December 21, 2012 was supposed to be the day the world was going to end. Instead, it ended up being the day the Saylor Foundation saved a major portion of the educational Commons from disappearing. As described in a blog post this morning, Saylor.org now hosts free and open versions of Flat World Knowledge texts.
Saylor has done a Herculean job, backing up and providing free and permanent access to Word and PDF formats of every Flat World Knowledge textbook – with ePub versions coming in Q1 2013. They’re also inviting anyone who has remixed FWK books to contribute links to their remixes for Saylor’s new Bookshelf.
Saylor has also gone out of their way to make sure that each and every page of every Word and PDF document contains attribution and links back to the FWK site – over attribution just to be safe. And unless FWK breaks the attributions by changing book URLs when the paywall goes up January 1, readers of the Saylor versions of the books will still be able to purchase flash cards, printed copies, and other supplemental materials easily. The Bookshelf site explicitly suggests to readers, “We encourage you to visit the Flat World Knowledge website and consider the purchase options available there. We also provide links to the site within each book.”
A Merry Christmas, indeed.