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The future for textbooks

New sales models and the changing digital content have shown this sector to be rigid and outdated

Despite the clear protection afforded to  publishers of textbooks under Spain’s education policy, textbooks face a changing future. Factors such as the price of books, publishers’ falling profits, changing distribution networks, new sales models and the changing digital content have shown this sector to be rigid, outdated and a real obstacle to the further development of education in our country.

Rob Reynolds, an expert in digital education content, including his experience as Language and Literature teacher, details the change in teaching in his book “Next is now”, 2012. Reynolds highlights the barriers which we have pointed out and moreover, focuses on the evolution of learning and new ways of transmitting content, all these factors which mean educational content has gone from being a product to becoming a service.

According to statistical data on the market for textbooks in the USA, Reynolds predicts three different changes in behaviour to bear in mind from now:

-Students will spend less on digital textbooks , and at the same time the quality of self-correcting  material will increase in the educational content market.

-Subscription services will make the assimilation and updating of content easier as a new business model. Because of this, teaching institutions will be those that produce and edit most content.

The commitment and the interest of students can be analysed by their  level of activity and use of digital educational material.

In conclusion, textbooks as we know them today will start disappearing, as more adequate forms for the new digital context appear. Moreover online learning will  become 50% of all forms of higher education .

Source: “Next is now” ed. 2012, Rob Reynolds

More information and statistical surveys in

Leer en español, El futuro de los libros de texto por Àngels Gallardo

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