The Great Unbundling of Textbook Publishers

Michael Feldstein, e-Literate, Oct 25, 2016
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Th unbundling of the university is more story than fact, writes Michael Feldstein, but the unbundling of publishing is imminent. This tipping point may be open educational resources (OER), which are making textbook publishing unprofitable. He writes, "The real money will be in a few areas:

  • High-end digital products that directly or indirectly improve student outcomes
  • Related services that help colleges improve student outcomes
  • Services that help colleges improve the unsexy but critical aspects staying viable, from marketing to administration
  • Loans to schools looking to make changes that will (theoretically) make them more sustainable in the long run but require significant up-front investment—preferably in the products and services of the company offering the loan."

Will these separate services be offered under a single brand, or are we seeing the beginning of a marketplace with multiple players? As usual, the answer is "yes".

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