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Honing in on Higher Ed

Wednesday, July 31, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Maya Fakundiny

Students know all the alternatives to shelling out hundreds of dollars on college textbooks. Visit a campus library and you will often find students attempting to photocopy entire chapters of books, either borrowed from the shelves or from classmates. Sometimes professors will do the copying, sending PDFs to entire lecture halls. Maybe the full text of the book has already been stripped and posted online. Used books wind up overseas, sold and resold at deeper and deeper discounts when students have international backgrounds or embark on study abroad programs. These issues and more create the tangled landscape of the higher education market, but what is the root of the issue, and how can the industry adapt?


Some elements of the higher education problem are identified in a recent study conducted by Holon IQ, "Q2 2019 Global Education Risk Monitor." This study details the pricing, retail, and piracy challenges of the higher-education landscape. In the executive summary, the Holon IQ team notes that the findings reveal "major concerns around finding a sustainable economic model for education, securing greater equity of access, and the rising cost and consequential student debt levels around the world." Other risks cited in the study include slow adaptation to digital change. According to the Holon IQ research, educational publishers allocate "less than 3% of overall expenditure" to digital asset development. Holon IQ classifies the industry as "grossly under-digitized.


What's a publisher, manufacturer, retailer, or library to do? At BISG, we strive to provide resources that inform all sectors of the publishing business about the struggles at hand. Last month, we featured Donn Greenberg of Secured Publishing Solutions in a webinar focused on ways to reduce the impact of counterfeiting and piracy, a follow-up to a piracy presentation by Mike Shea of LSC Communications in May. We've published a series of studies on both student attitudes and faculty attitudes toward higher-education content, and we've hosted several Making Information Pay events that were focused on higher education. 


This month, BISG is organizing an informational webinar, Trends in Higher Education 2019: NACS Annual Student Watch Report on College Course Materials, featuring expert speakers Brittany Conley of the National Association of College Stores (NACS) and Jay Diskey of Diskey Public Affairs. This session will shine a spotlight on the issues the higher education market faces, driving the conversation towards what the industry can do to better support the college course material market.


Brittany Conley is the research analyst at OnCampus Research, the research division of NACS. Brittany joined NACS in 2016, and manages the "Student Watch" and "Faculty Watch" studies, as well as OnCampus Research’s student panel of more than 24,000 college students. She graduated from Kent State University with a Bachelor of Science in advertising, with minors in marketing and sociology.


Jay Diskey is principal of Diskey Public Affairs LLC, which provides communications and government relations services in the policy areas of education, publishing, and technology. Diskey previously served as executive director of the Association of American Publishers’ education division. Earlier, he held senior staff positions in the Office of the Secretary at the U.S. Department of Education and on Capitol Hill.


We hope you will join their discussion of the higher education market on August 20th at 1PM EST. Webinar sessions are always recorded and archived on our website for those who are unable to attend live. These webinars are hour-long sessions that can be easily be shared with colleagues and friends. We're looking forward to hearing your feedback on this webinar and how relevant you feel it is to the current state of the industry. Let us know what you think about the choice to hone in on higher education in the comments below.


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