The Future of E-Textbooks and Digital Education

Gutenberg Technology, a French company, has launched a new piece of software that promises to help publishers accelerate their e-textbook creation process. It’s expensive to use (read more about the costs) but allows publishers to create hundreds of e-textbooks a month for multiple platforms and update them easily and remotely. (Read more about the details here.)

The problem is, students don’t like e-textbooks yet. In several states, schools have engaged in pilots and surveyed students about how they liked the less expensive, lighter product. The results haven’t been encouraging for the publishing industry.

Still, the industry presses ahead. Major educational publishers like Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Macmillan are gearing up for the coming changes. Outside investors are spending big bucks trying to get into this market.

How much will publishers spend, though, to create the products students don’t yet want but will someday?

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The rest of the day’s top news:

Apollo’s Plan for McGraw-Hill Education (DBW)
The plan is simple: Ride the wave of growth in education technology. That’s it. (Knowing the private-equity world, it could also involve some “synergies” – read: layoffs.)

Rationalizing Random Penguin (The Shatzkin Files)
Publishing consultant and Digital Book World partner Mike Shatzkin points out an interesting way in which the combined Random House-Penguin can use its size to its advantage in the future: build its own bookselling locations. For more incredible insights into the future of publishing, come to Digital Book World 2013, a co-production of F+W Media and Mike Shatzkin’s Publisher’s Launch.

Amazon’s UK Sales (Pub Lunch)
Amazon had nearly £3 billion in sales in the UK in 2011. No word on how much of that is books. No idea how much of that will be ebooks in 2012 and beyond. Ramps-up Ebook Publishing (DBW)
One of the world’s largest men’s lifestyle sites is going to ramp up its ebook publishing program, working with more original content and more titles – 20 next year, up from about half-a-dozen this year.

The Future of Publishing? (Twitter)
Is the future of publishing a room full of marketers working late on “Cyber Monday” getting the word out about ebook sales? At least there’s wine and cheese.

Kobo Touches Down in Brazil (Kobo)
Kobo Touch devices are now on sale at Livraria Cultura, Brazil’s largest bookstore chain. The company has plans to undercut Amazon’s prices in the country.

Indie Bookstores Not Dead (NPR)
The holiday shopping season can be a time of hope for indie bookstores – especially when the President pays a visit.

Ebooks Crucial to Documenting Culture (The National)
In the United Arab Emirates, ebooks might be crucial to documenting the country’s culture and history. “Non-material heritage is very difficult to publish using paper,” said Dr Yahia Mohammed, a professor of History and Archaeology at UAE University.

Brand Extension (DBW)
No brand in the literary world has seen quite the number of extensions as Fifty Shades of Grey. The latest? Fifty Shades of Grey the game.

What You Missed (AppNewser)
Here are some of the best Cyber Monday deals from publishers and ebook sellers.



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