Learning on the Cheap

This post brought to you by Flat World Knowledge. All opinions are 100% mine.


Why do college textbooks cost so much? Seriously. Even if you buy them used, you still pay an exorbitant amount of money.
New company Flat World Knowledge figures we have open source computer software, so why not open source textbooks? Check this out: Flat World uses a custom system called MIYO where professors and students can access their catalog of e-textbooks and then modify the books for their own use. Using Flat World’s system, you can take any book there and “Make It Your Own,” inserting or removing any text they want right down to individual words or sentences, reorder a book’s chapters, and even plug audio and video content right into the book. And it’s all drag-and-drop easy. Here is a great example of their textbook customization
Once you’re satisfied with your modifications, click “publish” and your personalized textbook is rendered instantly as an HTML ebook, PDF files for printing on demand, ebook formats like epub and mobi that you can use on your Kindle or iPad, and even audio books and digital Braille. How’s that for full service? The HTML version even supports search, note-taking, and multimedia. And you can get live chat help anytime.
Imagine the possibilities this offers to professors, who can now have their own professional, customized materials for the courses they teach. This really could change everything, even more so for college students — because lord knows they need the help, with tuition costs growing every year. Flat World Knowledge has started what it calls the “textbook affordability movement,” using open licensing of expert authored textbooks and killer personalization tools to change your standard textbook from a lifeless object to a dynamic learning platform. Flat World’s books are free to use online, $35 for print, and $25 for other formats.
DRM blows. Now you have a choice.

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