During the past few years, we have seen that predictions about the digitisation of classrooms have been met, albeit slowed down in countries like Spain due to the economic crisis. This new scenario is allowing us to see at first hand which are the main needs and challenges one of the principal actors has to face: publishing houses. Many educational publishing houses find several problems when facing this situation, and they forget it is a different business model and that they need to have a global view.
They find themselves with teams without previous experience in this new scenario and that keep thinking of the paper world, both for the creation of materials and for their business and distribution model.
On the other hand, another of the main problems is that most of the traditional publishing houses are immersed in a situation where billing targets are difficult to reach, causing a rupture towards the digital world. It must be added the problems they generate upon transmitting to the market that everything digital is free or complementary. This argument prevents reaching business figures similar or higher to the ones obtained with paper.
Although the number of digital texts has multiplied by 30, the turnover only reaches 2.7% of textbooks edited on paper. However, it is the digital publishing area which grows the most, as it went from representing 10.8% of all the sales of digital books in 2010 to 29.3% in 2012. (source: ANELE)
It is time for them to re-educate their clients and to provide them value materials which justify obtaining the appropriate profit margins.
Because it seems to be the same, but it is not. Tackling the digitisation of a publishing house means changing the business model and, in most cases, it should also involve a reflection of their main managers to define the DIGITAL MODEL. We usually insist that we need to stop and define where we want to go and how we are going to achieve it. Digitising a publishing house is not transferring texts to zeros and ones, but it involves more profound changes which go from the content methodological base to the way of creating, distributing and marketing them. The mistake is to think that it is just an extension of what we have. If you do that, you will fail or you will see how a more agile publishing house will surpass you with high value solutions which will take advantage of the digital environment.