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Flat World Knowledge

Open Access Textbook Repository

Published 06/29/2012 and rated Ratingstars4 4 out of 5 stars
by Adam Brown
What can you use the app for?

Flat World Knowledge is a site designed for students to help them get textbooks without having to purchase them. It’s aimed specifically at college students who will be able to access free open source text books online, there is also an option to purchase other copies of the books including audio books and a print version. This presumably is how the site makes it money. The site will be very popular with students, but not so popular with the companies producing conventional textbooks, especially if it gains market share. It appears to be very popular and word will spread quickly between students looking to save some money.

Flat World Knowledge screenshot
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What is the history and popularity of the app?

Flat world knowledge was founded by Jeff Shelstad and Eric Frank in 2008. The site has received a total of $8.7M in two rounds of fundraising from various sources including Valhalla Partners and High Peaks Venture Partners.

What are the differences to other apps?

There are a number of websites that sell textbooks for students and instructors to purchase; the difference with this one is that rather than just selling them they are actually offering the textbooks for free. It’s based on the principle that learning should be a right, not a privilege and so makes textbooks available to anyone without them having to worry about paying for them. No student likes paying for textbooks, and with open source text books you don’t have to ever again!

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How does the web app look and feel to use?

The website has quite a nice and attractive design which makes finding various functions very easy. The site specializes in providing free open source text books to educators and students. There is a catalog and any textbooks that you want to read can simply be added to your cart in a similar way to any online book store, the only difference is that you don’t have to pay because it’s all available for free.

How does the registration process work?

Registering for an account with Flat World Knowledge doesn’t take very long. You need to complete a fairly standard looking registration form where you choose your username and also enter your email address and a password. It’s also possible to register as an instructor by checking the relevant box on the signup form. There are groups which you can join at the time of signup, however at the moment there only seems to be one group. There is also a captcha test to make sure that no automated bot is signing up. You are sent a welcome email however you do not have to do anything you will automatically be signed into your account.

What does it cost to use the application?

Flat World Knowledge is completely free to use. It’s aimed at providing free books to students online. You can also purchase other formats of the book reasonably, including audio books in MP3 format, and print books.

Who would you recommend the application to?

Flat World Knowledge is ideal for any college student looking to save as much money as possible; it means that they don’t have to worry about spending money for their textbooks because they can get them for free. It is similar to Google books, but is specialized in offering educational textbooks.

  • Free open source text books
  • Order text books in alternative formats including MP3 audio books, and print books
  • Meet other students
  • Get text books without having to pay for them
  • Wide variety of study subjects

Flat World Knowledge video

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Flat World Knowledge contact details

Telephone: (877) 257-9243
Postal address:
Flat World Knowledge, Inc.
1 Bridge Street
Suite 105
Irvington, NY 10533.

Flat World Knowledge pricing

FREE - Permanently free version




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