Cover Story: Embracing a Different Publishing World
Insights from … Ron Mobed
President, Academic & Professional Group, Cengage Learning, Stamford, Conn., Cengage.com
Cengage Learning is a provider of teaching, learning and research solutions for the academic, professional and library markets worldwide. Its brands include Heinle, Gale, Wadsworth, Delmar, Brooks/Cole and South-Western, among others.
NS: Has the internal structure or culture of your company changed to adapt to a shifting marketplace?
Ron Mobed: … We think that the education world is changing very much for the better as people start to think more about the best way … we can help teachers to teach and students to learn. … That's the goal of Cengage. … And so, … we've been introducing new products, new business models that help to add value and serve our customers better. And there are examples of that, whether they're … business model examples or … new books in new formats at lower price points that allow people to buy chapters from books … or rent books—we've added services around them. …
NS: What percentage of your total revenue is generated from print books?
Mobed: … The majority of the current revenue stream continues to be from print. The real story behind that is the acceleration of the digital or hybrid delivery of material, which is increasing, I would say, for all of us, but particularly within Cengage.
NS: What about e-books?
Mobed: Electronic books are clearly a part of it, but … we don't really see the story being only about digital; it's about what you do with the digital. … We've been using technology as a digital platform to do things like interactivity. We're doing a lot more in the assessment world, helping people to try to understand [a piece of curriculum material], and then check through an immediate assessment as to whether they have absorbed [it]—and if they haven't, very quickly get feedback on that. … We're moving down that track very, very significantly.