Educational publisher makes the switch to ‘digital first’

Pearson has begun a new ‘digital first’ initiative for its textbooks, marking a departure from the traditional print publishing model.

The US educational publisher will begin phasing out its physical textbooks in favour of keeping the digital editions up-to-date. Previously the company were updating printed books every three years, but with more students opting to purchase or rent secondhand textbooks, it has decided to adapt its strategy.

According to the Bookseller, Pearson has stated that “its 1,500 US titles would now be updated with a ‘digital first’ policy, updated on an ongoing basis driven by developments in the field, new technology and data analytics”.

Pearson will undoubtedly not be alone in making this switch. While many people value the printed form over the digital for non-fiction, besides the obvious portability of e-readers in general – your whole library in one small device – there are many advantages to the digital format, including:

  • the e-reader’s native search function
  • bidirectional hyperlinking of footnotes, endnotes and indices
  • zoom function on images, maps and diagrams

At Siliconchips, we have been making high-quality educational and Trade non-fiction titles with these features for years and we still see great potential for improvements as the capabilities of HTML and CSS – and e-readers themselves – develop and expand.

Tablets are far ahead of the curve compared to e-ink devices, but as more e-inks are offering reliable multimedia functionalities such as audio and video, the opportunities for the makers of educational courseware to enrich their material – and for that material to work whether on full-colour tablet or black and white e-ink – becomes almost boundless.

Photo by Lucas França from Pexels