v. 22 #6 The Future of the Textbook

by Sara Killingworth (Senior Associate, Maverick Outsource Services Ltd.) sara@maverick-os.com
and Martin Marlow (Principal, Maverick Outsource Services Ltd.) martin@maverick-os.com, www.maverick-os.com

Etextbooks are the latest and, some would say, last major eBook category to finally start opening up to active experimentation and sales development worldwide. Over the last year or so we have seen a number of new and innovative business models, pricing ideas, and interactive or “born digital” products being explored by major Publishers as well as new market entrants. These new suppliers, distributors, and aggregators are developing some innovative approaches to eTextbook supply that are in some cases challenging, and in others sitting alongside the established players.

Against the Grain asked Maverick Outsource Services to explore this debate in more detail and to co-ordinate a series of special report articles in upcoming issues regarding the emerging future for eTextbooks.

We spoke to some key contributors to find out their views on the decline of print and the rise of electronic and to understand what factors would significantly drive the move to a digital world. The research explored three specific areas and their subsequent impacts on students, lecturers, publishers, and authors:

• the current market and the shift from “p” to “e,”
• the development of eTextbooks and eMaterials, and
• the supporting technology that delivers and enables access to content.

Over the course of three editions of Against the Grain, we will discuss the findings of this research. In this issue, we explore the market trends that are driving the shift from print to electronic as we try to uncover: What is the future of the textbook? What issues does the change from “p” to “e” present? How quickly, or slowly, will the market move until we reach the tipping point? And ultimately, who might be the winners and losers?

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