- Flat World Knowledge, an independent publisher which made a name for itself several years ago by publishing free versions of its textbooks, is planning to eliminate those free versions as of January 1, 2013.
- The publisher still plans to make its books available for the well-below-standard price of $19.95, continuing what co-founder and chief executive Jeff Shelstad says is the company's "affordability and access mission" while acknowledging that the change will "make our business healthier."
- Shelstad characterized the change as a "minor bump in the road" for the adoption of free and open educational content, but traditional publishers saw the development as evidence that the rush to drive down the cost of educational content was a mistake.
From the article:
Flat World Knowledge blazed a trail several years ago by publishing free versions of its independently produced textbooks, in the process becoming a hero to student advocates and many in the open educational resources movement. But like many an early pioneer, the company is having to beat a retreat on that path; it now plans to eliminate the free versions of its books as of January 1, 2013. ...