A Look at the Future of Educational Publishing in 2021 and Beyond
December 3rd, 2020
When electricity was first introduced at the start of the 20th century, it completely transformed the industry. This meant that factories could operate for longer each day, and machinery could be made more powerful. Factories began to change to meet the new shift towards electricity, including their layout and location.
A similar effect has also been seen with the introduction of the Internet and digital technologies that are constantly altering manual and analogous processes. Educational publishing is no exception to this change.
Declining Print Sales
Over the past few years, print sales in the educational market have been on a continuous decline. Some of the main reasons for this are:
Reselling of Older Editions
There has been a massive growth of companies renting books and reselling them on the Internet. This is especially true for higher education. Even if previous editions of textbooks are not available through the publisher, students can access them anyway from other online marketplaces.
Limitations of Physical Material
There are also limitations of the physical textbook model that are hurting sales. Today, educators are looking for adaptive and personalized means of learning, which cannot be provided in a traditional textbook. There is also the issue of the lack of insights and analytics for student progress provided by a physical copy. In short, it is not an attractive option for digital natives.
The COVID-19 Pandemic
Lastly, the Coronavirus pandemic has been a major contributor to the decline of textbooks. With the pandemic, schools were closing left and right. This led to remote learning becoming the norm. In such an environment, eBooks became incredibly useful. They made online learning much more fun, engaging, and personalized for the students. In fact, they made remote learning effective. High-quality multimedia and interactive elements could be integrated into eBooks, which turned students into active participants in the learning process.
Additionally, eBooks have made learning more inclusive and accessible. Providing high-quality education to students with disabilities can be difficult with traditional books. Publishers, schools, and teachers gain the power to change font sizes, colors, and even the contrast levels. Additional features such as Read-Aloud and modified keyboard access can make learning easier for disabled students. Also, print textbooks tend to be expensive and often out of the reach of students from the lower economic strata. With digital books, students can access textbooks at a fraction of the cost of print textbooks.
The Digital Shift
Even before the pandemic, publishers were reducing their focus on print. In fact, Executive Editor of the Textbook and Academic Association, Michael Spinella, said in 2018 that textbook authors were finding it difficult to secure textbook contracts with major academic publishers. Cengage had published 200 textbooks from 2014 to 2018 but planned to publish only 11 in 2020.
But, this was before COVID-19 changed the educational sector. Today, the shift is even stronger. In fact, between 2020 and 2024, the digital educational publishing market is expected to increase by $6.96 billion, according to a report by Technavio. Below are some of the other expected trends in the educational publishing industry in 2021 and beyond.
With the digitization of educational publishing, more publishers are expected to use course authoring tools. In fact, 58% of the publishers have already started using such tools. They allow for the additions of interactive and multimedia elements to the learning material with ease. Course authoring tools cut down the time, effort, and cost of producing learning materials significantly.
With the increased use of digital technologies, providing interactive books would become easier as well. This is expected to boost the growth of interactive books in the coming years. By 2027, the interactive books market is expected to reach a value of $2.3 billion, growing at a CAGR of 16.5%, according to a report by MarketResearch.com.
Even the rental market is expected to be dominated by eBooks. Between 2020 and 2024, the e-textbook rental market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 22%, according to a report by Technavio. By 2024, the market is poised to increase by a value of $295 million.
Even after the effects of the pandemic have waned, the digital shift is expected to stay. It is time for educational publishers to look at robust digital platforms that can ease operations and help them remain relevant. MagicBoxTM is an award-winning, end-to-end educational publishing and distribution platform that comes with rich features for educational publishers. Contact us to know more about how it can help you.