Education Publishing – A Wave of Change Sweeps Over The Industry – Part 2


[Ed] Today’s installment shows the data on Supplemental Products, Basal Textbooks, Student Devices, Delivery Platforms, and Electronic Media.

Click here to read the introduction to this series.

Click here to read Part 1 – Methodology and Reference Library Case Study

Click here to read the next and final installment – Conclusion and Recommendations

Technological Substitution in Publishing: Part 2 – Supplemental Products, Basal Textbooks, Student Devices, Delivery Platforms, and Electronic Media

Paul Schumann, Glocal Vantage, Inc.

Supplemental Products

The educational supplemental products market is fragmented and complex. However, at a very high level it is possible to discern substitutions that are occurring. Print based supplemental products are in a steady decline. Electronic media based supplemental products are steadily increasing and will reach 90% of the market in 2020.


Data: Association of American Publishers, 2004
Basal Products

It would appear that the electronic substitution for print in basal education products has begun. While the data indicates that the substitution is in the early stages, it does seem to indicate that it has begun. The data source for this is suspect as it is the results of two surveys without guarantee that the two survey populations were representative samples. Research in the field of substitution analysis generally agrees that if the substitution reaches 5%, the substitution models are accurate.


Data: Association of American Publishers, 2004
Student Devices

Student devices have changed from desk top to lap-top over the years, and are now changing again to other types of devices. This substitution is summarized in graph below.


Data: America’s Digital Schools, The Greaves Group & The Hayes Connectio, 2006
While the number of data points is small, the data fits the Fisher-Pry model well, and supports common knowledge. Desktops are in decline and laptops have reached their maximum penetration of the market. Other types of student devices are rapidly gaining share of the market. While there is data presented in America’s Digital Schools on a number of other student devices, with the limited number of data points, it was impossible to segment the other device category. However, thin client, handheld, cell phones and portable gaming devices seem to be on the decline. While, tablet PCs and student appliances are gaining market share.

Update 10/11/07 – Tom Greaves pointed out that in the student devices market we should include the $200 “laptops” that are just now coming to market from a variety of sources. Depending on whether you place them in the “Device” Category or the “Laptop” category the statements above would change.

Delivery Platforms

In “A Study of the Grade K-6 Supplementary Instructional Materials Market”, the authors use instructional time used as a measure of the penetration of various materials and technologies. This is a much better surrogate measure of the penetration of new technologies and concepts into the market as it doesn’t depend upon the cost of the technology or material. (This approach should be the basis for a thorough study of the substitutions ongoing in the education arena.) However, the data is limited. What is does show is that CDROM and the Internet are gaining share of instructional time at the expense of other media, as shown in the graph below.


Data: Study of the Grade K-6 Supplementary Instructional Materials Market, Hagen Marketing Research Inc., Lois Eskin Associates & Professional Publishing Services, 2004
Ultimately, it appears that the Internet will be the primary method for computer based instructional delivery.

Electronic Media

There are multiple substitutions occurring within the media for K-12 classroom instruction. Modular software and video are loosing market share. Comprehensive courseware is gaining market share now, but will reach its peak of market share in about 2010, and then begin to decline. Online courseware is gaining market share now and will reach a penetration of 60% by 2020.


Data: The Complete K-12 Report, Education Market Research, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002 & 2001
[Ed] Tomorrow we share Paul’s conclusions and recommendations.

Other Articles in this Series


Part 1 – Reference Libraries and Open Source

Part 2 – Supplemental materials, Basal textbooks, Student Devices (Laptops, handhelds), Delivery Platforms (CD-ROM, Internet), and Electronic Media.

Part 3 – Conclusions & Recommendations