Education Market Shifts To Digital

Posted on 5/3/2013 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

If supplying pictures for educational use is a significant part of your business plan you need to be aware of how the market is trending toward digital delivery and how that is likely to affect the prices that will be paid for images used in digital products. In case you’ve missed them the following are links to a few stories we’ve published that deal with this subject in the last few years.

Education Shifts From Books To Digital – FAST

A major shift is coming in the education market, and more rapidly than many expect. In Pearson’s recent Q4 2012 earnings call John Fallon, CEO and Chief Executive of International Education business discussed many of the “fundamental structural change” that are taking place in Pearson’s education business.

Future Image Demand In Education

At the PACA International Conference in October, Christie Silver of McGraw Hill School Education Group provided details on where her team found images for a major reading program they have been working on this year. She also provided insights as to how educational publishers will be sourcing images in the future and pointed out that the main focus of all educational efforts these days is digital.

Is There A Future In Creating Images For Educational Use?

At the PACA International Conference in Chicago in October the keynote speakers was Ken Carson, EVP and General Counsel of Cengage Learning. He outlined many of the challenges educational publishers face today and provided insights as to where content licensing for educational use is headed.

Open Education Resources – The Next Disruptor

For some time professional image suppliers and many educational publishers have been at odds over unlicensed use of images. Image creators and suppliers claim they have not been properly compensated for the use of some images while publishers either try to hide the unauthorized uses or argue that what they have done is not copyright infringement. Now publishers and image creators are on the same side against alleged infringer Boundless Learning.

Growth in UIG/Encyclopaedia Britannica Image Quest Product

Universal Images Group Limited has built a database of more than 2.5 million education images for use by Encyclopaedia Britannica, in its Image Quest online subscription service for schools, colleges and universities

Britannica Image Explorer

Universal Images Group, the distribution business unit of the Virtual Picture Desk (VPD), in conjunction with Encyclopaedia Britannica has launched a new photo service called "Britannica Image Explorer." This library of imagery launched with over 1 million images specifically edited for the needs of educational users. School systems will subscriber to this service and members of these organizations will have unlimited access to low resolution (150 dpi) versions of these images for the duration of the license. The license is for non-commercial educational use only. Any uses not covered by the subscription license must be licensed separately directly from the image provider.

Encyclopaedia Britannica Pricing For Picture Access

Last week in a story entitled “Educational Products For Students” I discussed the new educational publisher strategy for making images available to students. In particular I examined the Encyclopaedia Britannica product called Image Quest and made some estimates about pricing and the royalties photographers might receive for the use of their images. Encyclopaedia Britannica has now provided us with more details of their pricing strategy and we need to revise our numbers.

Pricing Electronic Uses

When customers first requested rights to use images in both print and online it seemed reasonable to charge a supplemental fee for the online use that was much less than the print price. Today, electronic use is at least equal to print and tomorrow it will be the predominate use of all imagery. If we continue to price electronic as a lesser usage we will be offering a huge discount on the price for the majority of our future licenses. Therefore we must come up with an entirely new strategy for licensing electronic uses.

Will iPads Become A Standard Fixture In The Classroom?

Recently, the results of a year long study of Algebra 1 students at the Amelia Earhart Middle School in Riverside, California were announced. The math scores of the students who were taught using Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s HMH Fuse: Algebra 1 curriculum on the iPad were 20% higher in the Spring 2011 California Standards Test than other students who were taught using traditional paper textbooks.

From Books To iPads

What happens when the iPad becomes the primary vehicle for delivering educational information? Check out this story for some of the things we think are likely to occur the education business. Consider how disruptive these changes are likely to be for writers and photographers. The disruption that microstock has caused may be minor compared to the impact the iPad will have. I would also recommend that anyone interested in supplying photos for educational use take a look at this video that explains how iPads may be used in education in the future.

Back To School

The 2011-12 school year is about to begin. The use of printed books is declining. Many school systems will expand their use of computer and iPads this school year. Beginning in kindergarten children will be taught using digital devices.

Khan Academy

In the future the Khan Academy and other online resources like it will be the way most educational information is delivered. Printed textbooks will be a thing of the past -- like buggy whips. The only question is how rapidly that change will take place. There are strong indications that it will happen in a very few years.

Image Licensors Should Be Given Passwords For Textbook Websites

Those who license rights to use photos in textbooks should include language in their invoices that requires publishers to provide the licensor with a password to any web site where the licensors images are used. This story explains why it is important and provides recommended language.

Do Creatives Need Educational Publishers?

Creatives need to start exploring ways to deliver their products –writing, photographs, illustration, video – to students, instructors and educational institutions without the aid of educational publishers. This article goes into some of the reasons why and how it could be done.

Education: How The Market Has Changed

This is a listing of several stories that were published prior to February 22, 2012, but are important background to what has been happening in the textbook publishing industry.

Copyright © 2013 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to:  


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