Pearson announces plans to turn the page on physical textbooks

Pearson, one of the world’s largest textbook publishers, announces it will slowly phase out the physical textbook.


July 18, 2019

Books? Like of paper origin? What are these physical readings you speak of? 

This is bound to be a topic of historical wonderment in the future. And it starts today as Pearson, the world’s largest education publisher, has taken its first step toward its “digital first” outlook as it starts to phase out print books.

We are now over the digital tipping point

The 175-year-old firm has struggled for years as students gravitate toward used print textbooks to save money. But as digital learning takes focus of Pearson’s model, things are starting to slowly turn around.

According to CEO John Fallon, over half of Pearson’s annual revenues come from digital sales already.

In order to make up for that lost paperback cashola, Pearson will stop revising print books every 3 years, as it has previously done for the last 4 decades.

But what about the authors?

That’s right. There are people who actually write textbooks, AKA college professors, who view the medium through the precision of instructional language. 

It’s fair that this would be worrisome news to those putting into text the craft of underwater basket weaving (or whatever your joyous poison may be), as we’ve seen what subscription models have done financially to artists like musicians and TV writers.

But Fallon claims the firm’s plan would provide authors with “a more sustainable income over time.”

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