Since the 1970s, the business model for textbook makers has been to sell very expensive books to students, updating them every few years with new material to keep students paying top dollar. But online textbook rental services from companies like Chegg and Amazon have made it much easier to pay much less, and as a result Pearson’s revenues have fallen from $2 billion in 2013 to $1.3 billion today, Fallon said on the latest episode of Recode Decode With Kara Swisher.
So instead of selling giant hardcover textbooks like Calculus: Early Transcendentals (list price for a new hardcover copy: $277.20), Pearson is going to start renting digital textbooks for $40 to $80, updating them over the air. Next month, it will launch the first of a new series of mobile apps called Aida — a portmanteau of AI and Ada Lovelace — that will let calculus students take a picture of their homework and, Fallon said, get step-by-step corrections.
Listen to the interview at https://www.vox.com/recode/2019/8/2/20750863/john-fallon-pearson-education-textbook-digital-aida-teachers-kara-swisher-recode-decode-podcast
#education "The $300 textbook is dead," says the CEO of textbook maker Pearson
On the latest Recode Decode, John Fallon explains why the education company is pivoting to digital textbooks.