Predicting the Future of Education Publishing
Book Business interviewed several leaders in the publishing industry to discover what new trends will disrupt publishing in 2015. We featured those interviews in our December issue. Here we want to share the full interviews, which offer valuable insight on the future of the book business.
Following Sesha Bolisetty, VP of content management at John Wiley & Sons, shares his insights on the year to come in publishing.
Looking into your crystal ball, what "big picture" trends do you think will disrupt the book industry in coming years?
The answer might be different in various segments of the book industry but speaking from the educational publishing market perspective, the traditional model of a book being a collection of topics, chapters, and learning objectives is changing rapidly. Historically, textbooks were 700- or 800-page reading materials optimized for print formats. Going forward I believe textbooks will be defined as the primary organizing structure of learning materials delivered mostly through digital channels. We are moving toward creating personal learning experiences with emphasis on community and social learning.
What technology are you most excited about that is affecting or will affect the publishing industry?
Both adaptive and mobile technologies are driving rapid changes in the publishing industry. While publishers still need to work to better optimize content across various mobile devices, they have made significant progress in this direction. Crowdsourcing and collaborative authoring by various contributors located across the globe could become the mainstream way to author future educational content. I'm excited about the platforms and technologies that facilitate these new ways of developing great content and delivering it to our customers.
Is D2C book selling a viable revenue-generating strategy for publishers?
D2C in the education publishing world translates to D2S (Direct to Student). I believe this channel will become much more prominent for publishers to articulate the value proposition around the content and distribution technology they are building. It is very important for the end users of our content and solutions to have a solid understanding of what we do and how we are making a difference in solving their challenges. Within Wiley, we already have a solid D2S sales channel on Wiley.com but equally critical are the numerous partnerships we have with third party distributors. I believe both the approaches are equally critical. With D2S, one of the key objectives for us is to increase student awareness of our products and services, which they use on a day-to-day basis
In what segment of the book industry do you think we will see the greatest disruption in the coming years?
I believe all book segments will continue to see interesting changes in how the content is developed, produced, and distributed to the end users. My personal view is that these changes will be more profound in the nonfiction segment. Within the education space, it is very hard to find standalone textbooks anymore and most of them are either customized or bundled with platform-based products like Wiley Plus. My daughter is a freshman this year and when I paid a visit to the campus bookstore, almost all of her books are bundled with digital components. Ultimately, that is where the students get the best value where they can take advantage of powerful interactive online content while still having the comfort of reading from printed books. At least in my daughter's case, the winners were print and digital bundles which she uses in all of her classes.
Where do you see the biggest revenue-generating opportunities for book publishers in the future?
Publishers need to think beyond content only and move rapidly to providing solutions to their customers. I feel the biggest opportunities are in the area of solutions and services including areas such as career placement, improve student readiness, retention, improve graduation rates, and certification and on the job training.
Are you optimistic about the future of the book industry?
Speaking from my educational publishing experiences, I'm very excited and optimistic about our transformation from a content provider to education solutions provider. The shape of the book as we know it currently will change but the need for great content and technology is not changing. As long as publishers and authors continue to work hard in providing market leading and relevant content/solutions, the book industry will continue to be a great source of content for consumers.