Could negative enrollment trends spell trouble for textbook publishers?
- Barron's reports that a once-solid investment area, textbook publishing, could be slipping in the next three to five years amid concerns about enrollment and the purchasing habits of college students.
- Total enrollment in U.S. colleges and universities has fallen by more than 1% over the last year, a decline experts believe will grow to about 3% as fewer students invest more money in used books and digital materials.
- Stock prices for Pearson dropped by nearly 30% this week, and Barnes and Noble Education plummeted by 5% over the same period.
Students and faculty are almost unanimous in their agreement that more digital materials cost less and make classes easier to navigate. What is most surprising is that educational publishers seems to have been slow in recognizing this trend, and haven't responded with efforts to manufacture digital versions of high-cost textbooks.
Colleges should recognize this trend and consider investing in digitizing library resources to provide students greater access to research materials and texts. The campus of the future will be all about convenience, time saving, and cost reduction in the effort to draw more students from a shrinking talent pool.