Monthly Archives: January 2011

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The Future of Textbooks in a Digitized World

Click below for insight from the Law, Technology, & Arts Blog by James Proctor:

http://wjlta.wordpress.com/2011/01/27/the-future-of-textbooks-in-a-digitized-world/


Textbook vs. ebook

textbook vs. ebookTextbooks should be available for free online and for a cost to download in PDF format.  Ebooks cost very little to produce in comparison to traditional textbooks, whose prices have increased over 190% in 10 years.  Traditional textbook publishers make money by selling new copies of their book and subsequently, they must update their content, whether it is necessary or not, in order to keep profiting.  There are coalitions out there whose mission is to drive down the prices of textbooks.  They feel that if students are paying more for textbooks in a year, than for tuition, something is wrong.  Many students have even been forced to drop out of school due to the exorbitant costs of textbooks.  Prior to the Higher Education Act of 2008, textbook “dealers” didn’t have to disclose prices to professors.  It was like an unregulated drug industry with “dealers” offering incentives to professors to buy from their publishing house.  Keep em’ happy and they’ll come back for more.

With the slow extinction of textbooks, publishers will be forced to drive their prices down, and make ebooks available at a reasonable cost, most likely, under $40.  There are companies like, Flat World, who already follow a similar model, offering free content online and a PDF download at a cost.  Publishers are going to lose dollars and their hired textbook dealers will have to wine and dine professors to purchase multi media packages rather than the traditional bundles.  Students and colleges will have the most to gain.  Students will be able to afford books and tuition which means the colleges will have more consumers to teach.


Kindle Case Study…

  • Can the traditional business model of publishing survive without evolution?

The current business model for publishing will have to change along with the changing delivery of “the book”.

  • What competitive threat is posed by Kindle to the traditional publishing industry?

Amazon decided on a ebook price of $9.99 per book, taking a loss per download  in order to increase market shares and encourage the sale of the Kindle device.  This opposes a threat to the “Big 6” publishing houses because the consumer now believes that the value of a book is no more than $9.99.

  • How will the emergence and adaptation of Kindle transform the publishing industry?

The emergence and adaptation of Kindle will transform the publishing industry because authors will go directly to the Kindle or other producers of like devices, thus eliminating the “middle man”.

  • Consider all the stakeholders in a vibrant book industry—authors, publishers, libraries, chain bookstores, independent bookstores, schools and readers. What does each group have to gain? What does each group have to lose?

Authors, will still have a venue to sell their “product”. They shouldn’t be affected either way.  It might actually make it easier to publish their work.

Publishers, have the most to lose.  The “device” producers will become the publishers in many cases.  If they adjust to the changing book market, they could still stay in the game.

Libraries, make most of their revenue from overdue book fines.  They will have to readjust their ebook lending policies to maybe include a monthly subscription fee.

Chain bookstores can offer both hard copies of books and ebook versions.  They will have to charge for in store access to make up for the loss of book sales or potential reduction of cover prices for hard books.

Independent bookstores will most likely feel the changes to the industry most.  It is likely that many of them will not survive.
Schools should see a reduction of costs unless hard textbook prices increase to make up for the loss in volume of sales.

The readers have the most to gain.  They can still buy or borrow a hard copy of a book, and yet they have the digital mode of delivery which adds a new convenience.  With all of the competition in the publishing industry, it should drive down the prices of books all the way around.  The bottom line is everyone will have to adapt to stay in business.


Week Two Discussion Question

In spite of the wonderful advantages created by the Internet, some of the drawbacks are: an opportunity cost that often is greater than its trade-off, wasted time, addictions, dependency, evolving infrastructure, and regulations that cannot keep up with the evolution of the Internet.  Pop-ups plague web surfers, emails pile up like digital junk mail, and systems crash leaving its victims helpless and crippled.  Household budgets must now include digital package costs and most homes contain a computer per person.  Families, who once spent quality time together, now simply coexist as they are each plugged into their own virtual world of watered down friendships and shallow relationships.

Digital delivery is changing the communications industry.  It is changing consumers’ habits as it becomes the root system to all media, communication, and commerce.  Everything runs through digital cable now, television, telephone, cable, satellite, cell phones, and Internet.  In fact, one can watch a television show from a TV via cable or satellite, a gaming console, a smartphone or a personal computer.  One can spend money from each venue as well.  Everything is digital.  Storefronts are not just in shopping plazas and malls and opinions are no longer posted as a theses in the center of town.  Editorials are being written in fuzzy slippers from behind closed doors with little accountability and everyone gets their 15 minutes of fame (or defamation) on youtube.  Life is passing by at the speed of information and everyone is too hooked to pull out the needle.




Switchfoot: Adding to the Noise


Quote of the Day…

Television to brainwash us all and Internet to eliminate any last resistance.”  ~Paul Carvel