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Business Review - Pearson Education - Higher Education

Higher Education: overview

Pearson is the largest publisher of textbooks and related course materials for colleges and universities in the US. We publish across all of the main fields of study with imprints such as Prentice Hall, Addison Wesley, Allyn & Bacon and Benjamin Cummings.

Typically, professors or other instructors select or ‘adopt’ the textbooks and online resources they recommend for their students, which students then purchase either in a bookstore or online. Today the majority of our textbooks are accompanied by online services which include homework and assessment tools, study guides and course management systems that enable professors to create online courses.

We have also introduced new formats such as downloadable audio study guides and electronic textbooks which are sold on subscription. In addition, we have a fast-growing custom publishing business which works with professors to produce textbooks and online resources specifically adapted for their particular course.

In 2007, our Higher Education business generated approximately 77% of its sales in the US. Outside the US, we adapt our textbooks and technology services for individual markets, and we have a growing local publishing programme. Our key markets outside the US include Canada, the UK, Benelux, Mexico, Germany, Hong Kong, Korea, Taiwan and Malaysia.

Higher Education: 2007 performance

All figures in £ millions 2007 2006 Headline
Sales 793 795 - % 5%
Adjusted operating profit 161 161 - % 5%

Rapid growth in online learning and custom publishing

Higher Education Key Performance Indicators

  • Investment in established and new author franchises, such as Campbell’s Biology, Kotler’s Marketing Management, Hubbard’s Economics and Cicarrelli’s Psychology, continues to underpin the strong performance of our higher education business.
  • ‘MyLab’ digital homework and assessment programmes launched in 22 new subject disciplines in 2007, increasing the total number of disciplines covered to 38. These programmes support over 2,000 textbooks and were used globally by 2.9 million students in 2007 (up more than 30% on 2006). Evaluation studies show that the use of the MyLab programmes can significantly improve student test scores and instructional productivity.
  • In corporate finance, one of the largest global markets in business education, Pearson publishes the successful first edition bestseller, Berk/DeMarzo’s Corporate Finance, together with MyFinanceLab. Pearson’s market share increases from 4% to 11% in the US and from 39% to 48% in the UK. It is the most successful launch of a first edition in this discipline in more than a decade and one of Pearson’s most successful global launches ever, winning university adoptions in 22 countries. In World History, the first edition of Fernandez-Armesto’s The World: A History with MyHistoryLab increases Pearson’s market share from 25% to 35%.
  • Acquisition of eCollege builds Pearson’s position as an education services provider. eCollege works with partner educational institutions to design, build and support online degree, certificate, diploma and professional development programmes. Student enrolments increase 44% in 2007 to 1.9 million. eCollege broadens Pearson’s services to academic institutions; Pearson’s scale and reach enable eCollege to access new customers in the school, post-secondary and professional/vocational markets both in the US and worldwide.
  • Pearson is the largest publisher on, a joint venture of the largest US education textbook publishers with over 2,500 titles. provides cost effective ebooks to students and time-efficient review of textbooks for professors.
  • Continued strong double digit growth in our custom solutions business – which builds customised textbooks and online services and has become a leader in the creation of courseware and curriculum for e-learning institutions.

Good progress in international markets

  • In Europe, good revenue growth and strong margin improvement as organic and acquisition investment in international education continues to bear fruit. Particular areas of strength included local language editions of our major authors and custom publishing including the successful launch of ‘local language’ science publishing in Germany.
  • Major programme of adapting/versioning ‘MyLab’ and ‘Mastering’ technology platforms for international markets. MyLab programmes now being used internationally in almost 50 countries, with almost 160,000 student registrations for online courses in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

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