Tag Archive: textbook industry news

Barnes & Noble Education and Pearson PLC Stocks Getting Crushed

The Bad News from the Textbook Market Keeps Coming

Both Barnes & Noble Education and Pearson PLC saw double-digit drops in their stock prices recently after sales failed to meet Wall Street expectations. B&N Education (NYSE: BNED) CEO Max Roberts said that the decline was related to lower enrollment at colleges and a “softer retail environment.”

Taking a hit far worse than B&N Education, Pearson PLC (NYSE: PSO) lost 29% of its value in one day in mid-January after dramatically lowering revenue-and-profit expectations for 2017. How bad has it gotten for Pearson? Well, the folks at The Motley Fool writePearson stock is now down 66% over the past three years, and the market is showing no confidence that the company will turn itself around anytime soon” and Bloomberg’s “Pearson Forecasts Years of Textbook Gloom; to Sell Penguin” is in no way reassuring.

The Elephant in the Room

B&N Education and Pearson are really proxies for the whole textbook industry. The underlying causes of the industry malaise are rooted in two powerful trends: demographics and technology. After reaching a peak of 17.3 million students in 2010, college enrollment decreased 4% between 2010 and 2014 to 16.6 million in 2014 (according to the National Center of Education Statistics). This falling college enrollment is unprecedented, and obviously fewer students equals fewer textbook sales. Technical trends, including new business models (rentals), online sales, and digital books, further undermine the old model of new textbook sales to students through brick-and mortar-campus bookstores.

While the publishers try new tactics such as access codes and custom publishing in order to revive sales of new textbooks and shrink the used-textbook marketplace, the fact of the matter is these types of tactics only serve to alienate their customer base. Students are not stupid; they realize that algebra doesn’t change that much from year to year, so why should the textbook? The publishers would be well advised to create value-added services or pass on savings for students instead of thinking up new ways to milk students for their last dollar by inflating book prices.

The textbook industry is in the midst of some serious disruption. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out.

Guru Roundup: Special eTextbooks Rentals Edition

Business Wire: CampusBooks Finds Just 18% of Textbooks Available on Amazon’s Kindle Rental

“CampusBooks.com compared pricing data for the top 100 college textbooks against Amazon’s new Kindle Rental service, and found that Kindle Rental often has the best prices, but only 18% of the titles. Renting a Kindle book for the advertised 30-day period yielded the highest savings, often in the double-digits over traditional rental, used and new textbooks, but only five of 100 titles were available for the month-long range. The other 13 titles available had minimum periods of 60 days, and the savings were less. However, if students were to rent via Kindle for a whole semester (120 days), only half of the time was Kindle Rental cheaper than buying and selling a used book . . . ” (more…)

Guru Roundup: Bringing You the Industry’s Need-to-Know News

Business and Industry News and Findings

First, the biggie that’s on everyone’s mind:

New York Times DealBook Blog: Calling Off Auction, Borders to Liquidate

“The Borders Group said Monday that it would liquidate, shutting down the 40-year-old bookseller after it failed to find a last-minute savior. Though it is not a big surprise, the move will still strip the publishing industry of shelf space that is becoming increasingly scarce as brick-and-mortar stores continue to founder. Borders said it would proceed with a proposal by the private equity firms Hilco and the Gordon Brothers Group to close down its 399 remaining stores. That liquidation plan will be presented on Thursday to the federal judge overseeing the company’s bankruptcy case. The company will begin closing its remaining stores as soon as Friday, and the liquidation is expected to run through September. The chain has 10,700 employees…”

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Guru Roundup: Bringing You the Industry’s Need-to-Know News (Tech-Talk Edition)

Content and Publishing

PR Newswire: AcademicPub™ Signs Leading Publishers and Sets Key Distribution Partnerships

“AcademicPub, the higher education unit of SharedBook Inc., made a three-part announcement underscoring rapid adoption of the service since its April 2011 launch. According to Caroline Vanderlip, CEO, SharedBook Inc., entered into two new publishing relationships, including one with industry-leader Springer Science + Business Media, and two new distribution partnerships. These innovations will ease the ability of educators to create content and obtain AcademicPub products. Additionally, a new academic advisory board has been created to help guide the unit through an accelerating period of customer growth. ‘We are moving on multiple fronts, a necessity in a higher-ed market as dynamic as this one,’ said Vanderlip . . .”

Campus Technology: Open Textbook Groups Join Forces

“The colleges in 15 states and one Canadian province that make up the Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources (CCCOER) will now be able to tap into the collection of open textbook resources compiled by the international group of institutions that make up the OpenCourseWare Consortium (OCW Consortium) and vice versa in a new partnership. The community college consortium, which represents 200 schools, has become an associate consortia member of OCW Consortium, and its advisory board will effectively act as a voice for the two-year colleges within the global consortium’s organization . .

Digital Devices

Campus Technology: Is the iPad Ready To Replace the Printed Textbook?

“After trying out the Apple iPad for a short period–about three weeks — three out of four college freshmen said they’d be willing to purchase an Apple iPad personally if at least half of the textbooks they used during their college career were available digitally, according to the results of a classroom poll at Abilene Christian University. According to Scott Perkins, coordinator of mobile learning research in the Adams Center for Teaching and Learning at the Texas university, a similar willingness to purchase the devices was borne out among participants in semester-long pilots, which included both graduate and undergraduate students . . .”

Guru Roundup: Bringing You the Industry’s Need-to-Know News

This installment of the roundup contains some big news, so let’s start there and focus this post on business, corporate, and industry doings. I hope everyone has a safe and fun holiday weekend!The big news:

Publishers Weekly: Nebraska Book Co. Files for Chapter 11

“NBC Acquisition Corp., parent company of Nebraska Book Company, the country’s third largest operator of college bookstores as well as a major wholesaler of college texts, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Monday morning in what it says is part of a plan to recapitalize its debt. According to its filing, the December 31 maturity of a $200 million loan has raised concerns among some publishers about NBC’s ability to finance its back to school textbook and merchandise purchases, and the company was unable to reach a refinancing agreement with all of its lenders without filing for Chapter 11…” (more…)