Another book domain in transition
If this is, indeed, the future of textbook publishing, a key question remains unanswered: Is it economically sustainable? Almost every industry -- from travel agencies to newspapers -- that has moved to a digital model has seen its profits decimated and some existing participants bankrupted. Textbook "publishers are aware that their current model is doomed," says Peter S. Fader, co-director of the Wharton Interactive Media Initiative (WIMI). Adds WIMI co-director Eric Bradlow: "It's not just that the bound-dead-tree is a dead model. [It’s that publishers] will have less monopoly power." Assuming the cost of production goes down, "market forces suggest prices would come down" as well.