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Digital Textbooks in Higher-Ed

Twenty-Five Percent of Annual Textbook Sales Revenue to Be Digital By 2015

COLUMBIA, Mo., March 16, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — According to a new study by Xplana, textbook publishing in the Higher Education market is fast approaching the digital tipping point. By 2015, annual revenues from digital textbooks will represent 25 percent of the new textbook market and will reach approximately $1.5 billion in sales revenue.

The study, “Digital Textbook Reaching the Tipping Point in U.S. Higher Education – A Revised Five-Year Forecast,” projects annual sales growth and market trends for digital textbooks over the next five to seven years. It is based on private surveys conducted by Xplana and its parent company, MBS Direct, as well as other industry and market research.

Building on research first published in 2010, the report addresses the accelerated growth of the digital textbook market and the trends driving that growth. Key factors influencing the eventual dominance of digital textbooks over their print counterparts include: rising textbook prices, the popularity of tablets and smart phones, the increased availability of free and open Web resources, and new competition in the market from digital-first publishers.

“Everyone wants to know when the digital textbook market for Higher Education will hit the ‘tipping point,'” says lead author Rob Reynolds, Director of Product Design and Research for Xplana. “Our research shows that, in terms of reaching that point where the dominance of digital over print will occur within five to seven years, we have likely already arrived. Our revised estimates show that digital textbook sales should match print sales by 2017.”

According to Reynolds, reaching this “tipping point” is already forcing publishers to rethink both their product design and business strategies. To remain successful, publishers will need to alter all aspects of textbook functionality, including the design of both functionality and content.

The full report can be downloaded from the Xplana research blog, The Xplanation, at

Download the free report here (registration required)


1 in 4 College Textbooks Will Be Digital By 2015

25% of textbook annual revenue to be from digital by 2015

Posted on: March 23, 2011, 8:47 am Category: Uncategorized

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  1. Colleges will be the first to adopt digital textbooks with the entire educational ecosystem to follow. A new textbook model will evolve at the same time allowing social interaction/communication with teachers and fellow students. A rich archive of interactive data will will enhance the learning experience.