It’s no secret that technology has impacted a number of industries – the publishing industry being one of them. However, the scale and scope of the changes, as well as the responses by various stakeholders, has not been well documented—until now.

The Australian Book Industry: Authors, publishers and readers in a time of change is a three-year research project funded by the Australian Research Council and Macquarie University. It is divided into three components and explores important questions such as:

  • How are authors responding to the changes in how they publish and promote their work?
  • How do publishers contribute economic, social and cultural value?
  • What are the practices of contemporary book readers?

Started in February 2014 and ending in early 2017, the first component, which investigates the changing profession of book authorship, is complete and results are available here.

Jacaranda’s involvement

The second phase of the project uncovered the strategies being used by Australian publishers by analysing findings from interviews with 25 senior Australian publishers of various sizes, across trade, education, scholarly and literary sectors.

Jacaranda’s own Chris Gray, General Manager – Education Australia was privileged to be included as one of the interviewees representing the education publishing sector. The discussion focused primarily on two areas—the sources of disruption in the sector and how Jacaranda (Wiley) is responding.

When asked about disruption, Chris explained that unlike trade publishing, education publishers are dealing with two distinct sources:

  1. education itself: from questioning the role and value of the traditional degree, to the gap between the digital aspirations of schools and universities and the reality
  2. the traditional publishing value chain (in education publishing): from free content to the diminishing role of the bookseller, new business models and changing usage behaviours

Chris explained that the company’s response to these disruptions has been twofold:

  1. focusing on the learner: Jacaranda believes that education publishing is about learning first and helping students achieve their potential at the highest level
  2. innovating across multiple dimensions: Already Jacaranda innovates in many different areas, such as:
    1. product innovation – from the 2008 launch of JacarandaPLUS online portal to the recent launch of the new learnON platform
    2. business model innovation – the introduction of bundle solutions for Years 7-10, which offer incredible value for money
    3. customer experience innovation – the development of a dedicated team to help schools progress their digital learning journey, from pre-sales through to ongoing training and support

To read the full report, click here. The profile on Jacaranda starts on page 264.

What are your thoughts? How have the changes in publishing affected your classroom? Let us know in the comments below.