Eric Frank

Startup publisher Flat World Knowledge has secured $700,000 in new funding from independent investors, bringing its total funding to date to $1.4 million. The company, which was launched in August by textbook-publishing veterans Jeff Shelstad and Eric Frank, publishes free, open-source college textbooks online, with the option to purchase alternate formats of its content, including print and audio, and other study aids. Shelstad, who serves as chief executive officer of Flat World Knowledge, says he was “pleased” with the amount of funding raised. “Our investors recognize that higher education is one of the few markets that actually benefits from recessionary economic environments,” he says.

Nyack, N.Y.-based Flat World Knowledge, which launched this month, publishes free and open college textbooks online, with the option to purchase alternate formats of its content, including print and audio, and other study aids. While offering university-level course material gratis on the Web is not a newfangled idea in the higher-education realm, there are big differences from previous efforts—there’s no advertising within the text pages, nor is there a trial period with hidden fees. There isn’t even any registration required for users. Flat World Knowledge is a publishing company, not an aggregator of other publishers’ titles, says Eric Frank, co-founder and chief marketing officer.

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