Personally, I think this is a little conservative… though kids and professors on campuses would probably know more about how motivated professors are to switch to digital textbooks. What I do know is that no one likes spending $100 for a textbook and my professors were always empathetic to this.

Obvious investment plays are Apple and Google stock. Both are probably fairly priced now. None of these companies mentioned in the article are public, but there may be more like them. Another plan would be to find a publisher who is ahead of the times and keep and eye on them. They might develop into a best of bread company that investors flock too as the other publishers go broke.

Current Digital Textbook Sales and Trends

While digital textbook sales currently represent a small portion of the overall textbook market – approximately 0.5% – year-over-year increases show strong and steady growth.

  • CourseSmart, a joint venture of five large college textbook publishers, reported a 400% increase in sales in 2009 from the year before;
  • MBS Direct, representing 900 client institutions and 34 academic publishers, showed increases in digital textbooks sales of more than 100% in 2009;
  • Interviews with representatives from leading textbook publishers reveal year-over-year increases between 80%-100% for the past three years, with sales growth in 2009 topping 100%;
  • According to “On Campus Research Student Watch 2010,” a 16,000-student survey released by the National Association of College Stores in fall of 2009, about 42 percent of students have either purchased or at least seen an e-textbook. That’s an increase of 24 percentage points from 2007
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