Bill and Melinda Gates, who declared that “textbooks are becoming obsolete” in their 2019 annual letter.
One of the assumptions behind the Gates’ prediction is that the growth of instructional software will replace textbooks.
Spending data suggests that instructional software is indeed growing in classrooms. From 2011 to 2014, U.S. spending on PreK-12 instructional technology steadily ticked upwards, from $2.6 billion to $3.3 billion,
Specific to college textbooks, print-only titles accounted for 45 percent of U.S. higher education courseware in 2015, down from 50 percent the year before, according to a 2018 report from Macquarie, an investment bank and financial services company. Digital-only textbooks accounted for 29 percent, while digital-and-print bundles accounted for 26 percent.
In a 2018 survey of college students, the trade publication Library Journal found that 75 percent say that reading print books is easier than e-books.
Chegg (https://ereader.chegg.com/#/), a student services provider that notably sold its print textbook inventory to Ingram in 2015, adoption of digital materials among students has been slower than he predicted.
For Pearson, non-digital revenues still dominate at 38 percent, down from 41 percent the year prior. Digital revenue grew to 34 percent from 32 percent the year prior. E-book revenue grew over 20 percent for the second year. The company has invested in a partner rental program