Digital Textbooks: Innovations From the Academic Business Model

A free WEBcast presented by Digital Book World and Publishers Weekly

Sponsored by Aptara.

This WEBcast was presented on August 9th. For a period of one week, you can access the archived presentation here. Even if you’ve previously registered, you’ll need to sign up one more time to access the archive. Digital Book World members get perpetual access to the archive, along with DBW 2011 conference audio and video. Not a member yet? Join the digital publishing community today.

In the trade, the digital transition has upended the marketplace, changing the entire publishing process. In academic publishing, the challenges of digital are no less seismic. Factors like piracy, a growing secondary market, and an environment that demands greater customization and speed to market present real tests to academic publishers. There are also great opportunities: ebooks, enhanced and otherwise, offer academic publishers a chance to make textbooks more relevant to students and—potentially—increase adoption rates. In this free WEBcast, Digital Textbooks: Innovations From the Academic Business Model, academic and trade publishers can learn from the lessons of big and small innovators at the forefront of digital.

We’ll talk to small start-ups and large publishers to find out how digital innovation has reshaped the academic marketplace.

Join us on Tuesday, August 9th at 1PM ET / 10 AM PT for this free WEBcast presented in partnership with Publishers Weekly and sponsored by Aptara.


  • New business models for selling content to educators and students – by the chapter and by the format.
  • What “open textbooks,” or free online versions of course material, have done to curb attrition rates of textbook purchases by semester.
  • How academic enhanced ebooks have added video, audio, and interactive features that go beyond bells-and-whistles publishing and improve the learning experience.

This WEBcast will primarily appeal to publishers in both academic and trade who are interested in new ways of selling and delivering content.



  • Matt Mullin, Community Relations Manager, Digital Book World

Registration for this event is past due. If you are a member or for more information on how to become a member, you can find the recording in our webcast archives.


Eric Frank

Eric Frank is the President and Co-Founder of  Flat World Knowledge, Inc., the largest publisher of free and open college textbooks for students worldwide. Committed to making higher education more affordable and accessible, the company has launched a classic disruptive business model in the face of the $8 billion U.S. textbook publishing market. Founded in 2007, Flat World has raised $30 million in venture capital in the past two years.

Eric has a successful track record of more than 14 years in higher education publishing, including senior management positions in sales, editorial, and marketing at Thomson (now Cengage) and Prentice Hall, a division of Pearson Education.

He is a frequent speaker at educational conferences, publishing industry events and universities and colleges, and has appeared in the New York Times, USA Today, US News & World Report, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and numerous other media outlets.

Matt MacInnis

Raised in rural Nova Scotia, Matt attended Harvard University where he earned a degree in Computer Engineering and Chinese Language. He moved to California and pursued an eight-year career at Apple where he managed the company’s international expansion into international education markets. During that time, Matt saw a lot of misuse of technology in the classroom, and in 2009 his frustration drove him to start Inkling. With a vision for reinventing the textbook, Matt has led Inkling into partnerships with the world’s largest publishers, building engaging, interactive learning content from the ground up for iPad. Both Matt and Inkling are based in San Francisco, CA.

Brett Sandusky

Brett Sandusky is currently Director of Product Innovation for Kaplan Publishing where he focuses on digital product development, eBook strategy, usability, mobile applications, and content integration across platforms. Formerly, he was Director of Marketing during which time he developed data-driven marketing strategies that capitalized on strategic use of metadata, Web 2.0 functionality, and direct-to-consumer outreach.


Digital Publishing Solutions from Aptara

Aptara’s digital publishing solutions deliver significant gains in quality, time-to-market and costs for eBook publishers. Having produced tens of millions of eBook pages and designed flexible, digital workflows for the world’s leading publishers, Aptara’s content technology solutions span all content source types and delivery media — from eReaders, tablets, smart phones and PCs to print.  With partnerships across the entire production and distribution supply-chain, including relationships with mobile channel partners, Aptara helps publishers stay ahead of the curve in today’s rapidly changing publishing market.

2 thoughts on “Digital Textbooks: Innovations From the Academic Business Model

  1. Libania

    Dear Mr. Mullin,
    I was trying to watch the archived presentation, but I receive the message “this webinar is no longer available”. Could you help me?
    Thanks in advance!
    Libânia Paes
    Educere – Brazil

  2. etextbookcity

    There is just no substitute for the interactive learning a digital textbook can provide. For college students like myself, but also for k-12. My wife is a 2nd grade teacher and if she had more technology and interactive things for the kids to do, those kids would learn much more much quicker.



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