Todd says: "You, my friend, seem to confuse the binding of a book with its contents"
And you, sir, seem to confuse your opinion with what actually happens on the ground. Millions of textbooks are sold every year - most of them are overpriced, but they get sold, nevertheless. Only a tiny fraction - probably less than 1%- are open textbooks. Why is that?
Also, why the straw man? I could care less about all the unnecessary garbage that is thrown into textbooks; it makes them cost more than they have to - but what does that have to do with FWK not serving its customers with lower priced texts. It appears that you enjoy showing off your erudite nature, more than sticking to the point and looking for accuracy within analysis.
As for cross-platform interoperability being a sine-qua-non for current and future educational content adoption, get used to it. It still stands that there is no coordinated open textbook publishing effort that pays attention to this important user detail, although there should be. Textbooks cost too much. Education costs too much. We need to bring those costs down, but current efforts to reduce costs and increase efficiencies - mostly coordinated from inside academia - appear not to be very effective.
"Flat World Knowledge does not, so far as I know, have a charter to grant degrees. If it did, it would still be at about the level of the University of Phoenix, far below such state institutions as the University of Arizona and Arizona State University. It would also be far below the regional Catholic universities, such as Xavier University in Cincinnati. That makes Flat World Knowledge fundamentally subordinate."
Fundamentally subordinate? To what? To the open source content that you claim to be so great, that hardly anyone uses?
Also, there is a big difference between open software, worked on by experienced programmers who understand code - and open textbooks, that is worked on by academics who know about their subject matter, but don't know a darned thing about the ecology of publishing. That's essentially why open textbooks are not used; they're just not very good (with a few glaring exceptions). Your claim that they will get better has not shown to be true. I don't see open textbooks making the publishers poorer, or slowing commercial textbook adoption, or commercial textbook publisher's profits, in general. There hasn't even been a price reduction, as all the new ancillary, integrated learning "solutions" put forth by publishers has more than made up for any small loss they have incurred from the relatively few open textbook adoptions out there.
@ Andrew Todd, who writes: "A lot of teachers got their fingers burnt on Flat-World Knowledge, and next time, they'll be more careful to ask about open-source licenses. In the long run, textbooks will be produced by non-profit organizations attached to universities, under Creative Commons licenses, and their funding will tend to come from government grants, not from any kind of commercial revenue. The mechanical aspects of textbook publication have been simplified to such an extent that the university no longer needs to outsource the job to a publisher."
Seriously? How about the majority almost 4000 instructors who continue to use FWK textbooks? How about the fact that out of all the "free" textbooks funded by foundations, only a tiny fraction are used, compared to the relatively high use of FWK books. Think it's a snap to create a cogent textbook that condenses to an eBook that operates seamlessly cross-platform, has supplements, tutoring help, etc. etc. Do you REALLY think that the Academy can pull this off? Get a clue!
Techdirt has not posted any stories submitted by Dina.