Thursday, December 9, 2010

Digital Textbook Sales in U.S. Higher Education — A Five-Year Projection

Over the next five years, digital textbook sales in the United States will surpass 18% of combined new textbook sales for the Higher Education and Career Education markets. This increase will boost revenues for digital textbooks to more than $1 billion and necessitate a general overhaul of traditional textbook production processes. The growth will also create avenues for new content publishers to enter the textbook market, lead to fundamental shifts in purchasing patterns around learning materials, and expedite the formal adoption of open educational resources to augment premium digital content.

Our five-year projections assume a current market share of 0.5% for digital textbooks in the U.S., and an average yearly increase in sales growth of approximately 200%-150% over the next five years. We project that growth to taper to approximately 50%-30% annual growth for the ensuing five years (2015-2019).

Five-Year Sales Projections

Within the general publishing and education markets, the growth of digital textbook sales will be influenced by the following factors:
  • Digital textbook and e-content pricing
  • Availability of digital textbook content
  • Advances in technology related specifically to digital textbooks
  • Intensified focus on integration of textbook/instruction with student outcomes
  • Increased growth of online learning
  • Rise in open educational resources and their use
In addition, the increase in e-textbook sales will be driven by a series of hardware and technology trends. These include:
  • Success of the iPad and the tablet form factor in general
  • Increased sales of netbooks and the success of Chrome OS for netbooks
  • Proliferation and continued popularity of e-reader devices and e-reader platforms
  • Growth of the smartphone market
Finally, the rise of e-textbook sales will be greatly influenced by consumer and broader media trends that favor the licensing or access of content as opposed to its outright purchase.




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