Flat World Knowledge

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The Flat World Knowledge case study discusses how the traditional textbook publishing model is changing because of disruptive advances in technology that have essentially created the digital publishing market. Although I believe that Flat World Knowledge will be recognized as a successful contributor to the disruption in the textbook publishing market in five years’ time, I view online learning – accented by the evolution of digital textbooks – as the disruptive force that has changed the model for the education industry. In many ways, online learning (or e-learning) has created new experiences for teaching and learning, which also includes a new format of publishing through digital textbooks, eBooks, and digital media. E-learning has systematically created a new sense of healthy competition among learning institutions, textbook manufacturers, and the broader education industry to provide innovative ways of delivering knowledge. This competition, along with the soaring prices of inflexible textbooks, subsequently shaped the idea behind Flat World Knowledge. Flat World Knowledge (“FWK”) has embraced a freemium business model (Piccoli 166) as a way to offer a solution to better serve students, authors, and educators in the traditional textbook market. FWK aims to provide its students with free online textbooks and its authors and educators with the ability to control textbook content, while generating revenues from customers on ancillary fee-based services such as low-cost print and mobile device versions. To begin this analysis, it is important to look at the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats currently facing FWK. The SWOT analysis demonstrates that FWK is well positioned to capture the increased demand for free and open college textbooks available online as the digital publishing market has evolved. FWK has effectively expanded its catalog of book titles to accommodate students in various subjects, while also attracting new authors, educators, and...
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