Textbook publisher wants to use NFTs to skim the used textbook market

Textbook publisher Pearson has revealed plans to use non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to track digital textbook sales and “effectively decrease the secondary market” of its digital textbooks.

According to an Aug. 1 Bloomberg report, Pearson CEO Andy Bird wants to assign NFTs to his digital textbooks to better track sales and capture revenue that was previously lost to the second-hand market.

Bird hopes the company can use the technology to earn a commission on second-hand sales of its textbooks, which are normally made privately from student to student. Bird noted:

“Technologies like blockchain and NFTs allow us to participate in every sale of that particular item throughout its life. The possibility of participating in downstream revenues […] I find it really interesting.

He noted that a Pearson textbook is typically resold up to seven times in its lifetime.

As Pearson explores its options with blockchain technology to remove more sales revenue, Bird added that his company will look for ways to leverage the Metaverse.

“We have a whole team working on the implications of the metaverse and what it might mean for us.”

Entering the Metaverse could be lucrative in the medium term if the market capitalization of the virtual world is to meet expectations by surpassing $50 billion by 2026.

The London-based publisher is part of a growing cohort of academic entities studying the metaverse. Last week, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) launched its first classroom into the metaverse.

The company’s plans to use NFTs have been criticized by the community, however.

Some academics, such as Intel researcher Zane Griffin Talley Cooper, have denounced Pearson’s “predatory academic publication”, while admitting that this is “probably where NFT technology is evolving”. In his August 2 TweeterCooper added “We have to watch this stuff carefully.”

Others say Pearson’s supposed plans for NFTs don’t use NFT technology at all.

Technology analyst Ian Curess said in an Aug. 2 tweet that “NFT is just a buzzword around here,” and what Pearson calls an NFT is just code that buyers of occasion will have to pay a fee in order to activate their digital books. .

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Pearson is already one of the largest publishers in the world with revenue of $4.2 billion in 2021. Their textbooks are used in high schools, colleges and universities around the world.

The company is poised to beat that mark in 2022, with first-half revenue of $2.2 billion and profit up 14% to $208.7 million in the same period according to the Telegraph of August 1st.