Textbook Distribution Turned Upside Down
So much for the prediction that campus bookstores will be driving book sales for the next 5 to 10 years. The book business has just turned upside down. Borders closing confirms the end of the traditional bookstore existing on book sales revenue. Blackboard partnering with all major textbook publishers and then McGraw Hill creating MH Campus capable of distributing MH content via all of the major LMS options confirms that our Learning Management Systems will be the emerging strategy for textbook distribution. And Amazon not to be left, out announced greater flexibility for textbook rental via their Kindle. So where do our college bookstores fit in? They become convenience stores and focus on selling our branded merchandise.
You had to know this was going to happen but many will still say that it will drag out for years. Didn’t work out that way for Borders, Nebraska Book sure can’t have new prospects for improving the bottom line to pull out of chapter 11. No, the publishers have been working on this for a while now and they will be just fine. I doubt that we will see prices going down except from Amazon. The publishers just needed a distribution engine that allowed them to maintain control of the process. We will finally see real E-Textbooks and new flexible digital learning objects. Should be another interesting year.