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“We formed NOOK Media to be a leader in the exploding market for digital content,” said Barnes & Noble CEO William Lynch in a statement. “Pearson is a forward thinking company similarly focused on reading and learning.”
MarketWatch reports that Pearson is the largest K-12 publisher in the United States and the largest higher-education publisher in the world. David Strasser, an analyst at Janney Capital, comments, “This investment is indicative of Pearson’s strategy to becoming a leader in online education.”
According to the report, David Schick, an analyst at Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., said: “We believe college addressable market is $10 billion to $12 billion, with about $7 billion to $8 billion in textbooks.”
Colleges around the globe have been jumping on the digital trend, gobbling up thousands of iPads and Nexus tablets — notably, not so many NOOK devices — and issuing them to students in lieu of textbooks. The advantages of digital distribution are myriad and obvious, but in order for educators to take full advantage of the new technology, they need the right device and the right support.
A tablet in every student’s hands is valuable for a top education-content provider (such as Pearson) with the right distribution platform (such as NOOK Media). Microsoft’s investment opens a clear channel to those who are using the Surface or Windows 8 devices. While Amazon many be resistant to working with Barnes & Noble on content distribution — the two have some differences to settle — Apple and Google may be willing to let the company do some of the heavy lifting when it comes to providing and distributing content.
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