College textbook publisher Flat World Knowledge secured $15 million in Series B funding to help expand its digital book catalog. In the past the company has been focused on business and economics titles, but recently began expanding its catalog to include sociology and psychology books and plans to publish English composition, algebra, chemistry and American government books in coming months.
Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments (BDMI) and Bessemer Venture Partners led the funding, which also included investment from companies such as Valhalla Partners, GSA Venture Partners (formerly Greenhill SAVP) and High Peaks Venture Partners also participated.
Flat World publishes traditional textbooks, but also publishes works with Creative Commons licenses. In an interview with eBookNewser last summer, Eric Frank, co-founder/president of Flat World Knowledge, explained how this works: “Our model starts by sticking with what works from the traditional industry – publishing expert-authored, high-quality, peer-reviewed textbooks that faculty want to use in their courses. Then, we flip the old model on its head. We license our books under a Creative Commons open license, in effect transferring control (legally) to adopting faculty to modify the textbook to better suit their own teaching goals.”