We recently reported that Flat World Knowledge had picked up textbook adoptions at over 170 institutions but now we are learning that 350 institutions and 38,000 students will utilize the textbooks this fall. According to the press release, this is a significant increase for Flat World because as of spring 2009 there were only 1,000 students and 30 colleges participating. Eric Frank, Flat World Knowledge co-founder commented, “We’ll save college students and their families nearly $3 million in textbook expenses this semester. We’re on track to expand to 50,000 students in Spring 2010 and 120,000 students in Fall 2010. By the conclusion of 2010, Flat World will have conservatively saved 200,000 students over $15 million.”
As mentioned previously, open access course materials are gaining a lot of media attention as institutions look for ways to reduce the cost of textbooks for students. These materials propose both opportunities and challenges for college stores and institutions. College stores can participate in these models by offering the digital version of the content as well as print-on-demand solutions. Stores must find ways to participate in these models so that store remains the primary source for student’s content needs.