Textbook publisher Pearson is going digital. Here’s why that’s a bad move.

study international | August 16, 2019

In July, textbook publisher Pearson announced its “digital first” strategy for publishing new materials. As a result, alll 1,500 US textbooks will transition to digital, and it’s unclear how often print materials will be published and revised. In some ways, this is a sensible move. Textbook authors can update materials as and when required, and the process for doing so will become much simpler and less costly. Fair enough. Dig a little deeper, however, and the motivation for the transition seems somewhat sinister. In 2016, Pearson decided to cut an astounding ten percent of its staff by 2019 due to a loss of £2.6 billion. What caused the reduction in revenue? Students buying second-hand textbooks, apparently. To add insult to injury,  more than US$10 billion is spent each year at American university bookstores, an unfathomable amount that earns the average bookstore a profit of 21 percent. “We want students to have the best and most up-to-date content for the best price,” Pearson CEO John Fallon told Inside Higher Ed.

Spotlight

Online degree programs are proving to be one of the most successful alternative pathways, and this phenomenon is reflected in data. Higher Ed Growth reviewed enrollment data from hundreds of its postsecondary institution clients nationwide for the 2017-2018 school year. Here are the top online degree program trends, as well as a look at how distance learning addresses the nontraditional student of today and the workforce of the future.

Spotlight

Online degree programs are proving to be one of the most successful alternative pathways, and this phenomenon is reflected in data. Higher Ed Growth reviewed enrollment data from hundreds of its postsecondary institution clients nationwide for the 2017-2018 school year. Here are the top online degree program trends, as well as a look at how distance learning addresses the nontraditional student of today and the workforce of the future.

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