Textbook publisher Pearson has revealed plans to use non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to track digital textbook sales and “effectively reduce the secondary market” for its digital books.
According to an Aug. 1 Bloomberg report, Pearson CEO Andy Bird wants to assign NFTs to its digital books in order to better track sales and capture revenue previously lost to the used market.
Bird hopes the company can use the technology to earn a commission from second-hand sales of her textbooks, which are usually done privately from one student to another. The bird noted:
“Technology like blockchain and NFTs allow us to participate in every sale of that particular item as it goes through its life. The ability to participate in downstream revenue […] I find it very interesting.”
He noted that a Pearson textbook is standard resold up to seven times during his lifetime.
As Pearson explores its options with blockchain technology to remove further revenue from sales, Bird added that his company will look at ways his company can benefit from Metaverse.
“We have a whole team working on the implications of the metaverse and what that might mean for us.”
The move to the Metaverse could be profitable in the medium term if the virtual world’s market capitalization is to live up to expectations by surpassing $50 billion by 2026.
The London-based publisher is part of a growing cohort of academic entities looking into the Metaverse. Last week, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) launched its first Metaverse classroom.
However, the company’s plans to use NFTs have received some criticism from the community.
Some academics, such as Intel researcher Zane Griffin Talley Cooper, decried Pearson’s “predatory academic publication”, although they admitted that “NFT technology is likely to move”. On the 2nd of August tweetadded Cooper “We have to watch these things carefully.”
Others say that Pearson’s supposed plans for NFTs don’t actually use NFT technology at all.
Tech analyst Ian Cutress said in a Tweet on Aug. 2 that “NFT is just a buzzword here,” and what Pearson calls NFT is just a code that pre-owned buyers will have to pay a fee to activate their digital books. .
Is this really an NFT, or is this Pearson just allowing people to bundle a book into a code, sell the code? This is not an NFT. NFT is just a buzzword here. Note that in order to win, Pearson charges the person purchasing the code a $10 reactivation fee. EA tried something similar. https://t.co/C87uejdXNa
— . (@IanCuttress) August 2, 2022
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Pearson is already one of the world’s largest publishers at $4.2 billion income in 2021. Their textbooks are used in high schools, colleges and universities around the world.
The company is on pace to surpass that mark in 2022 as first-half revenue came in at $2.2 billion and profit rose 14% to $208.7 million over the same period according in the Telegraph on 1 August.