3 Trends Transforming Education Publishing



Digital commerce touches a number of industries beyond online retail, and exciting things are happening in the publishing world, particularly in education publishing. As “digital” invades the classroom, education publishers are looking more and more like tech companies.

3 Big Opportunities in Education Publishing

Digital is taking over the classroom

Today’s tech-savvy students carry tablets, e-readers, laptops and smartphones to class, often with devices provided by the school. Some schools have already moved to all-digital libraries, and South Korea aims to have all-digital curriculum across the country by 2015.

Digital textbooks lighten the backpacks and wallets of students, but simply converting tree-books to e-books doesn’t satisfy the demands of the digital classroom.

Digital offers new ways to teach and learn

The textbooks of the future are not books.

The new wave of textbooks will behave more like “smartbooks,” with embedded multimedia, quizzes, gamification, tutorials, supplementary content and even social features. Both students and educators can edit and contribute to digital textbooks, and teachers can customize their own versions of a book to suit their syllabus, even embedding video of their own lectures into the experience.

Digital content owned by the publisher can also be remixed in a number of ways: through books, learning management platforms and companion apps. Content can be personalized to the student based on their school or course or individual learning needs and goals.

And like software, digital textbooks can be updated as frequently as required, rather than every 2 years.

Digital holds opportunity for new business models

Students typically either rent textbooks or buy, with the option to re-sell at the end of the term if the edition is still in use. Whether tree-book or e-book, the student “pays for” the entire text.

Entitlements are the “rights” to access digital content. Rather than purchase an e-textbook, a student may hold entitlements that unlock specific or all chapters, purchase additional content, access for a specific time frame and access for a specific device or number of devices. These entitlements may be part of a subscription, purchase or rental price, or may be baked into a tuition fee or other bundle.

A professor could source content from a library of titles, creating a “custom” text that’s custom-priced.

Students could search across textbook content and unlock chapters of textbooks outside their assigned texts as needed, at any hour of the day (or night).

Publishers can offer legacy content via an API to developers to create new and exciting apps.

Though much of this innovation has yet to hit the classroom, progressive education publishers are exploring the possibilities that digital technology holds for their educational offerings. What’s next is the transformation of textbooks into rich learning experiences.

Reprinted by permission.

Image credit: CC by Intel Free Press

About the author: Linda Bustos

As Director of Ecommerce Research at Elastic Path, Linda Bustos works with some of the world’s largest companies to help improve conversion rates and profitability on the Web. In addition to writing the Get Elastic blog since 2007, Linda’s articles have appeared in Mobile Marketer, CMO Magazine, E-Marketing + Commerce, and Search Marketing Standard. She is a frequent speaker at industry events, including XCommerce, Conversion Conference, and Affiliate Management Days.

In 2010, Linda earned a spot on the DMNews Top 30 Direct Marketers Under 30 list. She has served as faculty for the Banff New Media Institute’s Career Accelerator Program and Marketing Profs University, and has appeared as one of the Top 100 Influential Marketers of the year in 2008 and 2009. Prior to joining Elastic Path, Linda worked agency-side, specializing in usability and SEO.

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