EdTech Industry Trends- Publishing is getting disrupted

Akhil Pawa May 6, 2016

As school year comes to a close in North America and Europe, it is a good time to ask the question: how has the education industry evolved and impacted the school year. As an EdTech company, Magic is a keen observer and active participant in K-12 education space in these regions. We clearly see 3 trends that have continued to remain strong over this period, and in fact over past few years.

  1. Publishing industry continues to be disrupted. It is still not clear what will be the new face of publishing and who will be the new players. Last year, funding to VC-backed education technology startups grew 503% over 5 years (source: CBInsights)
  2. Teaching and Learning behaviors are changing big time. These changes are finally bringing changes to a teaching style that has remarkably stayed the same over last 50 years.
  3. Publishers’ response to disruptive changes have been incremental. They continue to think print, and digital is an after-thought, and their product decisions suffer because of this.
As Magic is getting its offerings ready to address some of these trends, we will delve a little deeper in to each of these trends over the next few posts.

Publishing is getting disrupted There are two trends which have been disrupting the publishing industry, esp. K-12 segment:

  1. Digitization
  2. Devices


In 20th cenury, most of the learning content was found in print – textbooks, workbooks, guides, etc. Publishing, Teaching and Learning processes have been optimized for that world. However, in last 15 years or so, world has increasingly gone digital. Content is becoming digital, available online, and in multiple formats. It is impactful, and disruptive, in many ways:

  1. Creation: It is very easy now for anyone to create content, given the tools available for digital content creation. This considerably reduces the barrier of entry and creates more competition to publishers to worry about; the phenomenon of self-publishing and open content are testimony to this change.
  2. Distribution: Digital content can be easily distributed through online channels, increasing the reach of even small publishers.
  3. Consumption: Digital content can be consumed in a variety of ways like with collaborative learning. These give rise to new learning and teaching behaviors


As recently as the early years of the last decade, access to digital content was mostly through desktop systems (primarily running Windows operating system). However, the last 5-8 years have seen remarkable change in that landscape – devices (mobile, tablet, iPad) and device operating systems (Android, iOS) have gone mainstream, and classrooms are increasingly using these devices rather than desktops for consuming digital content and providing learning and teaching experiences. With BYOD (bring your own device) phenomenon becoming big even in classrooms, disparate nature of devices and operating systems in class, is a real situation now. Given the differences in screen sizes, capabilities, and functionalities of devices, one-size fits-all approach to content creation no longer works. Content needs to be customized for devices. This presents a big headache for the publishers who are used to meticulously designed, elaborately created books that assume print dimensions. Devices also give rise to different learning behaviours.

Akhil Pawa

Management expert and the service line owner for solutions and delivery of all Digital Interactive Content offerings in Magic. He has been associated with Magic for more than 8 years and has handled several digital transformation projects in Education domain.