Our Company History and Vision

EdBooks was founded in 2015 by Vance Fried, Riata Professor of Entrepreneurship and Director of the Institute for the Study of Free Enterprise at Oklahoma State University.

The seeds for the company were first planted almost forty years ago, when Fried experienced the power of distance education as a high school student taking correspondence courses in Oshogbo, Nigeria. Decades later, his vision for the company took clear shape through research and writing about alternative economic models for U.S. higher education.

Through his research, Fried saw an opportunity to rethink the development and design of learning content in higher education, particularly in general education courses. He understood that it was possible, using digital models of production, to develop concept-focused learning solutions that were price-competitive and could change current packaging, distribution, and access models for learning content in higher education.

In late 2016, Fried invited Rob Reynolds to join EdBooks as CEO. A former university faculty member himself, Reynolds had spent the last fifteen years exploring the possibilities of learning content through research and leadership roles in educational technology and publishing.

Together, the two worked to refine the working model for Fried’s vision, and to ramp up design and production efforts for the company’s public launch.

True to Fried’s original vision, EdBooks is a new kind of educational publishing company. It is differentiated by three primary areas of focus: innovative product design, a focus on value and values, and premium service to faculty.

Image of the EdBooks logo on a door plaque

An innovative approach to product design and development

Traditional publishing has followed a model of developing products that are siloed by discipline structures and business units. These products are necessarily disconnected from each other, which leads to large-scale inefficiencies in content management and production. Moreover, a student can buy a traditional publisher’s textbook for one course, yet find little or no scaffolding or concept relatedness to another textbook by the same publisher in a related course.

By contrast, content in the EdBooks product library exists within an integrated curriculum model. Our products are designed to leverage both structured and unstructured relationships between key concepts across disciplines. This means connected concept scaffolding and common explanations and glossary terms throughout our courses.

Our integrated curriculum framework, coupled with a focus on modular lesson design, translates to a uniquely flexible product model. EdBooks products are ideal for faculty customization and for assembling content packages optimized for specific learning environments, such as traditional, hybrid, and online courses.

A focus on offering value to students and institutions

At EdBooks, value begins with a strong commitment to designing content that fosters learner relevance, agency, and mastery. This process begins with the creation of high-quality content provided by panels of experts in different disciplines. We place this content within learning frameworks designed specifically to make the content relevant to students and to promote knowledge application and acquisition.

Of course, when it comes to value, a student’s first thought is about price. That’s why we price our products below comparable competitor products. It’s also why we offer the simplest pricing model available – a single price for all EdBooks products. Even more important, this single price purchase lifetime access to a student’s EdBooks content. This includes future updates and a community of learning that extends beyond a course or a student’s time at an institution.

Finally, our vision for “value” extends to the values that we feel are important in promoting personal and professional success in a student’s life. The EdBooks curriculum features fifteen key literacies, competencies, and values that are mapped to and reinforced throughout our products.

Delivering a premium brand of service to adopting faculty

From the outset, we envisioned EdBooks as a company that would focus uniquely on the needs of individual faculty. We wanted to provide them the support and services that would translate to the delivery of their ideal personal teaching solutions. We decided to call it our EdBooks Concierge Service.

Our Concierge Service begins with a learning design consultation with each adopting faculty member. This allows us to establish a personal connection with our faculty partners, and to understand how they envision the specific learning experience they want to provide to their students using EdBooks content.

Once we understand clearly a faculty member’s vision for his or her course, we’ll offer suggestions for content and learning models specific to that vision. Based on the faculty member’s course and content requirements, we will provide content curation services, assist with product customization, and provide any training or support assistance necessary. We’ll also work with the faculty member to ensure a seamless start to classes, and we’ll be available for ongoing support through the duration of a semester.