Flat World Knowledge, a textbook publisher offering customizable online textbook content supplemented with a variety of digital support content, has named Christopher Etesse, former CTO of Blackboard Student Services, chief executive officer succeeding Flat World Knowledge founder Jeff Shelstad. Shelstad, who launched Flat World Knowledge in 2007, will remain with the company in a strategic role.
Etesse takes over Flat World Knowledge not long after the publisher changed its basic business model. The company originally offered its online textbooks for free and generated revenue by selling affordable supplementary content as well as print versions. But earlier this month Flat World eliminated free access to its textbooks while highlighting “study passes,” or $19.99 and $34.95 fees that offer a variety of access to all its content.
Etesse worked with Blackboad Student Services, one of the largest software platforms serving the educational marketplace, for years shaping its technology strategy. Shelstad praised Etesse’s “technology thought leadership” and said, “I welcome his energy and experience as we continue to change the textbook publishing industry and provide instructors and institutions with great, affordable textbooks and learning resources they can personalize to meet the needs of their students.”