Big education publisher to end printed textbooks

The world's largest education publisher will gradually phase out printed textbooks. Pearson has decided to make all its learning resources "digital first". It said the industry's future is in e-books and digital services. Pearson CEO John Fallon told the BBC: "We are now over the digital tipping point. Over half our annual revenues come from digital sales, so we've decided…like in other industries like newspapers or music or in broadcast, that it is time to flick the switch in how we primarily make and create our products." He said: "I am increasingly confident and excited about this."

Pearson said a big advantage of e-books is they can be continually updated. This means teachers will always have access to the latest versions. Mr Fallon said Pearson would end its business model of revising printed course books every three years. This model has dominated the industry for over four decades. Fallon said a digital environment enables learning in "a much more effective way". He added the e-books will appeal to the "Netflix and Spotify generation". Textbook writers are worried they will earn less as digital products are sold on a subscription basis.