Flat World Knowledge

Flat World Knowledge: Can a publishing start-up providing free textbooks find a profitable business model?
Noel Capon  | Summer 2008
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Former publishing executives Jeff Shelstad and Eric Frank had an innovative idea when they founded Flat World Knowledge in 2007: to provide free online textbooks, while generating revenue from sales of study aids and other add-ons. Using a Creative Commons license, Flat World Knowledge also planned to allow instructors to modify textbooks to meet their teaching needs. While Flat World Knowledge earned positive press, it was far from certain whether its business model would succeed. In this case students consider Flat World Knowledge's business strategy and propose what steps its founders might take prior to the service's debut to ensure that their business concept proves profitable.

Case ID: 080511

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