Recently, Vearsa undertook a white paper study into the print textbook sales industry globally. Below we share some of our findings.
There are strong indicators of an inevitable decline in print textbook sales both in the US and globally. Creating growth in the digital textbook arena will be key in the future to growing sales in the rapidly changing and disrupted textbook sales sector.
According to the National Center for Education there were 20 million+ students enrolled in US Higher Ed in 2017. Their total spending is forecast at around $54.1bn, continuing growth on 2016 and 2015.
Of that $54.1bn, only $4bn belongs to the textbook and course materials market. According to the National Retail Federation, this has remained unchanged for the past 4 years. There is also a general trend away from print to digital for course materials due to price. It is clear that the path to growth lies in the digital arena.
In addition, students are increasingly purchasing their materials online. Only 34% make their purchase at college bookstores and 21% of students wait until last minute to make their purchases. What does this mean for publishers?
One of the key insights we've learned is that the later a student's purchase is made, the more critical the speed of delivery becomes. Immediate availability is the overriding decision making factor. College bookstores are in a strong position to exploit these opportunities.
While one might assume that Amazon would be the overwhelming location for late purchases of this kind, there are weaknesses in Amazon’s reach to student audiences. The largest issues are an unreliable ship time and the lack of digital inventory. Many academic publishers do not provide Kindle editions due to the challenges of formatting contents in ePub and MOBI.
A technology services partner provides Publishers and Publishing Services companies with the data and market insights required to exploit these opportunities. By keeping a close eye on sales across the marketplace, publishers can keep pace with their competitors. With real time data and knowledge of how titles are actually displayed online, Publishers can maximize specific retailers and improve sales overall.
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