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Learning Business Giant Pearson’s Publishing Takes on a Crucial Integration of NFT Technology



Due to students selling study materials they no longer need, educational publications are frequently sold more than once. Before the emergence of digital textbooks, publishers could not profit from the sales of used books.

This is no longer the case, however, as textbook publisher, Pearson, intends to make money from used book sales by converting its books into non-fungible tokens.

The top learning business in the world, Pearson, develops dynamic, engaging, and practical digital learning experiences. It provides digital material, tests, credentials, and data to clients in nearly 200 nations and is renowned for valuing education and treating it as an integral part of who they are.

Andy Bird, CEO of Pearson, discussed his proposal to offer digital textbooks as NFTs after publishing the company’s interim financial results. That would enable the publisher to trace the ownership of a book even when it changes hands. By registering a unique digital object on a decentralized digital ledger known as a blockchain, NFTs grant ownership of that unique digital item. Most of these products are photographs or films, but thanks to technology, almost anything may be bought, sold, and possessed through this method.

A Pearson textbook may be sold up to seven times in the analog world, and individuals and institutions would only be able to participate in the first sale. However, modern technology like blockchain and NFTs allows them to take part in all sales of that same object throughout its lifespan.

The integration of NFT technology and publication is not a new trend in the industry. NFT technology is mainly employed in books as a method of self-publication by writers. As the novelist and performer Walker Caplan highlighted in LitHub last year, while digital distributors like Germany’s Bookwire have introduced NFT markets, most of the publishing industry does not yet see the need to interact with this new technology because readers tend to value reading a book more than owning it. The core concept of NFT literature is decentralization. Thus even if traditional publishers enter this market, Caplan warned that they “may not be received with welcoming arms.”

Bird was the previous head of Walt Disney International. Before joining Pearson in 2020, the firm was having trouble keeping up with the rising expenses of creating university textbooks and the fact that many students chose to purchase them. Although it has not taken off like the market for visual art NFTs has, his concept of selling books as NFTs is not a new idea. This new strategy is the most recent improvement in Bird’s effort to transform the publisher into a digital company. It comes after the release of the subscription app Pearson+ last year, which costs $14.99 a month and allows students access to 1,500 titles.

However, if Pearson’s usage of NFTs is incredibly beneficial, other major publishing firms may start to follow and adopt a similar strategy of selling digital books. Additionally, Bird said that he has a whole team working on the ramifications of the metaverse and what it may imply for users. Currently, they are also investigating how the business can employ other emerging technologies.

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