Look beyond books, publishers told

<p>Academic publishers need to look beyond the textbook and move to a model focused on delivering &quot;learning objectives&quot; in order to compete in the shifting higher education (HE) market.</p><p>That was one of the more challenging views put forward in this week&#39;s Publishers Association &quot;What Does Higher Education Want From Publishers?&quot; conference, attended by more than 120 publishers and academics.</p><p>In his presentation, Tom Davy, c.e.o. for Cengage Learning EMEA, suggested that the current textbook market was one of &quot;diminishing returns&quot;. He said: &quot;The textbook has not gone but increasingly students are finding that they can get by with PowerPoint presentations, lecture notes and Google.&quot;</p><p>Moving from away from a &quot;book centric&quot; mode will help publishers as they increasingly compete with technology players: &quot;Coming from a publishing background with everything focused on books can be a hindrance that doesn&#39;t inhibit other companies without our background,&quot; Davy said.</p><p>He urged publishers to engage with today&#39;s &quot;Googlised students&quot; and build technology platforms that will link them not just to textbooks but to various online media. He added: &quot;We need to use technology to not just deliver content but to give solutions.&quot;</p><p>But Roland Fox, a textbook author and senior lecturer in management at Salford Business School, said delegates should be wary of technology, raising piracy concerns. He said: &quot;Keep away from the e-book movement. In five years&#39; time, what we are going to see is four out of five downloads will be illegal.&quot;</p><p>Closing the conference, Palgrave Macmillan m.d. Dominic Knight asked the HE community to be realistic in its demands on publishers as they embrace the changing digital market. He also stressed the need for HE and publishers to work together: &quot;I hope that we can spend some time on the business model to see what we can create that will be truly sustainable.&quot;</p>