Students evaluate digital disruption in Textbook Industry & Devise Stratiegies

Sawyer Business School Takes Innovative Approach to Capstone Experience

Suffolk University Business students are analyzing how digital technology is impacting the textbook-publishing industry, using themselves as guinea pigs and offering feedback to firms involved in this evolving area.

The students in the senior capstone course at Suffolk University’s Sawyer Business School have divided into teams representing different stakeholders in the evolving textbook-publishing arena. Team research will lead to strategy recommendations for achieving a “win” in an industry facing technology disruption.

The teams are approaching the problem from the following points of view and are supplied with the corresponding resources:

  • Publisher, using traditional printed and bound textbook
  • Sony, with students accessing the textbook through the digital Sony Reader Touch
  • Amazon, with students using the Kindle DX electronic reader
  • CourseSmart, which allows students to access textbooks online and download and print them in part or in their entirety
  • Wildcard, or Entrepreneurs; students analyze possibilities that have not yet been realized

In tackling a real-life business challenge, the undergraduate students will draw on all their accumulated knowledge of marketing, accounting, management, finance, personnel and production.

Lecturer Mitchell Weisberg expects to publish the study upon completion and has incorporated a topical blog and a wiki into the project. Students have been asked to contribute to the wiki, which also will be open to Amazon, Sony, the publisher that owns the current textbook content, and other publishers. Weisberg, who has extensive experience consulting with firms on technology-driven business process improvement, has offered class feedback to the firms whose materials or devices are involved the research project.

For more information, please contact:
Greg Gatlin at 617/573-8428, ggatlin@suffolk.edu
MariellenNorris at 617-5783-8450, mnorris@suffolk.edu

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