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Higher Education Textbook Publishing: Past, Present and Future


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Following a brief history of textbook publishing in Canada, an overview of the current textbook publishing industry is presented. The types of textbook publishers, key publishing houses in the US and Canada, the publishing process and the current market are all examined. Finally industry trends from student, professor and publisher points of view are included.

Published in: Education, Business

Higher Education Textbook Publishing: Past, Present and Future

  1. 1. Higher Education Textbook Publishing Past, Present and Future
  2. 2. Outline <ul><li>History of Textbook Publishing </li></ul><ul><li>Textbook Publishing Industry Today </li></ul><ul><li>Textbook Publishing Trends </li></ul>
  3. 3. History of Textbook Publishing in Canada <ul><li>1700s - protests about the use of American textbooks </li></ul><ul><li>1837 - Lord Durham’s report </li></ul><ul><ul><li>suggests importing from England or writing/printing in Canada </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Pre World War I - Canadian books or British imports used </li></ul><ul><ul><li>market for higher education textbooks increased </li></ul></ul><ul><li>World War I - textbook production decreased by 50% </li></ul><ul><li>Inter-war years - increasing prominence of scientific research </li></ul><ul><ul><li>increase in textbook production </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>price regulations and the use of advertising revenue </li></ul></ul><ul><li>During World War II - only essential materials published </li></ul>
  4. 4. History of Textbook Publishing in Canada <ul><li>Post World War I </li></ul><ul><ul><li>expanded and more specialized textbook staffs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>rise of production </li></ul></ul><ul><li>1960s - buyouts and mergers of publishing houses </li></ul><ul><ul><li>American educational publishers promote modified content </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>belief that Canada’s existence as a nation was threatened by foreign domination of the education system </li></ul></ul><ul><li>1970 - Ontario Royal Commission on Canadian Publishers and Publishing Report </li></ul><ul><ul><li>continued to discourage the use of foreign materials and advocated for Canadian content </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>rise of Canadian studies courses and curriculum at all levels of </li></ul></ul><ul><li>1980s to present - more buyouts and mergers </li></ul>
  5. 5. History of Textbook Publishing in Canada - Trends <ul><li>Left behind issues of K-12 El-Hi publishing sector </li></ul><ul><ul><li>censorship, propaganda, nationalism, patriotism, racism, gender roles, and religious versus secular content. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Heavily reliant on imported materials </li></ul><ul><ul><li>specialized courses, foreign experts </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Small population = small enrollment = small market = small print runs = high prices = high profits </li></ul><ul><li>Profit vs. education of the nation </li></ul>
  6. 6. Textbook Publishing Today Presses: University Scholarly Academic Professional Association Publishing Groups Higher Education Textbook Divisions: Large Commercial Publishers
  7. 7. Top Commercial Publishers: US
  8. 8. Top Commercial Publishers: Canada
  9. 9. Publishing Process <ul><li>Author submits proposal to publisher. </li></ul><ul><li>Publisher conducts a market review. </li></ul><ul><li>A contract is established. </li></ul><ul><li>Editorial team + author develop manuscript. </li></ul><ul><li>Manuscript is reviewed. </li></ul><ul><li>Author approved revisions. </li></ul><ul><li>Cover is designed. </li></ul><ul><li>Supplemental material is prepared. </li></ul><ul><li>Marketing strategy is developed. </li></ul><ul><li>Index is prepared. </li></ul><ul><li>Book is sent to the printer. </li></ul><ul><li>Book is promoted by sales representative. </li></ul><ul><li>Adoptions are secured. </li></ul><ul><li>Books are shipped to the bookseller. </li></ul><ul><li>Profits are distributed. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Elements of the Industry Adoptions “Bundling” Increasing Prices Used Book Industry Shorter Revision Cycles “ Debundling” Very Upset Students! Publishers
  11. 12. Current Market <ul><li>2006: $6.195 billion in sales (US + Canada) </li></ul><ul><li>Sales within college bookstores are declining. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>direct sales to students via publisher’s websites is up. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Amazon sold an estimated 3.3% of total textbook sales. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>2008: Textbook sales decreased 12-17% </li></ul><ul><li>1970s - Present: sales have decreased by 25% </li></ul><ul><li>Prices have increased 278% the rate of inflation over the past 12 years. </li></ul><ul><li>70% of textbooks sold in Canada are American </li></ul>
  12. 13. Trends - Students <ul><li>Where are students getting their textbooks? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>New and used textbook sharing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Online downloading and pirating </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Illegal photocopying </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Buying back </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Renting </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Imports of foreign editions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not buying at all </li></ul></ul>
  13. 14. Trends - Professors <ul><li>Revolting against book and journal pricing </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Open access, trade, and self publishing </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Creating custom course packs/books </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Royalties for licensed photocopying (through Access Copyright) has increased between 10 and 15% over the past few years. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Custom presses (espresso machines) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Textbooks as wikis, online content (PDFs) or websites. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Using only supplemental materials, or no textbook at all </li></ul>
  14. 15. Trends - Publishers <ul><li>Merging and standardizing </li></ul><ul><li>Downsizing by outsourcing </li></ul><ul><li>Export manufacturing abroad </li></ul><ul><li>Cheaper and alternative materials </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Coverless </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hole punched packages. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Content and software development for new technologies </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Interactive websites </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Online and distance courses </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hand held content </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Allowing greater customization </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Course packs (print or online) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Shorter guides </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Digital printing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Print-on-demand are other options being offered by publishers </li></ul></ul>
  15. 16. E-Textbooks: The Solution? <ul><li>About half the price of print versions, </li></ul><ul><li>Special features: text-searching, multimedia, and hyperlinks </li></ul><ul><li>Incorporate customized and can include supplements </li></ul><ul><li>Self tutoring and assessment tools </li></ul><ul><li>Authors can quickly and easily update editions </li></ul><ul><li>Removes the need for middlemen such as distributors, </li></ul><ul><li>Prevents the loss of revenue towards used book or college booksellers </li></ul><ul><li>Reducing the influx of returned stock </li></ul><ul><li>Reduces transportations costs </li></ul><ul><li>Can be sold through iTunes </li></ul>
  16. 17. E-Textbooks: Or Not? <ul><li>Students aren’t responding as expected </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Like having a hard copy to read from at their convenience </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do not like that they can’t borrow or sell the copy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Believe eliminating the college bookseller and used book market will only drive up prices </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dislike not being able to keep a copy of the book for future reference, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Restrictions: limited viewing licenses or copy-protection software </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Can still be shared, scanned and pirated </li></ul><ul><li>Not a solution to the used textbook market or open access movement </li></ul><ul><li>The future of textbook publishing seems to favour </li></ul><ul><li>a hybrid of print and online content. </li></ul>
  17. 18. Key Resources <ul><li>American Association of Publishers. . http://www. textbookfacts .org (accessed March 15, 2009). </li></ul><ul><li>Giordano, Gerard. 2003. Twentieth-century textbook wars: A history of advocacy and opposition . History of schools and schooling (v.17). New York: P. Lang. </li></ul><ul><li>Lepionka, Mary Ellen. 2008. Writing and developing your college textbook: A comprehensive guide to textbook authorship and higher education publishing . 2nd ed. Gloucester: Atlantic Path Pub. </li></ul><ul><li>Oda, Stephanie, and Glenn Sanislo. 2009. Book industry trends: College. Educause Review 44 (1): 14-6. </li></ul><ul><li>Thompson, John B. 2005. Survival strategies for academic publishing. Chronicle of Higher Education 51 (41): B6-9. </li></ul>