Captive Audience, Required Purchase: Surprised Professional Publishers Are Hiking Prices?

September 16, 2022

Before college textbooks are an annoyance because they are heavy and mean homework. Once college comes around, however, they are akin to the devil. Textbook publishers can charge hundreds of dollars for a single textbook, adding more fees to already astronomical education costs. One way to save money is purchasing used or digital textbooks, but that could change Bloomberg wrote in: “Pearson Says Blockchain Could Make It Money Every Time E-Books Change Hands.”

Pearson Plc. Is one of the world’s largest textbook publishers and the CEO wants to use blockchain and non-fungible tokens to make a profit off the secondary and digital market. The digital tokens would allow Pearson to track ownership of a book file, then take a cut if it is sold more than once:

“’The move to digital helps diminish the secondary market, and technology like blockchain and NFTs allows us to participate in every sale of that particular item as it goes through its life,’ by tracking the material’s unique identifier on the ledger from “owner A to owner B to owner C,’ said [Andy] Bird, a former Disney executive.’

By moving entirely to digital, Pearson would save on printing costs but would lose profits off its already sky-high books. Pearson is developing a textbook subscription service instead of individual fees for books. If the service saves students money and works similar to a digital library, then Pearson should go for it! And students, get a loan.

Whitney Grace, September 16, 2022


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