University World News, London published a Special Report on e-Books in Higher Education.

I am posting my article which appeared in this Special Report.

The full report can be accessed at

GLOBAL: China and India to dominate education e-books Joseph Tryble*
12 December 2010
Issue: 151

China and India are positioned to take a lead in digital publishing including e-books for use in higher education, digitalising existing content or developing digital avatars of print textbooks with enhanced features which, for example, can show up scientific diagrams in greater detail.

China's digital publishing industry is booming with a mammoth US$12 billion output in 2009. It is propelled by large numbers of digital readers - over 40 companies are manufacturing e-readers in China, many of them offering similar functionality.

These companies are making a big push into the market or promoting their devices to publishers and content providers. Publishers in China have digitised a large amount of content to cater for their huge domestic audience.

The large storehouse of content is integrated with e-readers as free e-books, which helps to familiarise readers with screen reading. That is important because some in the industry believe that once students start to use e-readers, tempted by the free content, publishers can later charge for add-ons such as student assessment packages for course tutors.

Chinese textbook publishers are using the same standardised format, unlike the different standards hampering the e-book market elsewhere in the world, and they are delivering open access e-books to students through CERNET, China's Education and Research Network, accessed by most of the country's higher education institutions.

Although e-books are still in their infancy, the reading devices from China - some of them with multilingual functionality - are gaining popularity in Asia as the price per unit is very competitive. This will be important for the growing student market, which is price-sensitive but potentially very large.

Publishers and aggregators have started to source these cheaper e-readers and sell in local markets across the world. Their ePub compatibility gives them an advantage, so it is likely that Chinese devices will percolate to every corner of the world.

India's advantage is its ability to create digital content for a world audience. The technology and expertise for digitising in India is an attraction, with a strong talent pool that is digital-savvy but is also equipped with multimedia and animation skills -. The number of institutions in the country offering training in these skills has skyrocketed in recent years.

Many technology companies - big ones like Accenture, Tata Interactive, Aptara, and hundreds of startups and smaller players that have mushroomed in Pondicherry, Pune, Bangalore and the environs of New Delhi - are involved in digitising.

But rather than simply copying paper books, academic content from India is being produced with digital enhancements. Indian companies could transform this sector as many are already focusing on e-learning products and have resources in place to leapfrog from pre-press content specialists to full-scale digital publishing offering finished e-books in specific academic disciplines.

e-Books and higher education

e-Books for the higher education audience evolved with Project Gutenberg which provides free e-books and is the oldest digital library, now with 33,000 e-books in its collection. The initial focus was reference books and out of print titles. STM (science, technical and medical) and reference publishers initiated and digitised their current titles and backlists, with reference libraries an assured market for such endeavours.

Then online books available on a subscription basis, the '"cluster purchase'" of e-book collections and downloadable e-books entered the academic field, making access to e-books more convenient for researchers.

Another game changer in open access e-books is the free online textbook offerings of Flat World Knowledge, used by more than 40,000 students on more than 400 US college campuses. These compete with leading textbook publishers, but new options such as print-on-demand softcovers, audio books, chapters and self-print options are innovative.

e-Books are preferred by students because of the price advantage over the print version. On average, e-books are 50% to 60% cheaper than the print version. As textbook usage by students is generally limited to the period of their course, online textbooks sold on a subscription basis have started to gain some acceptance in the US.

Digital book rentals and chapter downloads are also being offered. In the United Kingdom Amil Tolia's start up Reference Tree is generating interest with its announcement that it will offer chapter-wise academic content online.

Universities understand the utility of using e-books as textbooks. Initiatives by the US-based company CourseSmart featuring the textbooks of major publishers have helped digital textbooks gain access across North America.

But a device that could transform the higher education space in the near future will be the Apple iPad. The launching of textbook apps could make the iPad a popular choice for students.

Digitised textbook content needs to be more widespread so that students have a digital option for every print textbook.

Winning over students

However, despite the publishing industry and aggregators' efforts to convert print buyers to digital, the average student still has an affinity for the printed book. Printed books outdo e-books in portability, ease of use, and as a gadget-free experience, while the price of e-readers is still considered high for the average student.

Adoption of digital books will increase proportionally with the decrease in price of e-readers. Devices from China and India are already being released with attractive price tags. The Bambook from Shanda Literature China and Wink from EC Media India are two attractively -priced products launched this year.

However the uptake rate of e-textbooks in emerging nations is currently bleak.

Korea has positioned itself as a leader in e-book usage and promotes their use, for example through the Korean Ministry of Education-sponsored Education & Research Information Service's (KERIS) eBook Consortium for Higher Education. KERIS has formed a consortium of over 70 universities to share access to more than 8,000 e-book titles. The Korean example can be emulated by many countries.

Content creation

Authors, editors, instructional designers and multimedia specialists need to understand students' requirements in creating digital content. These include students' need to annotate e-books and provide interactive links.

Simply putting PDF content on a digital device does not do justice to digital media. Enhanced Editions and Vooks, which combine video, internet links and text, are demonstrating new ways to produce digital content.

eTextbooks can be well integrated into undergraduate courses. Engineering and the sciences need illustrations and detailed photographs. Digital editions can accommodate greater detail and clarity than print versions, while micro zooming options can benefit biology students.

While e-textbooks can integrate features impossible to offer in print versions, the cost of development would make their cost significantly higher than for printed books.

Meanwhile the multitude of file formats of e-books is still a challenge, although ePub is evolving as a more popular format, thanks to the efforts of the International Digital Publisher's Forum (IDPF) - the trade and standards organisation dedicated to the development and promotion of electronic publishing - which has adopted it.

Off-shoring digital development to countries such as India, the Philippines and Sri Lanka can keep the development cost lower. As with the success of eTutoring in off-shore tutoring, e-publishing for education too will have a larger presence in India as Indian education specialists can help develop good value e-textbooks. The technical expertise, adaptability of the work force to new technologies and cost savings give the country an advantage in off-shoring digital content development.

The Chinese invented paper in 105 AD and pioneered printing too. China is now positioned to make the world read digitally. Similarly, India's ancient writings and epics in Sanskrit are a treasure house of knowledge. These emerging countries now have the potential to contribute to learning in the digital way.

* Joseph Tryble is based in Trivandrum, India, as zonal sales manager for the global publishers Pearson Education. The views expressed here are his own.

Joseph Tryble  @ Kerala

Hony. Gen. Secretary
The Federation of Indian Publishers

16 December 2010

Pearson Education
7th Floor,
Knowledge Boulevard
A-8 (A) Sector 62
Noida 201 309 (UP)


Dear Sirs,
We thank you for having sent your entries for the Awards for Excellence in Book Production 2010.

We are pleased to inform you that the following title(s) of your Publishing House has/have been selected for the Award:

Principles of Marketing
Textbooks: Colleges (English)

The ceremony for Awards for Excellence in Book Production will take place on 31 December 2010 at 4.00 p.m. in the Auditorium in Hall No. 8, at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi.

You are kindly requested to receive the Award personally. In case you are not in a position to attend, you may please depute your representative for the purpose. In that case, please intimate us the name of the representative who would be receiving the Award on your behalf. Kindly ensure that you or your representative reaches the Auditorium in Hall No. 8, Pragati Maidan, New Delhi, at 3.45 p.m. on 31 December 2010 positively.

Thanking you.

Yours faithfully,


Learning English

Everywhere you go in India, you hear the need for English Language Teaching, and to the layperson (such as I), it appears to be a recent development. Consequently, I was amazed to read the excerpt below from Ramachandra Guha's fascinating new book "Makers of Modern India" (Penguin /Viking, 2010). It is by Syed Ahmed Khan ( the founder of Aligarh Muslim University), from 1882:

"Vernacular education is no more regarded as sufficient for our daily affairs of life. It is only of use to us in our private and domestic affairs, and no higher degree of proficiency than what is acquired in primary and middle vernacular schools is requisite for that purpose; nor is more wanted by the country. It is English education which is urgently needed by the country and by the people in their daily life. It will be useless to realise the truth of what I have said by any theoretical argument when we practically find so many proofs of it every day. We see that an ordinary shopkeeper, who is neither himself acquainted with English nor has any English knowing persons in his employment, feels it is [a] serious hindrance in the progress of his business. Even the itinerant pedlars and boxwalas, who go from door to dr selling their articles, keenly feel the necessity of knowing at least the English names of their commodities, and of being able to tell their prices in English. A gentleman who visits a merchant's or a chemist's shop to make necessary purchases , but is neither acquainted with English nor is accompanied by a person knowing that language, feels his position as one of real perplexity. In consequence of the facilities afforded for travelling, respectable men are often under the necessity of sending and receiving telegraphic messages, and their ignorance of English proves a serious hardship to them.

..The state of affairs has therefore been so altered during the last thirty years that a necessity for English education is as much felt as that for a Vernacular one..."

I found it astonishing that the argument is so unchanged over 128 years, with the possible need to replace the telegraphic message with e-mail. And still we debate...


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Every day, around 11 in the morning, a postman comes to deliver letters to our doors. He slides in a bunch of letters through a slit in the door, and the entire act, which takes about five seconds, is a noisy affair – he always manages to bang the outer door against the wooden door, and pushes the letters in through the slit, which carelessly fall all over the carpet, creating arbitrary paper patterns. Mostly, these are letters from banks, insurance companies, housing offices and the university office. Sometimes, these letters are addressed to other students who have lived here in the past, and have not informed them of their change in address.


Yesterday, the postman came and repeated the same rituals. I carelessly collected the letters from the floor, and was sorting them out, when I noticed a bunch of letters, with the Pearson logo, addressed to my roommate. Just as a brief introduction, my roommate is in the teacher-training program at Stanford. Just a bunch of plain white envelopes with a very familiar blue logo set me off on a time travel!


It's been almost four months since I have become an ex-employee of Pearson Education. Like any other firsts in life, this having been my first job has been very special to me. As Nagma (my roommate) was tearing open her letters, I stood there with a smug smile, almost giving her the impression like I own the company! She doesn't really figure out why I have that stupid grin and a proud expression lurking on my face! I don't either!


A few days ago, work-day thoughts came floating by. I logged in to, and checked out all the books I have worked on, how they're doing, what they look like now (from an ex-employee's point of view), and what kind of memories I have associated with each of them. I write to my ex-boss trying to find out the status of a rather long-drawn project. He writes back giving me details of author feedback. I share one of the links (with the cover and the book details of my last project) with my ex-copyeditor, who had copyedited the book.


I'm a part of a campus group that meditates and chants Buddhist prayers every Wednesday morning. Today, when we were chanting prayers at a student's apartment, I kept getting distracted by the bookshelf that was right in front of me – lines of engineering books, untidily arranged on the shelf, with the familiar blue logo! The moment we finished chanting, I blurted out, pointing at the blue logo peering from the weary bookshelf, 'That is my ex-company!' EunYi, a friend who chants with us, exclaimed, 'You owned a company!' I corrected myself, 'Sorry, I meant to say, I worked for that company before I came here!' She looked at me rather surprised at the pride I exhibited!


I came back home, missing the office and all the friends I had made there. Images of my desk in the new office facing the giant window, of getting coffee from the Bunker, turning back and sharing inane jokes with Y, trying hard to stifle the laughter gurgling up my throat clogged my brain. I looked up the blog Web site, and found a post from the CEO (soon to become the ex-CEO, as I hear), announcing a prize for blog posts. I read Soumitri's beautiful post about airports in the country. I closed the window, scolded myself for not studying for my exams (which are just round the corner) and engaging in a nostalgic romanticization of an ex-worklife. I diligently went back to the life I am committed to now.


Just now, between study breaks, after making dinner and before dish washes, I clicked the refresh button unmindfully. I laughed out loud reading about the prize withdrawal and imagining Vivek's hungover state! And even though I realize that Pearson has been shifted to the line of things I have left behind, I knew I had to write something on the blog, even if it meant attaching the tiny little 'ex' with almost every second word in a sentence!


No wine left

It has been pointed out to me that my crass offer of a prize to spur contributions to this blog have turned off all those who might have thought of writing something. I must apologise for that, and by way of punishing myself, I finished off all my wine stocks last night. The prize is therefore withdrawn, and if I look a bit grumpy today its only because I'm a bit hungover...
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For Amusement (not reward)


Airports are fascinating places, you would agree. They tell stories. And if you have a fertile imagination you would regard and treat them as people, existing in diverse time and space. For example, the airport at Kolkata exudes the weary charms of a fatigued traveller and Mumbai overwhelms one with its relentless representation of the eternal enthusiast. Guwahati straddles the two extremes with great awkwardness while Dimapur fits into the shoes of a trepid amateur. Ranchi, on the other hand, is truly an impoverished icon of the Old World.   

Indira Gandhi International Airport, the Mother of all our airports, is no ordinary entity but a champion of the turbulent multitude. It is a symposium of frayed nerves and hyperactive impulses. It misses, fails, falls, rises, levitates, descends and crashes. It is a universe in pristine state—supreme Chaos—unspoilt by order and discipline. And the exquisite feather—T3—which has recently been added to its glittering cap expands its scope of fallibility to phenomenal depths and heights.

Being the pride of our nation, the IGIA accurately portrays the sentiments as well as quirks of Indian life. India shines and one may get dazzled by this shine as soon as one steps into the IGIA. This shine is sustained by misleading display boards; an amiable staff which comfortably exists in absentia or confusion; frequent conflicts and tussles between aircrafts regarding space (runway space, air space, etc) and time (of departure as well as arrival) and crucial, postmodern breaches of communication between the indoor and outdoor worlds (for example, the airport staff and the airline crew). Here, the relevance of the theory of ‘Survival of the Fittest’ can be put to an acid-test in the context of the current world order. The species which ‘survives’ unscathed, will be hailed as the Masters of Heaven and Earth. If chaos precedes order (or vice-versa) and reaction precedes revolution (or vice-versa), I wonder what IGIA holds in store for us in the years to come! However, at present it effectively binds humanity in an unruly mess. It is a giant, frothy wave which happily tosses people and things (for example, luggage) about in jest and playfulness.

This rambling piece of writing is not an ingratiating gesture (I’m not in the race for that bottle). It is my tribute to a fascinating world where I spend a lot of time, perfectly attuned to the mayhem, called (for the sake of being cheesy) life!






Staying alive

Isn't it tragic how little traffic there is on this blog? Even my random musings have stopped..

So first of all, here's another contest to get this moving again - how about another bottle of wine from my personal stash to the best posting over the next two weeks? Since Soumitri and I were the last two people to post, I'm appointing us as the judges.

And for those of you who are interested, I had a successful visit to my future home country - I was trying to find a school for my son and a home for us in the space of 4 days, and thanks to the remarkable organisation by my wife, we were able to select both. So while we are still awaiting confirmations, we have a pretty good idea of what our life could look like.
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Is being paranoid good? When the Commonwealth Games were a few months away, I was sure that we would be unable to get to our office from Delhi. We made arrangements for people to work from home, or to travel so that we would be able to continue to work through these two weeks.

The reality has been somewhat different - the roads are empty, making it easier to get to our office than ever before. I don't know what the metro is like, but I assume that's less crowded as well.

So I guess that was a bad error of judgement. But its probably better to have been paranoid than to have been unprepared should it have turned out the other way. Also, maybe we'll learn how well working from home works for us.


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Speed dial!

A very intelligent Gorgon once said, ‘Life changes before you get a chance to bat an eyelid!’ Yes, it does, most of us will agree. Little babies grow into impressive adults, adults change addresses like butterflies, lovers part, interests wither, hobbies transform and climates alter. All such exciting and dramatic changes make our lives terribly exciting. This is exactly the stuff that thousands of poems are written about! Nothing remains constant. Everything suffers an inevitable end.

But, if you are/have been an employee of Pearson Education, the company will offer you something which will never pass, end or leave you. You may quit, your designation may change (or be taken away), all your stationery items may be snatched away, your laptop may break down, you may be fired (or killed), but your speed dial, once assigned will become an inseparable part of your existence. Yes, you may have moved on in life (and changed five jobs post-Pearson) but your past will continue to haunt you in the form of occasional (or frequent) frantic calls from your innocent ex-colleagues. It could be equally embarrassing as well as startling for both but the curse of the speed dial will outlive that feeling (and you). You may have been determined never to allow certain voices come within earshot. But Pearson will keep unleashing upon you these blasts (or tremors) from the past. In this day and age, when you hesitate to exchange vows of eternal companionship even with your pet tortoise, you got your speed dial to fill the void.

However, if such promises of eternity don’t mean a thing to you, it is advisable to change your cell-phone number once you set out towards greener pastures.




School NSM pictures link

The School NSM pictures are available at




Kapil Kant Kaul

Manager, Learning & Development




Pearson Education

7th Floor, Knowledge Boulevard

A-(8A), Sector 62,

Noida 201309 (U.P.)



Ph: +91-120-4190287

Fax: +91-120-4190350

Web site:  




Work and Play

It’s been a while since I visited the blog site and posted anything. As I was browsing through the Web site just now, I realized that the first post was uploaded on 25 July 2008, exactly two years ago! I am a person who is easily impressed with such instances of coincidence. And as I played with dates and years, rolling them in my mind to and fro, from past to present to some unforeseen future, I figured that there remains only five more days for me to call myself an employee of Pearson Education.  

I suddenly remember how often, when I was in school, I would only finish reading those books that I borrowed from libraries or from friends – those that came with deadlines. And the books I would buy would remain untouched at home, gathering dust, in piles and rows. I guess I felt a similar kind of urgency to post something on the blog, while I am still able to. So I sit in front of the computer, with nothing worthwhile in my head that I can write about.

My mind devises a silly game. It splits into two – SA and SB. SA asks SB questions, and SB answers them as truthfully as possible.

SA: So how does it feel to realize that there are only five days left?

SB: Well, it’s been three years, which is quite some time. Honestly, now that you remind me I am quitting in five days, I suddenly feel a bit emotional.

SA: Tell me about some of your experiences?

SB: I get flashes of the first day in the office, Y and I tucked away in the farthest end of the basement, the uncontrollable giggles we had to fight in our attempts to be a part of the adult world; the stay at Patparganj with four other friends; the nastiness of landladies; the initial rickshaw rides, and later the bus rides, to work; the friends I made; the trips in and around the city with them; the NSMs; the trust in machines that create books from authors fed into them (well, Amar will able to explain that better to those who are unaware of such advanced technologies); the variety of authors I got to interact with; the variety of manuscripts I had to figure out; the thrill of seeing the manuscript turn into a printed book (I still remember how I jumped around the basement in jubilation, when I saw the The Naxal Challenge as a book. It was the first ever project I had worked on, while I was still an intern. The transformation from a bunch of A4 sheets to a printed book seemed nothing less than magical!)…

SA: Ok, come on, sum this up in one line.

SB: I learnt every day, and I loved the learning.

As I am about to wrap up the game I play with myself, I realize how much I am going to miss everyone at PEI and also being a part of the organization. A friend of mine tells me I should concentrate on the adventures that lie ahead, rather than look at what I would be leaving behind, and my mind obediently wanders off to the distant land I will soon inhabit and things I might learn there.


The ipad

How many of you are seeing Apple ipads turning up everywhere? I find myself on planes a lot of the time, and over the last few months, I think I get to see at least one user on every domestic flight - and since I rarely fly business class, there may be more users up front.

That's still not a large number, one person in about 200, and clearly this is not scientific research, but I have the feeling they are going to be ubiquitous pretty soon..


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Winner of School NSM theme contest 2010

The wait is over! This year’s School NSM theme is:


Educating Generation Next!


The winning theme came from Deepika (Chennai editorial team).


Congratulations, Deepika!!!!




Prashant Rathore


Dear Banerjee,

                     My NSM theme is DREAM BIG……AIM HIGH







Thanks& Regards,










Pl find some entries from my side.









NSM theme contest

Pls. find my theme caption for your doing the needful


Babichan Joseph

NSM Theme (Sent at 28/june : 8:58Pm)

My suggested them is


“Lets change the way India sees us”



Susobhan Biswas

FW: NSM THEME... 2010


From: Shuchita []
Sent: Monday, June 28, 2010 7:13 PM
To: ''
Subject: NSM THEME... 2010


 NSM 2010 Theme….





                  1. Beyond your Imagination…. Within your Reach!!!!!





                                                                                              2. Think Digital   !!!!! Think Pearson   !!!!!!!!






 Shuchita Chaturvedi

Asstt. Marketing Manager

Pearson Education

New No: 13, Old No: 06,

Rajamannar Street,

Off G.N.Chetty Road,

T-Nagar, Chennai – 600 017

Phone:    044 42924500, extn 501

DID:       044 42924501

Mobile:  +91 94443 90857



P please consider the environment before printing this e-mail



NSM THEME... 2010

 NSM 2010 Theme….





                          1. Beyond your Imagination…. Within your Reach!!!!!





                                                                                                     2. Think Digital   !!!!! Think Pearson   !!!!!!!!













Asstt. Marketing Manager


Pearson Education

New No: 13, Old No: 06,

Rajamannar Street,

Off G.N.Chetty Road,

T-Nagar, Chennai – 600 017

Phone:    044 42924500, extn 501

DID:       044 42924501

Mobile:  +91 94443 90857



P please consider the environment before printing this e-mail



School NSM 2010 Theme Contest

 NSM 2010 THEME 















Shobhit Jain

NSM Theme

Dear Sir/Madam,


Kindly find below the theme for NSM 2010.


Don’t compromise for better tomorrow-“Study today”




Anand Vanarse


NSM Theme

A Journey from Chalk to Chip…

…and it continues. Teachers with chalk and board are an indispensable part of teaching, however, the idea is to find niches where digital supplements work to support the teachers, find the right moments to pitch in the visual medium for better conceptual clarity and make learning an enabling and engaging process for the young minds.

Mission Digital Connect

For Pearson School Space, this is the way to go!



v      “Quest for the Best”


v      “Catch the Wave”


v      “Roll With the Changes”





Deepa Tandon



School NSM Theme Contest 2010


my theme entry for NSM is    BELIEVE, ACHIEVE,OUTSMART .


Vishal Sinha




One more….


Reflect…Rejoice…..Move on……..





NSM Theme contest 2010 continues......

Few more:
Pearson 2010- Press key publishing
Think Web. Think Pearson.
Pearson 2.0- thinks beyond education


My suggestions:  (could be any one of the following)


1)       Seize the movement

2)       Lets ride a bigger wave

3)       Reflect… Rejoice….Ride on……….







My NSM Theme

My NSM Theme is…..


“Leading to Excellence”


Ravi Verma


FW: NSM Theeme


My NSM Theme is……..


Reach beyond success


Jaya prakash


Dear g banarjee,

I would like to know more about the contest


with Warm Regards, 
VINOD T S, Sales Executive, Sreekrishnavilasam
( House), T C 16/1576 Ulloor line, ULRA 67 A, Near D P I  Jn ,Jagathy,p o , Thiruvananthapuram (DT), Kerala (S T). South India, PIN 695014, Mob: 99466-46691.


Nsm theme

Theme- 1 working together for success.

Theme - 2
Progress with success

Mohd. Tauqeer



Pl find some entries from myside.









NSM theme contest 2010: Extension of deadline

Giving in to the fact that a lot of people access internet only from the office desk. We are pleased to announce extension of deadline to mid day of June 28th 2010

Sent from my Nokia phone

No anonymous entries please

Please send in all your entries with names......

Sent from my Nokia phone








My theme is:-    Lets empower tomorrow





Ashwani Bhargava

Pearson Education

Knowledge Boulevard,

A-8(A), Sector-62,

Noida (UP)

Mob: +91-9810909100


NSM Theme

My NSM theme for 2010 is


PEARSON 10 0N 10



About this blog

This blog is for all employees of Pearson in India . We hope to share updates - both personal and professional - from the worlds of education and publishing.