Digital publisher Flat World Knowledge announced today that 40,000 college students at more than 400 colleges will be using the company’s textbooks this Fall– a dramatic increase from 1,000 students at 30 colleges who used the textbooks this Spring.
The company has built an innovative pay structure that should appeal to cash-strapped students, and could help set a standard for textbook pricing. Students can read entire textbooks for free online via web browsers; pay $19.95 for a PDF download; pay $29.95 for a black and white printed version or $59.95 for a color version, or pay $39.95 for an audio version.
Here’s a statement from co-founder Eric Frank, from the release: “Traditional textbooks have clearly failed students and instructors … Similarly, digital textbook trials that force a single format, device, or price point will also fail. No single e-reading format or device will ever satisfy all students. Our commercial open source textbook approach puts control and the power of choice in the hands of students and instructors.”