Freed Flatworld Knowledge Textbooks

A couple of weeks ago Scott Leslie (edtechpost blog) wrote a post titled: All I want for Christmas… and what he wanted was for people to buy a single Flatworld Knowledge textbook, before December 31. And then share it with the rest of the world. Why? because as of 31 December 2012 Flatworld Knowledge has decided to remove FREE access from their open textbooks.


So I decided to join in the liberation and purchase a textbook and FREE it. Easy decision not so easy to liberate! I purchased Understanding Media & Culture: An introduction to mass communication.

Firstly,  my purchase was left pending on my Flatworld Knowledge account for over a week  (However, I must say, once I contacted their help desk they fixed it within 24 hours). Secondly, their was no complete pdf of the entire book to download, there were individual pdf files for each chapter and the book I decided to purchase was 16 chapters.  Thirdly, I then tried to find a FREE PDF editor that would let me merge the individual chapters into one file. I spent a couple of hours downloading free versions and free trials for PC without success. Some had “trial version” embedded across every page, others would only let me merge 3 pages and the most useful one I found would only let me merge up to 80mb. Unfortunately the entire book was about twice that size. I did not want to spend $50 – $100 to buy a pro version and was about to give up and come back another day to try and solve this dilemma. Then I read a comment by Stephen Downes explaining how he did it.

I had used the same process he did, except I didn’t have Adobe Acrobat (and it costs about $350 so I wasn’t about to buy it) . But his post sent me off searching in a new direction.  Thanks Stephen! I use a PC most of the time because that’s what I’m more comfortable with. But I also have a Mac laptop so I thought I’d check it out to see if I had the “merge into a single pdf” feature he mentioned in his comment. No luck. But a quick Google search led me to the Macintosh Howto website that explained merging pdf files in Mac was easy and provided step by step instructions. All the latest Macintosh OSX versions have the ability to merge 2 or more pdf files and once I found how to open the thumbnail view in the side bar (the shift + CMD + D did not work on my OSX version, but I found it in the view sidebar menu) I had all the files zipped together in no time.

Here is the FREED version of the textbook: Understanding Media and Culture: An introduction to Mass communication