Today this venerable name in educational publishing filed for bankruptcy. While troubling and sad, it is not surprising to this observer. It’s not the cited reasons of a poor economy, a lack of state and local funding or recession driven resources. It’s about resistance to change.
The transition from print to digital, and the resultant consumerization of education, has completely changed the landscape of the educational business. I feel for the big publishers whom have built businesses on the concept of producing a textbook, selling it to a district and then doing that over and over again. It worked for a long time, it doesn’t anymore.
The iPad and the app economy have decimated this business model by making content readily available, readily updatable and low cost. In addition, scholl districts, teachers, parents and students seem to be on board with the transition. Houghton Mifflin made a valiant attempt to integrate themselves into the app economy about a year ago when they establish a fund to fuel development of interactive content. But it seems that the train had left the proverbial station by the time that they figured this out.
It will be small companies like IPMG Publishingthat will lead the next generation of learners. Why, because we adapt quickly.