Tag Archives: CUP

Print textbooks more popular than digital

I noted an interesting tweet from @DigiBookWorld the other day:

Only 3% of students used a digital textbook as the “core” course material last semester, down from 4% in the fall

The tweet included a link to the article by Jeremy Greenfield on the Digital Book World website, which noted that the e-textbook revolution was still waiting to happen. Whilst sales for fiction ebooks appear to be soaring, it seems that the e-revolution for academic textbooks isn’t quite meeting expectations. According to a survey of over 1,500 undergraduate students, digital is still critical; however, the majority of students favour print textbooks. The reasons for the result were split 50-50: some students prefer the look and feel of a print book, whilst others pointed out that they would not be able to re-sell a digital textbook.

The research was made by Bowker Market Research. The Director behind the survey, Carl Kulo, stated that students feel that print textbooks are better value for learning and for money.

Despite this result, digital textbooks are still proving popular amongst some students who favour them for being easy to carry and for the text being easier to search. Results show that students trying digital textbooks is actually up 31% from 28% in the past two years, proving that digital textbooks do still have a hold on a considerable amount of the marketplace. Although growth is slow now, Kulo believes that the market will begin to pick up in the next two-to-five years. Digital is only set to soar in growth as more and more students use some form of digital in their studies, particularly with emerging learning management systems and integrated learning platforms. Even publishers use these types of platforms to present training materials for editors, and also to help customers in their day-to-day lives. A good example is online learning platform, Cambridge English Teacher, which Cambridge University Press has made available on their website. The aim is to help teachers (current and aspiring) to enhance their own knowledge of grammar, for example, to help develop their teaching techniques.

The article makes me doubt whether universities shall stop spending as much money on textbooks, journals and monographs. I wrote an entry not too long ago, ‘Open Access: in, £50 breeze blocks: out’, which explored a prediction from the vice-chancellor of Durham University, who stated that as digital and Open Access becomes more popular, universities will cut their spending on print materials. He also made a point that students could not afford to buy ‘£50 breeze blocks’. It seems that these students, however, are very much for print textbooks…

In my opinion, I am with the majority of students who believe that print is better monetary value and value for learning. Whilst I do still use digital textbooks and articles which I access through my University Library’s website (mostly if the print version is not available), I feel that textbooks are easier for studying. Not only are they good value for money, you can annotate it and easily access it next to you, as opposed to clicking between computer windows. They may be a pain to lug to-and-from the library, but I feel that their presence is still, and will continue to be, a very solid feature on every student’s bookshelf.

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Cambridge University Press visit

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Yesterday the MA publishing group had a field trip to the fantastic Cambridge University Press University Printing House. We were told about various departments at the Press and heard talks from a variety of people including Richard Fisher (MD Academic and Professional Publishing), Dan Edwards (Senior Commissioning Editor, STM Journals), Helen Barton (Commissioning Editor, Linguistics), Alastair Horne (Communities and Social Media, ELT), Liz Warman (Global Content Production Director) and Fiona Kelly (Director of Intellectual Property, ELT).

Each speaker gave a brilliant insight into the workings of the Press and how they contribute to the thousands of titles published each year. There were also brief talks from former and current MA Publishing students who talked about their experiences at the Press and how they came to work there.

I found everything really interesting and it has definitely fuelled my ambition of wanting to work for the company. It was great to hear each person’s experience and to also hear about current ways the Press was changing to accommodate for the digital age.

We also got a tour around the Customer Services and HR Department. I am really excited for April as we shall get to visit the Printers for CUP. (More on that when it happens!)

Even if in the future I do end up working for a company as successful as Cambridge University Press, currently I am definitely undecided on which department I’d like to work in. Everything sounded so interesting. I think I would like to do something with ELT. I studied English Language and Linguistics and English Literature for my undergraduate degree (and also did a little teaching in Denmark a few years back), so the thought of going into that part of publishing would be something which I would find interesting.

Until then though, all I can do is work hard and hope that one day, it will all pay off.


Welcome to my blog!

I have just started a Masters course in Publishing at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge. One of the first opportunities which have arisen from the course is the chance to win a bursary offered from one of the most prestigious publishers in the industry: Cambridge University Press.

Ever since I discovered I wanted to start a career in publishing, I have always looked to CUP, and other companies like it, as being one of the major publishers in which I aspire to work for in the future. I love the fact that their heritage spans back to the 1500s and so have inspired billions of generations over time. Having studied history at A-Level and having a keen interest in the subject, I am intrigued by the thought of Henry VIII granting CUP the permission to publish books. What is even more intriguing is wondering what he would have thought should he have known that his permission would be sure to influence and shape the world’s future.

I find it incredible to think that Cambridge University Press has had an involvement in producing some of the most insightful and life-changing books in history, from writers such as Milton, Chomsky and Newton. The successful publication of such astounding knowledge has been made accessible to everyone and anyone by CUP – a fantastic achievement and a great example as to why CUP is extremely appealing to me.

Something that has become a problem in the publishing industry is the introduction of self publishing and as a result, the quality of books suffering (more on that, later). But, given that CUP publish work for one of the world’s top universities, the quality of their work is guaranteed to be flawless; something of which I find the most satisfying about the publishing industry – Yes, I am one of those people who find it incredibly annoying when I read a book with grammar and spelling errors! – The quality of their work is something which I find particularly appealing about CUP. Publishing excellent quality books, like CUP is something which I aim to be doing in the future. Publishing work which will be read by millions worldwide would be an incredible feeling and achievement, whether it be a book about the next great technological development, or works from one of the world’s most brilliant literary scholars.

It is for these reasons which would make winning the bursary an amazing achievement and I would feel honoured to receive the bursary from CUP, an academic publisher in which I really admire. In addition, the prize itself would immensely help me financially and would reduce the worry I have of having to pay back more money to the bank.

I think that concludes my first post and outlines why I am applying for the CUP bursary. Look out for more posts related to the publishing industry and which also show some of my interests in the issues surrounding the industry.

Thank you for reading!

(Note: all information regarding the history of CUP has been taken from http://www.cambridge.org)