Pearson launches Pearson +, a Wannabe Netflix for textbooks

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Picture for an article titled There's Another '+' on the Market: Pearson +, Wannabe Netflix for College Textbooks

Photography: Adam Berry (Getty Images))

As if there aren’t enough services with a “+” sign in the name, here’s another one for your list: Pearson +, which wants to be Netflix for college textbooks.

Pearson was recently introduced Pearson +, a desktop and mobile application that will offer digital textbooks from the company ‘s catalog through a two – layer subscription model. A single-layer $ 9.99 per month gives students access to one Pearson textbook, while a multi-layered $ 14.99 provides access to more than 1,500 textbooks. In a press release, the company said Pearson + would offer students “the most flexible and budget-friendly” way to access digital textbooks and learning tools. The application will be published on American campuses in the fall.

When you compare that offer with the prices of printed textbooks on Pearson currently a website – which includes a laboratory manual at $ 63.99 and an engineering textbook priced at $ 181.32, among a number of other prices – that sounds like a bargain.

“It’s clear to students that they prefer the convenience and accessibility of digital learning tools like Pearson +,” Pearson CEO Andy Bird said in a statement. “With Pearson +, we are redesigning the learning experience for students and building direct relationships with them, which will allow us to continue to improve the product with the features they need and want.”

Bird added that the company wants students to spend less time worrying about buying their books and to enjoy the faculty experience more. In addition to digital textbooks, Pearson + subscribers will also receive a suite of learning tools, including audio versions of books, enhanced search capabilities,created and customizable cards, and the ability to change the fonts and backgrounds of books, among other things.

Now, while all of this sounds convenient, let’s remember the key message here: Pearson + allows individual or unlimited access to Pearson’s book catalog. It can be really nice, but like Financial Times points out, many students receive textbooks from different publishers.

This could create another problem: pressure on teachers to select textbooks that may not be best for the class.

“Perhaps an access agreement or student pressure with a subscription means faculties are forced to opt for a textbook that is not necessarily the best for the subject,” said Eddie Watson, assistant deputy president for curricula pedagogical innovation at the Association of American Colleges and Universities, he told the Times. “The risk is that it excludes other options that could be more open and accessible.”

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