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Pearson to phase out print titles in ‘digital first’ focus

Education publisher Pearson will turn away from print titles as it continues its digital focus, in a move that it says will give students access to more “affordable, convenient and personalised” material.

Students can expect to pay an average price of $40 for an eBook as Pearson announced it would phase out print books. Photo: pxhere

Pearson will also release an AI enabled calculus tutor app in 2019

The company’s future releases will be “digital first”, meeting demands from a customer base that is growing used to apps, professional software or gaming industry products.

“Our digital first model lowers prices for students”

Pearson’s 1500 active US titles will be updated continuously.

“Students are demanding easier to access and more affordable higher education materials, with nearly 90% of learners using some kind of digital education tool,” said John Fallon, CEO of Pearson.

“We’ve changed our business model to deliver affordable, convenient and personalised digital materials to students. Our digital-first model lowers prices for students and, over time, increases our revenues.”

Students can expect to pay an average price of US$40 for an eBook and $79 for a full suite of digital learning tools. Printed textbooks will be available to rent from Pearson for an average price of $60.

“By providing better value to students, they have less reason to turn to the secondary market. This will create a more predictable, visible revenue stream with a better quality of earnings that enables us to serve the needs of learners and customers more effectively.”

The education publishing giant announced the sale of its US K-12 courseware business for $250 million in February, as it said it would shift its focus from textbooks to digital.

Pearson will also release an AI-enabled calculus tutor app, Aida, to help students learn with step-by-step feedback later in 2019.

Rob Orr, executive director of Virgin Media Business said Pearson’s announcement marked an important milestone and is part of a wider trend seeing technology “fundamentally changing the classroom”.

“But these innovations should remind us of our responsibility to ensure that every pupil gains from the classroom revolution.

“There is a risk that only the wealthiest schools will be able to transform learning experiences, with pupils in disadvantaged areas being left behind,” he said.

“There’s also a danger that schools and governing bodies will get carried away with emerging technologies and forget about nailing the foundations—which could have a detrimental impact on the learning experience.”

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