How It Works

We set out to solve problems – the inflated cost and inflexible nature of textbooks, the lack of choice for students, and others. We did not set out to create problems. Making it hard to use our stuff would create a problem. Making you change a lot would create a problem. So we don’t.

We made it easy. And we made it a lot like what you already do. Just better.


It’s this easy: search our catalog, request a print review copy or review our book online, fill out an online adoption form, give a URL to your students, and download our supplements. Done. It really is that easy.

Find & Review

Finding and reviewing the right book for your course is easier than what you do now. Go to our online catalog. Browse or search by course or topic. Read the description and contents. Sounds familiar so far, yes? The difference? If the book seems good fit at first blush, you can just keep on reading! Our books are open, so it’s all there for your review. Immediately. No registration. No filling out a request form. No trying to get hold of your rep. You can even review all of the teaching resources at the same time. Of course, if you do want a print copy to review, we’re happy to send it to you – just click “print” copy and it’s on its way. Don’t you wish you could find your car keys that easily?


You just want to adopt the book “as is” – you’ll play around with customizing it later, once you know it better. Easy. Click “Adopt” from the catalog, the book’s homepage, or from any page of the book itself. We make this one pretty easy to find (now try finding the “return” button – not so easy ;-) Fill out the brief adoption form online - it’s like the one you fill out today for your department / bookstore. You’re done. Click “Submit”, and we generate a unique URL (website address) where your book will be for your students. You give it to them (or they get it without you more below on this). They go there and start reading. No passwords. No logins. Nothing to it. We’ll email you that URL too, just so you have it in a few places. And you can always retrieve it from you’re My(flat)World page. If you want the bookstore to order some print copies for students, you can click “get printable form” and give it to the department assistant or bookstore.

screenshot of book adoption process

Personalize (if you want)

Is the book close to what you need, but not perfect? Make it perfect for you. You can customize your book before you adopt it, or anytime afterward. Think of it as your book – you’re in control and you can modify what you want, when you want.

You will find “Customize This Book” links on the catalog page and on every book page. Just click, and we will load the book you are looking at into our “Build-a-Book” platform (you’ll need to register to do this – sorry - but we need to save your work somewhere). You can click and drag chapters and sections into a better format that's right for you. Change the order of chapters or sections - or delete them altogether. You can add large chunks of information like a case study or an exercise set. You can search our database for material and add that. You can click the pencil icon and load that section of the book into our online editor, and actually make changes at the sentence level. Do you now have the perfect text? Great. Click “Save” and we’ll give you a unique URL, and put it in your “My(flat)World” page.

screenshot of the instructor tools
screenshot of book builder
screenshot of book editor

Get Supplements

Book found, adopted , and adapted. Now you get access to your “My(flat)World” page, where you can view and download supplements like an Instructor Manual, Lecture PowerPoint Slides, and Test Item Files, and a print desk copy (we’ll put that one on the mail). You can communicate with the textbook author and a service representative at Flat World Knowledge, and a lot more.

screenshot of my(flat)world educator dashboard


Find the Free Book For Your Class

You're happy to learn that you’ll be using a Flat World book. Free sure beats $130. But how exactly do you get the book? Your instructor gives you a URL (or look on your syllabus). Type it in and you’re there – at the exact book your instructor has selected for your class. What if your instructor doesn’t give you a URL, or you want to get a jump on things and buy the book before class starts? Go our “Class Finder”, and in a few clicks, you’ll get the link to your book. Either way, once you get there, you can just start reading – no payment, no registration, no nothing required. Of course, if you prefer a low-cost alternative to reading online, we’ve got those for you. Check out “Choices” below.

Exercise Your Freedom To Choose

How do you want to get the information in the book? You decide. You are on any free book page. You’re not a fan of reading online. What do you do? Go to “Purchase Options” and choose from a range of print, audio, and PDF options. Click on any of those options, and we’ll describe it to you, tell you how much it costs, and suggest some ways for you to save money (okay – suggest ways for you to spend money, but less than you otherwise might have). They all cost way less than what you are paying now, even for a used book.

You can also go to “Study Aids” and choose from a number of low-cost, high efficiency study aids like podcast study guides, mobile flash cards, web quizzes, and more. Select one of those from the main page, and we’ll describe everything that’s available to you. You can buy these as a package up front with one of our book options, or you can just buy them as you need them throughout the semester. Each time you buy, you download a DRM-free file to your computer. We also store links to all of your purchase at your “My(flat)World” page, so you can always go there to access everything.

screenshot of book purchase option #1
screenshot of book purchase option #2
screenshot of study aids purchasing options

Participate in the Learning Network

You can just read our books and be done, or you can interact with other classmates and/or students from around the country and world. You can use the community features of our books by clicking on, you guessed it, “Community”. Everything is pretty straightforward from there – Chat, Q&A, and Note Sharing. You’ll need to register to use these features.

screenshot of the community tools
screenshot of the note-taking tool

Manage Your Stuff

If you register (or buy something) we set up a “My(flat)World” page for you. You’ll be able to get to your books, any study aids you’ve bought, any notes you’ve taken (and others’ notes), and more from here. Couldn’t be easier.