Content in Context Conference Addresses Evolving Educational Publishing Industry
Our overall idea is to create an event that borrows from the music-festival format—big events on the main stage with smaller, special-interest offerings going on simultaneously. Two such offerings this year were the resource team and the innovation lab. The first offered attendees free, 30-minute consultations with key industry experts; the second showcased vetted, cutting-edge technologies that educational publishers should have on their radar screens. These two offerings were well-received, and I'd say both have the potential to become better and better over time.
Extra: What are the biggest challenges facing educational publishers today?
Gaynor: Clearly, the impact of technology on publishing is the single greatest challenge facing the entire publishing industry: XML-type production, online delivery, digital asset management and intellectual property protection systems. … How to incorporate these revolutionary technologies into the print publishing model is enough to keep most publishers up at night. In the education arena, it's particularly tricky because publishers must gauge the pace of change in schools and anticipate the impact on the market of educational technology itself as well as of public policy, demographics and the economy, to name just a few. Figuring out when and where to invest in change is an ongoing challenge for educational publishers.
Extra: With many universities trending to digital curriculums, how do educational publishers remain relevant?
Gaynor: It's important to clarify the term "digital publishing" when you're talking about market relevance. The fact is that the K-12 instructional materials market is still primarily a print one, and it's probable that print will remain a part of teaching and learning for a very long time. However, educational publishers need to position themselves to respond quickly to changing market demands, whatever those might be. That's why AEP's goal is to help move publishers to the capacity to deliver high-quality content in any medium or format 24/7. This is our definition of digital publishing. Achieving this outcome will keep educational publishers relevant well into the future.