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Education industry 2017-12-28

How are E-Books changing the landscape of the Indian publishing industry

With everything going digital today, it is highly recommended for businesses to take on the digital route in order to cater to their audience. Publication industry is not lagging behind. Let’s know more..

The invention of the printing press led to the rise of an entire industry dedicated to the proliferation of knowledge consumption through easy access to printed books.Today publishing continues to be an important backbone for the education sector and educational materials including text books are designed, produced and distributed by publishers to be consumed by students, teachers and enthusiasts in schools, colleges and homes. However the industry as we know it is changing under pressure from the onslaught of technology and the digital world.

Advancements in the field of digital technology and their proliferation in the field of education have over the years caused serious disruptions in educational publishing. Knowledge and information consumption has seen a gradual shift from the printed format to the e-book format accessible through a host of devices and over the internet as well. This shift gave rise to and is further hastened by a host of related service providers such as software developers, courseware designers and online revision sites etc. This shift in pattern has also allowed schools and colleges to enjoy a great deal of flexibility in imparting knowledge to meet varying learning needs of the students.

The onslaught of e-books in education publishing not only redefined content delivery, syllabus and assessment methodology, it also gave rise to new platforms and partnerships in the generation, delivery and servicing of educational contents to the consumers. The whole eco-system associated with education is also evolving to enable stakeholders like traditional publishing houses, online players, software developers, content contributors and educational institutes to jointly create additional value for the sector.

The shift towards e-book and digital also necessitates publisher to adapt to the changing environment for their own survival. Publishing houses have over the years benefitted from the business of scale. But with contents increasingly going digital, mass production of printed material is becoming unnecessary and unsustainable. With digital distribution already undercutting sale of printed materials, the traditional business model based on scale and an education sector dominated by printed materials needs to evolve with times.

The shift however comes embedded with a silver lining, by adapting existing contents and making new contents available through digital medium, publisher are in fact expanding their business into newer markets. And the diversification of distribution channels also adds a new revenue stream which can enhance profitability as well as shore up market share for the publishers.

Educational publishers are today offering their products in the e-book format along with the physical printed copy. This format is well accepted primarily in the K-12 segment, these e-books can be accessed through various mediums such as mobile phones, personal computers or a dedicated reading device for such formats. With digitization, the entire repository of accumulated knowledge lying with the publishers can now be more easily shared and updation or addition of content, if and when required, can be easily undertaken through the internet.

With digitisation, education publishing has become more engaging and informative as links to external contents, audio/visual aids or codes that when scanned using a learners phone bring the text to life, can now be embedded in the e-text books. Augmented reality or 3D models of the solar system or of the human body for instance will be more informative than mere texts and deliver a better understanding of the subject at hand. Established publishers globally are well aware of the benefits of these disruptions and are adopting these changes to continue delivering meaningful contents to their leaders.

The traditional buying and selling process, distribution channels and even stake holders and relationships in education publishing are also undergoing changes to reflect the shift to digital. In effect, e-books in particular has precipitated a significant restructuring of the entire industry and publishing houses are investing in revamping their strategies and training their skill force to operate in the changing environment. However printed books as we know it are yet to become obsolete and may not be so, atleast in the foreseeable future.

 This article has been authored by Monica Malhotra Kandhari, MD, MBD Group

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