Boundless (company)

FateAcquired by Valore in April 2015
FoundedMarch 2011; 8 years ago (2011-03)
HeadquartersBoston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Key people
Geoffrey Willison (CEO)
ProductsTextbooks (as E-books)

Boundless was an American company, founded in 2011, which created free and low-cost textbooks and distributed them online. In April 2015, it was acquired by Valore.[1] The combined company is based in Boston, Massachusetts.

In May 2017, it was announced that Boundless course materials would not be available after September 2017. Lumen Learning archived the Boundless collection on the Lumen platform.[2]


Boundless was founded in March 2011 by Ariel Diaz, Aaron White, and Brian Balfour.[3] The company raised $1.7 million in funding during 2011.[3]

In March 2012, the company was sued by three publishers: Pearson Education, Cengage Learning, and Bedford, Freeman & Worth Publishing Group (owned by Macmillan Publishers). Among other allegations, the lawsuit claims that "Boundless textbooks copy the distinctive selection, arrangement, and presentation of Plaintiffs’ textbooks, along with other original text, imagery, and protected expression of Plaintiffs and their authors, all in violation of the Copyright Act."[4][5] On December 17, 2013, the company announced that the lawsuit had been settled. Terms of the settlement are confidential.[6][7]

Boundless raised an additional $8 million in venture capital funding in April 2012.[8] In January 2013, the company claimed that students at over 2000 colleges in the United States were using its textbooks.[9]

It was acquired by Valore (company), another company in the Boston area, in April 2015.[1] Valore was acquired by Follet (company), in November 2016.[10]


The company's textbooks consist of educational material taken from free and open sources.[11] This material is often referred to as "open educational resources" (OER). Some of the sources include Wikipedia, the Encyclopedia of Earth, and government web sites.[4][11] The company edits the material and arranges it to create a text in the form of an e-book. In some cases the company also provides study tools, such as flashcards and quizzes.[12][13]

The company offers textbooks in over twenty subjects.[12] The company provides two types of books. In an "open" textbook, the contents of each chapter and the arrangement of chapters are defined by the company. In its "alternative" textbooks, the material is arranged in a way that is very similar to a specific, commercially available textbook. Alternative textbooks allow students to follow class reading and assignments that are based on a commercial text. Each chapter in its alternative texts covers the same concepts as the corresponding chapter in the similar commercial textbook, but using open education resources.[14]

In August 2013, the company began to charge a per-book fee for alternative textbooks. It continues to provide open textbooks (with fewer interactive features) for free.[13] The company launched its "Boundless Teaching Platform" in December 2013. The teaching platform is free. According to the company, the teaching platform allows instructors to customize the order of textbooks and monitor students' activity through the company's texts.[5]

See also


  1. ^ a b Alspach, Kyle (6 April 2015). "Boundless Acquired by Valore in Boston Ed Tech Consolidation". Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  2. ^ "Lumen Learning Hosts Boundless OER Course Archive". Lumen. September 15, 2017. Retrieved November 8, 2017.
  3. ^ a b Garbarino, Chase (4 April 2011). "Boundless Learning Raises $1.7M, Taking Big Swing in Big Space in Boston". BostInno. Retrieved 15 July 2013.
  4. ^ a b DeSantis, Nick DeSantis (5 April 2012). "3 Major Publishers Sue Open-Education Textbook Start-Up". The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved 15 July 2013.
  5. ^ a b Castellanos, Sara (5 December 2013). "Boundless now letting educators customize e-textbook lessons". Boston Business Journal. Retrieved 5 December 2013.
  6. ^ Diaz, Ariel. "Marching Forward: Boundless Settles Lawsuit with Traditional Publishers, Continues to Change Education". Boundless company blog. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
  7. ^ Woodward, Curt (18 December 2013). "Boundless Settles Copyright Lawsuit From Textbook Publishers". Xconomy. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
  8. ^ Frick, Walter (5 April 2012). "Boundless Learning Raises $8 Million, Led by Venrock, Amidst Lawsuit From Major Publishers". BostInno. Retrieved 15 July 2013.
  9. ^ Landry, Lauren (9 January 2013). "Boundless is Now Being Used By Students at Over Half of the Country's Colleges". BostInno. Retrieved 15 July 2013.
  10. ^ "Follett Acquires Valore Inc". Follett Corporation. 17 November 2016.
  11. ^ a b Fitzgerald, Michael (19 November 2012). "Free Textbooks Spell Disruption for College Publishers". MIT Technology Review. Retrieved 15 July 2013.
  12. ^ a b Alspach, Kyle (15 March 2013). "The battle for free textbooks". Boston Business Journal. Retrieved 16 July 2013.
  13. ^ a b Heussner, Ki Mae (6 August 2013). "Despite lawsuit, Boundless takes on publishers with $19.99 interactive open-source textbook". CNN Money / Gigaom. Archived from the original on 7 August 2013. Retrieved 6 August 2013.
  14. ^ Carey, Kevin (20 December 2012). "Never Pay Sticker Price for a Textbook Again - The open educational resources movement that's terrifying publishers". Slate. Retrieved 15 July 2013.

External links

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