Open Textbook Publisher Flat World Knowledge Expands its Presence in Canada

IRVINGTON, NY – February 24, 2011 – Flat World Knowledge, the largest publisher of free and open college textbooks for students worldwide, today announced the expansion of its presence in the Canadian higher education market with a sales team to support its growing international operations.

More Information

Jim Rozsa, Managing Director at Northrose Associates, in Whitby, Ontario, and a network of sales managers are bringing Flat World’s open textbook model to professors and administrators seeking high-quality alternatives to traditional textbooks that can cost students $1,000 or more per year.

“The escalating price of textbooks, rising tuition costs and severe budget constraints have placed a tremendous financial burden on students on both sides of the border,” said Rozsa, who has more than 20 years experience in sales and marketing with major international publishing houses. “For years I’ve witnessed an ever-expanding gap between publishers and the people they’re creating products for. Finally, instructors and students have real choices that respect their individual approach to teaching and learning.”

Core Facts

  1. Professors at McGill University, the University of Regina, York University, the University of Saskatchewan and St. Francis Xavier University are among 1,600 educators worldwide who’ve adopted Flat World textbooks.

  2. Founded by publishing industry veterans, Flat World Knowledge is a commercial pioneer within the open content movement to make educational materials freely available online and accessible to everyone. Its catalog is written by top academic authors who publish their works under a Creative Commons open license. Students can read the peer-reviewed textbooks in their entirety online for free. Faculty can reorder and edit content, add new material and interactive media and decide when to adopt a new edition. The company generates revenue through the sale of print books, e-books for devices like the iPad and Kindle, audio books, PDF downloads and interactive study aids.

  3. Calgary-based Lyryx Learning, Inc. created Flat World’s learning and assessment platform for its texts. Called FLYX, the online homework system provides guidance and personalized feedback to students and supports instructors with customized assignments, grading, and analysis of student answers. Lyryx was founded by professors Claude Laflamme and Keith Nicholson of the department of mathematics at the University of Calgary.

  4. In January, Flat World announced a $15 million Series B funding round led by Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments (BDMI), a wholly owned subsidiary of Bertelsmann AG, a leading international media company, and Bessemer Venture Partners, a top global investment firm. The new funding is fueling the rapid expansion of its catalog beyond business and economics to the 125 highest-enrolled courses. The company recently published The Flat World Knowledge Handbook for Writers, Introduction to Sociology, Introduction to Psychology and Elementary Algebra.



“We share Canada’s strong commitment to making postsecondary education affordable and accessible for everyone. With our new team in place, we look forward to partnering with the academic community to equip students with the knowledge they need to realize their potential and compete in the global economy.”

Jeff Shelstad, CEO and co-founder of Flat World Knowledge. “

Company information

Flat World Knowledge is the largest publisher of free and open college textbooks for students worldwide. Committed to making higher education more affordable and accessible, the company provides students with free online access to complete, peer-reviewed textbooks, with options to purchase affordable print and digital formats, including e-books, audio books, PDF downloads and interactive study aids. Flat World’s open license and online editing platform enable professors to modify the content and create the “perfect book” for their course. To date, more than 1,600 professors at over 900 colleges in 44 countries have used Flat World open textbooks. To learn more, visit; follow us on Facebook at; and on Twitter at

24th February 2011

Main Press Contact

Carole Walters

Director of Communications

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