India’s academic publishing is a hybrid market, where digital is still an add-on!

Digital publishing is an integral part of publishing. Here, Vikas Gupta, Managing Director, Wiley India shares his views on the academic digital publishing market in India.

Vikas Gupta, Managing Director, Wiley India
Vikas Gupta, Managing Director, Wiley India

Earlier this year, it is announced that India infuses Rs. 90 billion to modernise classrooms as part of which 150,000 schools and thousands of colleges will cater digital learning. So there is huge scope in future from the current state where only a minimal percent of schools and colleges have actually taken the digital route. Keeping in mind the readers preference or even whether we are ready for a digital classroom, is still under purview while the initial steps towards it has been set.

Digital publishing market in India…

India’s academic publishing is still a hybrid market in the advent of mobiles where digital is treated as an add-on. It is a diversed priced market – from schools with tablets to schools that use only books. People still prefer largely a book and expect a digital format at a low price or even free. Colleges and schools who are opting for digital classrooms still want a print book and those colleges in remote locations who have accessibility issue continue to heavily rely on print books.

The academic publishing market in India is largely unorganized still – primarily categorized into government approved high quality publishers and the lesser quality publications with an aim to make money. The second category has given rise to unorganized group of publishers which is leading to an impact in the overall quality of content produced out of India. Besides, in this wave of digitalization, the nature of content is also changing. The digitalization of content needs even more stringent copyright protection.

Another noticeable trend in academic publishing is the surge of thought leadership content published in platforms like Pulse of LinkedIn that has contributed to increase in digital content relatively in India.

Why go digital?

Some of the obvious and known benefits of digital publishing include — its cost effectiveness and wider reach among desired readers. Digitalization enables the same content to be accessed by multiple users at one point of time which may not be the case for a physical book. Content digitized will be preserved for lifetime and gives an overview on all possible options on one topic. To add to it, digitized content is searchable at the chapter or module level instead of book title level giving quick access to readers on what he/she wants.

Schools, educational institutes, and universities are digitizing their course materials and making their collections and libraries virtually accessible. Easy information retrieval from the whole collection of data, anytime information access from any remote location, and the cost-effectiveness of these programs seem to be some of the great advantages of digitization. Moreover, digital content allows continuous content updation with ease.

Digital publishing @ Wiley…

Today’s digital world propagates digital transformation and publishing as an industry is no different. Many global publishers are still on the verge of transformation. Even at Wiley, we have emancipated this trend and started working towards it quite at an early stage.

While at Wiley, we are one of the early disseminators of digital content as back as 1999 with the launch of Wiley Online Library and creation of WileyPlus, first of its kind LMS platform in 2005. Since then there has been no looking back. We continued to focus on creating richer and richer educational experiences for the students while delivering more and more content to researchers. We created customized content based on the need and background of students studying a specific subject and built a capability that allowed professors to access the content in the format they needed, select the quantity of content that they would actually use in their courses rather than an entire textbook, and pick out the prices that were acceptable to students at different income levels.

Digital versus printed format…

At Wiley globally, 75% of the business in three major tracks namely textbooks, reference and journals and trade and professional books are digital in format. And each of these businesses has its quintessential nature of proportion when it comes to digital and print format of content.

1. Textbooks: People buy digital products that come with enhancements such as framework, multimedia and immersive content. The proliferation is due to better internet speed and access to devices. This is in fact contributing for print to move into digital format. The very fact that reading 800 paged text book may not be feasible so a mix of digital and print is the preferred choice for readers.

2. Reference books and research journals: In this segment, more than 90% of the content is digital from a global perspective as the very concept of reference material is the ability to search required content easily. Digital content allows ease of access and availability from anywhere.

3. Trade and professional books: Considering these are professionals, both type of readers exist in this cat-egory – one preferring the look and feel while the other opting for a kindle read.

New initiatives at Wiley India…

Wiley has announced a series of learning interventions for institutions, professionals and corporate channels in India under the umbrella brand WileyNXT, which is a timely initiative to address the overwhelming needs of industry 4.0. It fits into the actual purpose of getting students ‘job or future ready’.

For Institutions, Wiley has two key offerings, a three-month fast track Accelerator Program targeted at final year engineering students, preparing them for campus placements and a four-year Integrated Program that will run parallel to the college curriculum and augments the university’s conceptual learning with contextual application based leaning models. All the curriculums offered to Engineering stream are job role oriented, providing a full stack skill set. The four full stack programs offered here are – Java Full stack Developer, Machine Learning Full stack, Data Engineering Full Stack and JavaScript Full Stack. All these courses are designed to meet the industry requirement for problem solving, critical thinking and collaborative skills.

Our solution for professionals, WileyNXT Executive Education Program is a joint certification with IIM-Lucknow in Business and Data Analytics. The program’s comprehensive curriculum focuses on preparing professional to excel in the digital and knowledge economy. The course focuses on building skills in data analytics and problem solving.

Future trends…

The next five years will see more and more digital content as compared to today. And with more digitalization, it will call for continuous updation of the content to stay at par with the VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) world. Besides, digitalization will lead to producing immersive content that will bring forth experiential storytelling.

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