COVID-19 has unleashed various unprecedented events affecting almost every industry, and educational publishing is no exception to this.
While a significant part of the educational publishing industry is still struggling between print and digital distribution, serving economically fragile markets, and confronting business model disruptions from open educational resources, the pandemic has also accelerated some positive trends in educational publishing. For instance, McGraw Hill- one of the well-known educational publishers reported double-digit increases in their overall digital billings in its fiscal Q2 2021 quarter.
Also Read: The Role of Technology in Digital Publishing
One of the critical changes witnessed in educational publishing is that several traditional publishing houses are now adopting digital publishing. As schools and colleges have moved to online learning, this has resulted in the rapid growth of the digital publishing market globally.
Top post-COVID trends that the educational publishing industry will witness and implement now -
1. Digital learning is going to be the future
From K-12 to higher education, the digital learning landscape has seen a monumental evolution from the time pandemic began. While most students and teachers are eagerly waiting to get back into the classrooms once the situation stabilizes, the impact that technology had on education systems and curricula together during this period is likely to stay here in some form in the future as well.
Even when the much-awaited move of going back full-time to in-person learning happens, the classrooms will probably continue to use the various tools at their disposal in blended learning and flipped classroom environments, enabling them to get the best of both worlds.
To navigate this accelerated digital trajectory brought by the pandemic, educational publishers, especially in the higher-ed market, need to shift away from sales of textbook titles toward all-inclusive cloud-based services and subscription content bundles.
2. Increased use of course authoring tools
With the rapid digitization of educational publishing, an increasing number of publishers will be required to use course authoring tools. The key benefit of these tools is that they allow for the addition of interactive and multimedia elements to the learning material with relative ease.
Apart from this, they also help significantly cut down the time, effort, and cost of producing learning materials.
3. Personalized learning
Publishers today realize that with standardized learning, there are high chances of students falling behind or feeling that the lesson is moving too slowly.
In the post-COVID world, the focus on using technology to offer personalized and self-paced learning is expected to increase significantly. This will allow students to review a lesson as many times as they need to, on a device of their preference, without necessarily feeling judged or pressured to keep pace with their peers.
Further, the learning path is also different for each student based on their learning styles and preferences. This will require publishers to allow students to choose their own resources and create personalized learning materials.
4. Rapid increase of smartphones – An important factor for market growth
One of the key factors driving the robust growth of the online educational publishing market is the fast and rapid penetration of smartphone devices globally. The preferred reading medium of users is gradually changing from conventional print formats to digital formats accessed through smartphones.
This will enable an increasing number of leading educational content publishers to deliver a wide variety of digital content through internet-enabled smartphone devices.
Since countries worldwide are taking several steps to allow greater use of digital technology in the education sector, it is expected that the growth of the digital education publishing market further rises.
5. Rise in rental eBooks
Another trend that will be prevalent in the post-COVID world is the rapid rise in the rental market, which is expected to be dominated by eBooks. A report by Technavio also suggests that the e-textbook rental market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 22% between 2020 and 2024. The market is, in fact, all set to increase by a value of a whopping $295 million by the year 2024.
Even when the effects of the pandemic subside in the near future, the digital shift that has already taken place is expected to stay for long. This will require educational publishers to explore powerful digital platforms that can help them ease their operations and remain relevant in this fiercely competitive market.
6. Interactive material
As there will be a significant rise in the use of digital technologies in the post-COVID era, providing interactive books would become much easier for publishers. This is simply because interactive eBooks are simpler to make as compared to traditional print books. Further, these interactive eBooks are much easier to update, too, as digital publishing cuts the various costs related to printing, designing, warehousing, and distribution. This is expected to substantially boost the growth of interactive books in the coming years.
A recent report also suggests that the overall interactive books market is expected to reach a value of $2.3 billion, growing at a CAGR of 16.5 % by 2027. Educational publishers, particularly in the higher-ed market, have already started a transformational shift away from sales of textbook titles toward cloud-based services for better reach and accessibility.
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Since the global pandemic struck, most of the academic publishers have found themselves in the eye of the storm. While the industry was quick to adapt in general, with an increasing number of publishers fast-tracking the publishing of new, important studies, data and making crucial research freely available, it will be interesting to explore the kind of long-term impact this trend will have on the academic publishing industry as a whole.
However, to effectively navigate the changing times, the industry must implement the trends discussed in this blog and expedite the academic community’s move towards open access models for urgent articles. On the other hand, the industry should also increase the overall demand for accelerated yet strict methods to the peer review processes, which have negatively impacted the speed to publication to date.
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