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Pearson Moves Away from Print Textbooks

laptop with stack of textbooks

All of Pearson's 1,500 higher education textbooks in the U.S. will now be "digital first." The company announced its big shift away from print today, calling the new approach a "product as a service model and a generational business shift to be much more like apps, professional software or the gaming industry."

The digital format will allow Pearson to update textbooks on an ongoing basis, taking into account new developments in the field of study, new technologies, data analytics and efficacy research, the company said in a news announcement. The switch to digital will also lower the cost for students: The average e-book price will be $40, or $79 for a "full suite of digital learning tools." (Additional discounts are available for institutions using Pearson's "Inclusive Access" model.)

"Students are demanding easier to access and more affordable higher education materials, with nearly 90 percent of learners using some kind of digital education tool," said John Fallon, CEO of Pearson, in a statement. "We've changed our business model to deliver affordable, convenient and personalized digital materials to students. Our digital first model lowers prices for students and, over time, increases our revenues. By providing better value to students, they have less reason to turn to the secondary market. This will create a more predictable, visible revenue stream with a better quality of earnings that enables us to serve the needs of learners and customers more effectively."

Print versions of Pearson's textbooks will still be available as rentals, priced at $60 on average. For more information, visit the Pearson site.

About the Author

Rhea Kelly is editor in chief for Campus Technology, THE Journal, and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected].

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