long before one of them figures out how to purchase a book, and then circulate it around the entire classroom for free.

  There are quite a few more problems and questions surrounding this approach that will need to be solved before Flatworld Knowledge business model will become a financial success. Some of them are the following. First, why would a large textbook publisher ever license their products to them?

  Second, someway must be devised that ensures each student is required to purchase a textbook for each class. Third, will the present textbook publishers license the software from Flatworld Knowledge, instead of allowing them to license their books?

  Fourth, will the present textbook publishers just develop their own software systems? Fifth, will Flatworld Knowledge be forced to have textbooks written for them? Sixth, if Flatworld Knowledge is forced to have textbooks written for them, are they so far behind presently in the area, that they will never be able to catch up?

  There is no questioning the fact that Flat World Knowledge has an excellent idea, which will reduce student’s textbook expense in the future. However, that being said, having an excellent idea, and being able to turn it into a financial success, are two completely different scenarios all together.

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