The Answer to Escalating Textbook Prices?
● You’ve said you’re showing other publishers that this can work. Do you have more interest in licensing the service than in producing your own books?
Doran: We have a service that is called Textbook Media that includes straight licensing of the whole model that publishers can take to their sites. Down the road, that’s our end game. We knew we had to do our own publications to show that academics would use books with advertising, and that we could get advertising to come in. Eventually, the idea was to get away from that and provide a service for other publishers. We have this payload model and the freeload model. The payload model is obviously the one publishers are most interested in. That’s where the end-user pays a fee for a download. There is advertising in there. We’re playing with some systems where the publisher or the end user can calibrate how much advertising they’re willing to take. That would adjust the end-user price.
● What have other textbook publishers said about your business model?
Doran: Most of them have already contacted us. We’ve talked. We’ve made presentations. It’s a matter of how they execute the model. They’ll probably start with backlist or smaller titles …. It’ll be a walk-before-they-run scenario.
They know that their world is changing. … They’re smart and are staying ahead of the curve with pilot programs. We’ve already got four small publishers that are using us, and we’re talking to a couple of the majors right now. I suspect soon you’ll see more recognizable publishers. BB