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教育出版社尝试数字化转型
Educational publishers experiment with ebooks and rentals

来源:FT中文网    2018-01-09 07:05



        Textbook publishers are in crisis: their products are too expensive. University students, facing rising tuition fees and mounting debt, have been turning to pirated or used books, or are skipping buying course materials altogether.        教材出版社陷入了危机:它们的产品太贵了。面临学费节节上涨、负债越来越重的大学生们开始买盗版或二手教材,甚至干脆不买教材了。
        The industry has scrambled to adapt by producing cheaper ebooks and offering rentals for individual texts. One publisher is even betting that a Netflix-style subscription model can increase revenues, while meeting demand for lower prices.        这个行业在加快脚步应对——推出价格较低的电子书或针对单本教材提供借阅服务。有一家出版社甚至在押注于Netflix式的订阅模式能提升收入,同时满足学生对低价的需求。
        Cengage Learning, one of the world’s biggest educational publishers, will launch a subscription service for US students next year that includes unlimited access to digital materials for $119.99 a semester.        世界最大教育出版社之一圣智学习(Cengage Learning)明年将面向美国学生推出电子书无限借阅服务,一学期只需119.99美元。
        “This is a model that breaks with 100 years of tradition,” said Michael Hansen, Cengage chief executive. “We are saying we don’t want to sell the students any units. We want to sell them one subscription that at a compelling price point offers access to our entire library.”        “这是一种改变了上百年传统的模式。”圣智学习的首席执行官迈克尔•汉森(Michael Hansen)说,“我们现在说的是,我们不想向学生们出售任何物件。我们想向他们出售一份价格优惠的订阅服务,让他们能够借阅我们库中的所有图书。”
        The publisher says the move is a response to financial pressures on US students, who spent an average of $579 on course materials in the 2016-17 academic year, according to the National Association of College Stores.        圣智学习说,推出这一举措是有感于美国学生面临的财务压力——据全美大学书店协会(National Association of College Stores)的数据,2016-17学年,美国学生花在课堂资料上的钱平均为579美元。
        Cengage intends to shift 90 per cent of its US higher education sales volumes from print to digital formats by 2020. The publisher posted a 10 per cent drop in revenue in its most recent fiscal year, dragged down by weak higher education print sales. The hope is that subscription volumes will offset the price gap between print and digital.        圣智学习的计划是,到2020年,将其美国高等教育图书销售量的90%从纸质版转为电子版。受高等教育纸质图书销量疲弱影响,该出版社最近一个财年的营收下降了10%。它寄望于订阅量将足以抵消纸质版和电子版图书的价格差距。
        Cengage’s peers — including Pearson, the former owner of the Financial Times — have experimented with subscription models for individual texts but not a full library. But there is competition. UK start-up Perlego sells subscription packages to materials from publishers including Pearson, Bloomsbury and Oxford University Press. Rental specialist Bookbyte built its business around a service that aims to prevent course materials from turning into expensive clutter.        其他教育出版社(包括英国《金融时报》的前东家培生(Pearson))尝试过单本教材的借阅模式,但没有尝试过将整个图书库开放借阅。但竞争已经出现。英国初创企业Perlego提供的套餐订阅服务,让订阅者可以借阅来自各家出版社的图书,包括培生、Bloomsbury和牛津大学出版社(Oxford University Press)。专营图书租赁的Bookbyte提供的核心服务的宗旨就是让昂贵的教材流动起来,而不是白白放在家里占地方。
        “Companies fall in love with their own business model. That allows people who are disrupting to come in and establish massively profitable business models,” Mr Hansen said.        汉森说:“企业会自己爱上自己的商业模式。这让颠覆者能够乘虚而入,建立起极为有利可图的商业模式。
        “If Disney had moved to actively challenge their own business model, Netflix wouldn’t have existed and wouldn’t have sucked $60bn of value out of media.”        “如果迪士尼(Disney)当初积极行动起来、挑战它自己的商业模式,Netflix现在根本就不会存在,也根本不会在媒体行业切走价值600亿美元的一块‘蛋糕’。”
                
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