Publishers and Institutions Give Inclusive Access a Try

Publishers and Institutions Give Inclusive Access a Try

Barnes and Noble Education partnered with Oxford University Press to make OUP ebooks available to college students through inclusive access models offered on campuses served by its B&N College and MBS Textbook Exchange subsidiaries.

B&N Education also expanded its relationship with John Wiley and Sons to offer Wiley digital content through B&N College and MBS Textbook Exchange subsidiaries.

The two agreements are among the most recent as colleges and universities and publishers and bookstores look to address the changing course materials needs of college students and faculty.

Inclusive access is seen as helping curb costs for students and ensuring they get the course materials they need from the first day of class.

Inclusive access is not a new idea, but it is newly hot. Publishers tried it on a smaller scale with individual institutions several years ago without much success. Simba Information explores the uptake of inclusive access on campuses in the newly published College Course Materials Trends and Outlook 2019-2021.

Ensuring that students have the materials they need to reach the desired outcomes of their courses has become a mantra on campuses. With this in mind, both institutions and publishers have been moving to inclusive access as a way of meeting that goal.

The uptake of inclusive access is exacerbating the shift in purchasing that publishers are seeing both in the move from December to January and the move from August to September at the start of the academic year. With inclusive access, a sale is recorded when a student logs into her course materials the first day of class.

The benefit of inclusive access, a subscription model, according to Pearson chief executive John  Fallon is a 90%-plus sell-through. “It enables us to gain share from our biggest competitor—the secondary market in our own intellectual property; and it also reduces non-consumption, boosting our average revenue per enrollment,” Fallon said.

OER Moves Forward

One of the other characteristics of the changing higher education market is the slow but steady increase in penetration of open educational resources.

In Freeing the Textbook, Babson’s report published in January 2019, Babson looked specifically at the use of OER as required material in any course and found continued growth among all faculty, as follows:

  • 5% of faculty used OER in 2015-2016;
  • 6% of faculty used OER in 2016-2017;
  • 13% of faculty used OER in 2017-2018.

One clarifying note that Babson makes is that while OER use has risen significantly, OER may not be the only material used and instructors may not be using OER in all their classes.

Where the impact may be felt more keenly by commercial publishers is in the use of OER in introductory courses with their typically large enrollments. Babson found that in 2017-2018, nearly one-fourth of faculty that teach large-enrollment introductory courses said they use OER in some fashion.

College Course Materials Trends and Outlook 2019-2021 complements Simba’s earlier look at the college market—State of College Course Materials 2017—2018, which became available in December 2018.

Trends and Outlook focuses on the trends building steam in 2018 that are likely to persist into the next several years. The report provides the outlook for the higher education publishing industry and sales segment projections through 2021 with both sizing and context for new print textbooks and digital media (including etextbooks), as well as the used textbook segment. Among other changing dynamics discussed in College Course Materials Trends and Outlook 2019-2021 are:

  • Projected student undergraduate enrollment by institutional type, 2017-2027
  • Changes in distance learning
  • Progress of federal attempts to rewrite regulations governing higher education
  • Potential concerns in state funding for higher education
  • Changing strategies on how higher education should be delivered
  • The emergence of credentialing in traditional higher education settings
  • Adoption and adaptation of workforce development by traditional higher education  institutions
  • Publisher participation and control in textbook rental programs
  • Analysis of expected drivers of behind industry changes over the next several years
  • Sales forecast of higher education course materials segments through 2021