The company started by using a “freemium” model for textbooks; books could be read for free, and then students were up-sold products such as quizzes, print-on-demand, and e-reader versions of the book.
For teachers, the platform provided a number of important tools such as allowing for book customization, rearranging and removing chapters, shared annotations, and allowing these features on both the web and via print-on-demand, which was accomplished via a highly complex integration with DocBook XML.
Zivtech led the development of FlatWorld as an outsourced product team from prototype through the first two versions of their core products, which helped FlatWorld secure almost $40-million in funding. The company has since moved to charging for all content, but still maintains most of the user-facing features that students and teachers love.
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