Posted by: crudbasher | June 24, 2013

What Education Can Learn From Sci Fi Publishing

(cc) |waldzen|

(cc) |waldzen|

The process of Education has some parallels in other parts of society. Inspection of what is happening in other areas can therefore sometimes illustrate useful lessons for Education. I had my attention drawn to a discussion happening on transterrestrial.com about Sci Fi books.

If you like to read eBooks, you may have noticed a huge amount of eBooks being published as eBooks only. Many of them are from independent authors, with no assistance from an established publisher. Companies like Amazon.com are creating systems to link authors directly with readers. I first noted this several years ago in Deconstructing Disaggregation – Part 2. Here are some of my conclusions.

  1. When you look at the economic chain from author to reader, most of it can be stripped out when you move to eBooks. This causes the cost to make a book plummet.
  2. Since the cost is so low, the cost of each book unit itself is much lower, and you don’t have to sell as many of them to make your money back.
  3. Because you don’t have to sell as many, you can target more niche markets of readers.
  4. This also allows you to target markets that were underserved before.
  5. It also allows more experimentation with the format itself. Many authors are now writing in installments, called Serial Publishing. Enough sales will bring on the next installment.
  6. Finally, because the cost of entry is so low, literally anyone can try to be a writer with very little risk. Social media will spread the word if they are successful.

Tom Bri posted this comment on the Transterrestial blog comments I linked to above.

It’s a pretty damned exhilarating experience, publishing as an indie. I got an email from Amazon just last week, my first royalties check will be in the bank this coming week. Published in April, check in July. Traditional publishing can’t come close to beating this. No more begging agents to look at your work, begging publishers to please please consider your little manuscript.

How cool is that? So what can we learn as it applies to education? Let me demonstrate. I’ll take my 6 points above and rewrite them in regards to what is happening in Education.

  1. When you look at the economic chain from teacher to student, most of it can be stripped out when you move to Online Learning. This causes the cost of an education to plummet.
  2. Since the cost is so low, the cost of each education unit itself is much lower, and you don’t have to sell as many of them to make your money back.
  3. Because you don’t have to sell as many, you can target more niche markets of learners.
  4. This also allows you to target markets that were underserved before.
  5. It also allows more experimentation with the format itself. Many teachers are now teaching in installments, called Serial Publishing. Enough sales will bring on the next installment.
  6. Finally, because the cost of entry is so low, literally anyone can try to be a teacher with very little risk. Social media will spread the word if they are successful.

I didn’t have to change very much did I? This is the economics of education.

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