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Flat World Knowledge says YES to Fair Price for College Textbooks

Submitted by on February 20, 2013 – 1:00 pm2 Comments

In 2009, while working at a large higher education institution, I had a student worker who was very excited about being accepted into the nursing program. Upon entering the bookstore, she was shocked to learn that her books for the semester would cost more than her tuition. The cardboard boxes of books were piled up on her desk, and she was distraught. How could she afford to finish her degree when these costs were unmanageable? It was on this day that I became frustrated with the lack of flexibility of textbooks. We have heard numerous stories about the rising cost of tuition, but what about the cost of textbooks? Has anyone address their rising costs? The answer is yesFlat World Knowledge (FWK) is focused on a FAIR pricing model, and more people (faculty, students, administrators, parents, taxpayers, and book stores) need to know about them.

Flat World Knowledge Drives Down the Cost of Textbooks

The FWK team has been around since 2007 and has an extensive background in the publishing industry. They are very particular about the authors/titles they choose to publish, which means you Stacked-OrangeBlackcan count on their quality. A once-free resource, FWK began charging students last year–news that had some people up in arms. However, I had the pleasure of talking with Jeff Shelstad, the CEO and Founder of FWK. The mission of his organization is to drive down the cost of textbooks for students and provide a flexible publishing model for faculty:


 Starting January 1, 2013, we will no longer be providing students with free access to our textbooks. Yes, the free Web format is going away, but our mission to provide high quality course materials at affordable prices remains as strong as ever. Students can read a complete online textbook with our Study Pass product, which includes note-taking, highlighting and study aids, for only $19.95. Our prices remain significantly lower than the $100+ that students are used to paying for other commercial textbooks.


FWK is not out to make a small fortune on America’s future–they’re dedicated to offering fair pricing. In thinking about the FWK approach, $19.95 seems fair.  (According to The College Board, the average cost of textbooks per student is approximately $1200.00 per year.) If more faculty were using the Flat World books, the savings for students could be substantial. FWK is a class act. Check out how their new model works:

Visits FWK’s website for more information about their publishing model.

Share Your Experiences

What resources or organizations do your use to provide your students with free or fair-priced materials? Share with us in the comments section below.

Whitney-246×300By Whitney Kilgore Vice President, Academic Serivces





  • HDetson says:

    Flat World publishes the best textbook for the intro survey -the fact that their book is so affordable makes the adoption decision easy. Happy students=Happy professor.

  • Hi, HDetson –

    Thank you for your comment. I’m pleased that you have found Flat World books affordable, high quality and easy to adopt.