Cengage Learning emerged from bankruptcy on Tuesday, returning to the textbook market with less debt and more funding, but also with the same challenges facing the academic publishing industry.
Saddled with $5.8 billion in debt, Cengage filed for bankruptcy protection in July 2013 as part of its restructuring efforts. The publisher reached a settlement with its creditors this February, eliminating $4 billion of the debt, and secured an additional $1.75 billion in exit funding.
The days of purely teaching students through text books is something that should be found in a history book, or more likely, an online history course or app. The tried-and-true, and ancient, method of teaching through books alone has been forever changed by technology. McGraw-Hill Education has been investing a lot of time, money and research into the 21st Century classroom and is releasing new educational video games that introduce new ways for kids of all ages to learn everything from politics to Spanish.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt set a new record for trade publication sales last year, and the Boston publisher has a furry-footed friend to thank.
HMH's trade publication revenue grew by 9 percent in 2013, the company said last week, to reach an all-time high of $171 million for the year.
Today at SXSWedu in Austin, McGraw-Hill Education introduced Connect Insight, a data analytics and visualization tool that provides at-a-glance views of student performance in real time via a tablet device.
Connect Insight automates the data analysis process so that instructors can pinpoint how each student is performing individually and relative to peers, as well as gauge the effectiveness of their assignments. It also acts as an early warning system to immediately identify and help struggling students.
The e-textbook platform Vital Source on Monday acquired CourseSmart, the academic publishing industry's door to the e-textbook market. The deal could signal a change in the publishers' attitudes toward digital educational materials.
Founded in 2007, CourseSmart was a consortium of five major academic publishers -- Cengage Learning, John Wiley & Sons, Macmillan Higher Education, McGraw-Hill Education and Pearson -- forming a common front in the e-textbook market. The company now estimates it offers more than 90 percent of e-textbooks used in higher education
The founders of Inkshares don’t think the traditional publishing industry is broken, just antiquated and inefficient — and they think marrying crowdfunding and the kinds of services publishers used to offer makes for a pretty compelling service for writers and ultimately for readers as well
The new Common Core standards, which are essentially descriptions of things kids should have learned and know by various ages and grades, are now being adopted and adjusted to by elementary and secondary schools across the country. Common Core, besides providing the standards, encourages the practice of educating kids using content not created expressly for an educational purpose. In other words, teach kids with regular books, newspapers, magazines, videos; not just with books and educational materials prepared by textbook publishers.
If you attended public school in the US, you probably have memories of working your way through the colored rainbow of those SRA reading labs and math labs, big boxes of work-at-your-own-pace laminated tabbed sheets of leveled exercises. And sure, thirty years ago, that was as innovative as the typical classroom got by acknowledging that not every student will learn at the same pace as his peers, and that not all coursework has to be structured for the whole group setting.
Arguably, the largest missed opportunity for publishers in the digital revolution is in predictive analytics. Predictive analytics is an algorithm-based science of deciphering captured data to discover probable customer actions. Capturing relevant data is severely limited with printed books as compared to ebooks. Location, device, reader behavior, and demographics (attainable depending on device and app) are just some of the ebook data that can power analytics.
In the following Q&A Arora discusses predictive semantics and shares a New Year's resolution publishers might want to consider for driving digital revenue in 2014.