Major disruption in store for textbook industry

July 28, 2014

The textbook publishing market is ripe for radical change, according to an article in University Business. The rise of free or low-cost digital textbooks, as well as the proliferation of open-access content, is challenging the sustainability of traditional publishing models. “The educational materials and publishing industry in 5 to 10 years will be completely remade, just as the music industry, the newspaper industry and the computer software industry were completely remade by the Internet,” said Richard Baraniuk, founder of OpenStax College, a non-profit that offers free peer-reviewed textbooks online. Baraniuk says that the price of textbooks has created a “crisis of access” that is affecting enrolment and retention. Some publishers, such as Pearson, are re-branding as “learning companies,” diversifying their product lines to include course and curriculum design as well as online tutoring services. Cengage Learning, on the other hand, is focusing on creating a “personal learning experience” with adaptive learning technologies. Cengage is adapting its approach to focus on students rather than professors. University Business