Ebooks and digital solutions are an ‘and’ to the print book. There are a number of schools, districts, and even states that do not have the level of internet connectivity that they need to be able to deliver e-learning and instruction using just digital resources
The Follett, Baker & Taylor annual summit took place online this year. Aman Kochar, executive v-p of B&T, reported that while almost 96% of libraries were accepting shipments again, digital sales were up almost 40% year-over-year at B&T heading into September, and that digital circulation on B&T platforms was up 50% over prior year.
Britten Follett, executive v-p at Follett School Solutions, discussed the shift in demand as the pandemic closed schools and limited delivery options.
Our team quickly shifted, and thanks to partnerships with publishers, our focus then became, ‘How can we help teachers deliver instruction remotely?’
When the pandemic started, we were seeing revenue declines as much as 70% in print. Part of that is due to the fact we couldn’t ship those orders to customers and send invoices. But that has quickly recovered. We’re still down, there’s no question, but we’re doing pretty well given all the uncertainties associated with back to school.
On digital growth Follett said,
We’re seeing double-digit e-book usage and double-digit usage of Destiny Discover, which is the platform by which students search for print materials as well as ebooks.
If you would have asked me six, eight months ago if we should be prioritising work on our digital platforms, I would have said no, because we weren’t seeing the usage. We were seeing sales decline, actually, in some areas of digital. That changed overnight. And so we had to change overnight. I believe that ebooks and digital solutions are an ‘and’ to the print book.
But in a damning indictment of the state of internet connectivity in the world’s richest nation, Follett said:
There are a number of schools, districts, and even states that do not have the level of internet connectivity that they need to be able to deliver e-learning and instruction using just digital resources. So we need to work together to ensure that teachers, librarians, and principals know that we can be a solution for them, and that it’s print and digital—not print or digital.
Via Publishers Weekly.