Flat World Knowledge Announces New Bookstore Partnerships and Programs
Open-source college textbook publisher Flat World Knowledge has announced agreements with Barnes & Noble College Booksellers and NACS Media Solutions (NMS) to distribute its textbooks to more than 3,000 college bookstores in their respective networks for the 2010 fall semester.
Flat World also announced several pilot programs with NMS, a subsidiary of the National Association of College Stores (NACS), including a print-on-demand (POD) program, one of the industry’s first, according to a statement released by the publisher. The pilot programs are scheduled to launch in August.
“We partnered with Barnes & Noble and NACS Media Solutions to dramatically lower the costs of printed textbooks for students, including students on financial aid,” says Jeff Shelstad, founder and CEO of Flat World Knowledge. “The agreements will help tens of thousands of students lower their textbook costs. The average cost of a printed Flat World textbook is $29.95, or 75-percent lower than most conventional textbooks. We expect strong sales through these important channels.”
“We are committed to providing our students with the widest range of content options and price points available,” says Jade Roth, vice president, books and intellectual property at Barnes & Noble College Booksellers. “Partnering with Flat World and their state-of-the-art publishing platform aligns with our company’s mission to support the educational process and ensure that students have access to the tools they need to succeed.”
Flat World Knowledge will provide bookstores with digital files of its catalog of college textbooks. Since Flat World textbooks are openly-licensed, instructors have the option to remix, reorder, add and remove content. Then, the bookstore can print and bind paperback books, often within minutes or hours, according to the publisher.
University Book Store Inc. at the University of Washington in Seattle, and the San Diego State University Bookstore, among others, will be the first to pilot this new process. Students will be offered same-day pick-up of textbooks.
“Flat World’s innovative model allows us to have the most up-to-date books available anytime and helps reduce the cost of course materials for our students,” says Bryan Pearce, CEO, University Book Store Inc. “The print-on-demand option will save bookstores time and money and eliminate the expense of shipping unused books back to the publisher.”
Another NACS pilot program to roll out in August will offer students free, online access to Flat World’s textbooks directly from bookstores’ Web sites, providing a one-stop portal for students to read and buy textbooks, supplies and other merchandise.
“These exciting pilot programs address the need to help the college store channel expand essential services at a time when educational content is evolving,” says Mark Nelson, Ph.D., vice president for strategy and development for NMS. “Flat World is providing necessary innovation that could make the open textbook movement more viable and lead to other fundamental changes in the textbook market.”