New Textbook a Showcase for Thomson Higher Education’s New Publishing Model
In mid April, Thomson Higher Education launched a new textbook and, with it, what Thomson calls its new model for higher-education publishing. The 350-page paperback textbook, “MKTG”—which covers the core concepts of marketing—was designed to reflect students’ preferences for shorter, more easy-to-digest texts and cheaper prices, according to Thomson. It also uses lots of colorful images and text, and call-out boxes. In fact, its pages really look more like those out of a magazine than a textbook.
The book also incorporates online and cell phone quizzes, audio/MP3 downloads, printable flash cards and “Chapter in Review” summaries, in response to what Thomson says is students’ preferences for print learning paired with digital tools. The suggested retail price: $49.95.
Thomson based its new model on conversations with more than 150 students. “Traditionally, we begin with the professors and use their ideas to shape the textbook, but with ‘MKTG,’ we turned that model around and began with the students,” says Neil Marquardt, publisher of “MKTG.” “What we learned in discussions … was that some often didn’t buy textbooks, and when they did, they weren’t using them.”
Students also said that they struggled to balance life and school—90 percent of the students interviewed said they worked in part- or full-time jobs, and studied an average of 31 hours each semester. The cost of textbooks was also a major concern voiced by students.
Thomson then surveyed 75 marketing instructors to find out whether the changes they had in mind would satisfy the faculty’s needs as well. “Turns out, they were even more excited than the students,” says Marquardt.
Faculty surveyed by Thomson voiced concerns that some students don’t buy assigned texts, don’t read the assignments or aren’t engaged by the content. Price was also a concern, but faculty stressed the importance of not sacrificing resources or quality in pursuit of lower costs.