Here are some recent statistics that came out the Book Study Industry Group (BISG) Making Information Pay in Higher Education conference last week.
Overall, the higher education textbook market saw a decrease of 2.5%, the first decline in six years. It was noted that the recent numbers did not capture some of the e-commerce companies.
Kelly Gallagher from Bowker reported that about 5% to 7% of the e-textbook market is digital, versus the 15% to 20% that many major trade publishers reported. Gary
Shapiro from Follet Higher Education Group reported thatsales of e-books are less than 5% of its revenue but this is misleading because it does not account for digital sold in a bundle which makes up 25% of its textbook revenue. Follett also saw growth in interactive digital textbook at around 5% and expects that segment to grow the most in the future. Cafescribe, Follett’s online textbook business estimated to be at $400 million is the 56th largest e-commerce in the U.S.
Kent Freeman from VitalSource Technologies, Inc. reported on data they collected which found that e-textbooks are available for a course 23% of the time, 53% sometimes, 9% rarely, and not available 14% of the time.
Some of the stats reported here and others presented at the meeting reinforce that the availability and impact of digital is growing. It also points to "PDF equivalents" being less attractive and that the future will be more the "native digital" -- course materials that are part of an integrated learning solution with interactive components that enhance student learning skills or outcomes. The true volume of digital being sold, often as part of a package, suggests growing penetration of technology-based course materials solutions.