Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Pearson invests in Barnes & Noble’s e-book

Pearson invests in Barnes & Noble’s e-book (Nook)
Pearson UK is one of the largest multinational publishing and education companies in the world so when the news hit that they would be investing in an e-reader, debate quickly unfolded.

Pearson has announced that they will invest $89.5 million (£55 million) in return for a 5 per cent share in Nook Media LLC. The move means Pearson will now have a financial stake in Nook Media’s subsidiary parts that include its e-reader and tablet, its online bookstore and the Nook retail stores based in over 650 US college campuses.

Does this spell the end of traditional print textbooks?

The news, which was publicly announced on Friday 28th December, came as no surprise since many of the major tech companies have begun to make inroads into the tablet and e-book market. The partnership also came off the back of years of close working relationships between the UK publisher and the U.S. based bookseller which has seen both companies invest substantially in digital learning over the past decade.

A question familiar to most is whether we will see an end to the use of traditional printed resources in the classroom. Education analysts have suggested for years that the rise in digital technology will engulf demand for printed materials yet sales for printed books have told a different story.

However with more and more EdTech partnerships forming how much longer will this be the case?

We’ve already highlighted the tech trends in education for 2013, with tablets taking centre stage but the move by Pearson suggests a digital first approach to teaching and learning could be closer than we had first anticipated.

In a recent interview with Janney Capital Markets they have commented on the partnership between Pearson, Microsoft and Barnes and nobles, calling this an “online education dream team.”

“After this investment from Pearson, it is clear that Nook Media LLC has its sight firmly set on transforming the way education is administered.”

According to Pearson’s CEO Will Etheridge, “it is another example of our strategy of making content and services broadly available to students and faculty through a wide range of distribution partners.”

Pearson’s ambition is not unexpected after figures released in the first six months of 2012 saw sales of children’s e-readers triple. Publishers and retailers have come to acknowledge the preference young people have been demonstrating. With many professionals putting it down to the advances in digital learning experiences that has meant e-books and tablets have taken off in such an explosive way in recent months.

It’s difficult to anticipate what the future will hold for traditional textbooks but with high quality e-learning resources making teaching and learning more accessible and intuitive, publishing powerhouses will be investing more and more in digital technologies in a bid to lead the market ahead of the widespread launch of fully digitalised classrooms.