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

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

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

Bird hopes the company can use the technology to earn a commission on the used sales of its textbooks, which are normally done privately from one student to another. Bird noted:

“Technology like blockchain and NFTs allows us to participate in any sale of that particular item as it goes through its life. The ability to participate in downstream revenue […] I find it really interesting.”

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

As Pearson explores his options with blockchain technology to cut further sales revenue, Bird added that his company would explore how his company can take advantage of the Metaverse.

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

A move to the Metaverse could prove lucrative in the medium term if the virtual world market cap is to meet expectations by exceeding $50 billion by 2026.

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

However, the company’s plans to use NFTs have been met with some criticism from the community.

Some academics, such as researcher at Intel Zane Griffin Talley Cooper, rejected Pearson’s “predatory academic publication,” although they admitted that this is “probably where NFT technology is going.” In his August 2 tweetCooper added: “We need to keep a close eye on this stuff.”

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

Technology analyst Ian Cutress said in an Aug. 2 tweet that “NFT is just a buzzword here,” and what Pearson calls an NFT is just a code that requires second-hand buyers to pay a fee to activate their digital books. .

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

The company is on track to beat that figure in 2022, as first-half revenue was $2.2 billion, and profits rose 14% to $208.7 million over the same period, according to the Telegraph on Aug. 1.