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Educational Publishers Push for Digital Content

Nov 5, 2008 12:00 PM, By Linda Seid Frembes


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Merriman says the ability to effectively reuse content via technology is a major paradigm shift for the education industry. “A high level portability means a wider variety of products such as e-books, online content, and online assessment tools,” he says.

By most accounts, the digital content push is well underway. According to Follett Digital Resources, the company's eBooks distribution solution allows its clients to reach more than 60,000 users. The eBook solution is touted as providing the right infrastructure, digital rights management and integration, the right business model, and support for that business model. The company’s approach is that, although distributing e-books is not the same as distributing regular books, it should be as easy as distributing a traditional book.

This, of course, puts pressure on publishers for easy-to-use content, as well as on the AV community to design classroom systems that greatly enhance the available content. According to Merriman, AV integrators may have to come up with new equipment and products to sell that can deliver the new portable and reusable content. He says that publishers will continue to become more audio and video savvy with their content, but it all has to tie back to instruction.

The end user may interface with the digital content across various platforms such as podcasts, videos, slide presentations, or animations and graphics. “Publishers are sensitive to the amount of classroom time that is needed to deploy digital content,” Merriman says. “The adoption of content depends on the installed base of technology to become ubiquitous.”

Certain studies suggest that e-books are still a small percentage of overall textbooks sales, but the numbers are rising. The shift to digital means less print plate and binding costs for the publisher, which is attractive cost cutting given the challenging business climate.

Follett Digital Resources has seen growth for its eBook solution in the library market since it cuts down on the problem of replacing a physical inventory. The company also recently announced the addition of four publishers to eBook distribution agreements, bringing a total of 46,900 K-12 and public library titles available through its commerce sites Titlewave and Titletales.





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