Textbooks may be free, but you'll pay for interactivity

Wolfram Research co-founder Theodore Gray argues that the textbook business model is doomed. In the long run, textbooks will be free. Instead students will pay for interactivity and apps.

NEW YORK -- Wolfram Research co-founder Theodore Gray argues that the textbook business model is doomed. In the long run, textbooks will be free. Instead students will pay for interactivity and apps.

That takeaway, which will impact education publishers as well science texts, was a notable point. Gray, speaking at the O'Reilly Media Tools of Change for Publishing conference in New York City, said outlined what could be the future of educational texts.

In a nutshell: think apps, not textbooks.

Gray is also co-founder of Touch Press, a fledgling publishing company. The idea is to meld storytelling and learning with interactivity.

"We're not a textbook company. What we produce is enrichment products that kids will actually check out," Gray said. "I don't think there's a future in paying for ordinary textbooks. No one will pay for simple textbooks. People will pay for interactivity."

If Gray is right, there will be a lot of upheaval in the academic publishing market.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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