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"The $300 textbook is dead," says the CEO of textbook maker Pearson

"The $300 textbook is dead," says the CEO of textbook maker Pearson

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  • That’s right, but the $150 textbook is well and alive.

  • My problem with this model is that it's actually converting goods into services and eliminating market competition. I read the full transcript of the podcast after lustening to the start of it.

    Part of what Pearson's CEO describes is converting sales into rentals--which will, of course, lower student

    My problem with this model is that it's actually converting goods into services and eliminating market competition. I read the full transcript of the podcast after lustening to the start of it.

    Part of what Pearson's CEO describes is converting sales into rentals--which will, of course, lower student costs and allow Pearson to compete with, or even gain the upper hand to, companies such as Chegg who rent out physical books they've bought from Pearson. What they'll rent is not a physical copy of the book but rather a digital copy, and there are some digital rentals already in existence in the marketplace.

    Pearson also is planning to eliminate hardcover textbooks altogether, which will eliminate any competition for the textbooks in the marketplace. So, instead of just being a publusher of books that distributors buy to sell to students, Pearson eliminates middlemen entirely and rents the new online form of the book directly to students.

    I've already seen something approaching this model in the marketplace with publishers offering add-ons to a physical book purchase by including a digital version of the book and supplemental material, such as quizzes and answers to study guide questions, in a package that lasts for 6 months. And if the professor requires students to take those quizzes online, that's another required cost for students. And unless one prints a screenshot, the pages of the online book can't be routinely printed out.

    Anither trend in college textbooks is the schools' realization that textbook costs can be quite burdensome for low-income students, so they make arrangements with the publishers to offer digital versions of the textbooks at no cost to students. I assume that these are rentals rather than permanent additions to students' online storage.

    It's important for all of us to remember that the purpose of a corporation is to make profits and deliver those profits to its shareholders. Pearson is no differentvin that regard. They are not making this change out of the goidness of their hearts; they're doing it to make even more billions of dollars.

    Yes, Pearson is developing ways to have AI individualize online student homework help, as well as conceiving other ideas to ease the work of professors (who determine which textbooks are required for their courses) and students. But one way or another, the consumers will be paying for these services.

    Mr. Fallon, Pearson's CEO, also mentioned something about moving away from K12 to focus on higher ed. Where *I* would like Pearson to get out of K12 is in the area of testing. As a K12 teacher, I cannot say strongly or loudly enough the damage that standardized testing has done to our K12 education system and its students.

  • I pray God blesses the one who distributes this information for free via torrents.

  • I’m not holding my breath here. My experience has been the ebook either comes as an add-on to the print version or costs nearly as much. The $300 text book is very much alive and kicking, as is it’s $295 ebook sibling.

  • For a subject like Calculus which benefits pretty much everyone in the world, can we move to an open-access model like arXive and PubMed? Just like the government requires NIH-funded research to be published in PubMed, maybe ED can fund open-source texbook projects...

  • Glad to see Pearson is trying to make a positive impact after it's recent run of overpriced nonsense. I look forward to seeing companies partner with them to reshape the self education market