College Course Materials Trends and Outlook 2019-2021


Attention: There is an updated edition available for this report.

College Course Materials Trends and Outlook 2019-2021

Whether one is selling content or services, student enrollment fluctuations continue to be a strong factor in determining growth opportunities in the college publishing industry in the U.S.

Simba Information’s report College Course Materials Trends and Outlook 2019-2021 examines trends in student enrollment by institutional type. In addition, the report provides insights into shifting federal and state policies and changing approaches to higher education. The competitive strategies of leading college publishers and distributors are also discussed.

The report concludes with an outlook for the higher education market and an analysis of key opportunities and challenges that industry players need to know about.

Additional topics include:

  • Course materials sales projections by segments for 2019-2021
  • Impact of open educational resources on publishers
  • Workforce development by traditional higher education institutions
  • Increasing adoption of inclusive access agreements
  • Analysis of expected drivers behind industry changes

This new edition is the second in a series of annual reports that provide an overview of the changing market for instructional resources in higher education in the U.S. The first in the series, State of College Course Materials 2017-2018, was published in December 2018 and focused on the market landscape and competitive environment for instructional resources for college programs.


  • Methodology
  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
    • Services
    • Shifting Landscape
  • Student Enrollment
    • Table Projected Undergraduate Full and Part-Time Enrollment by Institution Type, 2017 vs. 2022P vs. 2027P (# in 000)
    • Community Colleges
    • NSCRC Says Enrollment Is Down
    • Dip in California Enrollment
  • Federal and State Policies
    • Federal Budget and Policy
      • Higher Education Act
      • Rewriting Regulations
    • State Support for Higher Education
      • Table State Fiscal Support for Higher Education, FY2019 vs. FY2018 (Fiscal 2019 is July 1, 2018-June 30, 2019; $ in 000; ranked by % change)
      • California Models Higher Ed Spending Expectations
      • CA Textbook Law
        • Table Sample of State Higher Education Initiatives
  • Changing Approaches to Higher Education
    • Dual Enrollment
      • Table Characteristics of Dual Enrollment Programs, 2016
      • Maine Invests in Early College
      • Role for MOOCS
    • Workforce Development
      • Workforce Needs and Four-Year Institutions
        • Table Institutions Represented in the APLU Working Group
      • Degrees, Certificates and/or Credentials
      • Woz U Offers Targeted Skill Courses
      • Amazon Offers Courses
    • Online Education Continues to Grow
      • Table Online Undergraduate Enrollment in Higher Education, Fall 2017
      • Foregoing Online Courses
      • From Community College to Master's Degrees
      • New Online at University of Massachusetts
  • Publishing Strategies
    • Content Increasingly Becomes Digital and Smart
      • Table Higher Education and Scholarly Publishing, 2018 vs. 2017 ($ in 000,000)
      • Pearson
      • Cengage
        • Table Simba Information's Leading College Publishers by Revenue, 2018 vs. 2017 ($ in 000)
      • McGraw-Hill Education
      • John Wiley & Sons
    • Transitioning to Digital
      • Digital Drives Majority of Pearson Revenue
        • Table Higher Education Digital Metrics of Major U.S. Publishers, 2018
      • Cengage Expects Revenue Growth in FY 2019
      • McGraw-Hill Education, Wiley Look for Results in Print and Digital
    • OER Moves Forward
      • OER in Large Introductory Courses
      • Costs Involved in OER
        • Table OpenStax's Top 10 Institutions by Number of Student Users of its Textbooks, 2017-2018
      • OpenStax Publishes New Business Series
      • Publishers Adjust to OER
      • Knewton Combines AI and Open
  • Distribution Strategies
    • Inclusive Access
      • Table Selected Beneficial Impacts of New Distribution Models by Publisher, Winter, 2018
      • Increasing Adoptions at Cengage
    • Textbook Rentals
    • Services Hubs
      • Chegg Services by Subscription
      • Follett Outsources Wholesale to Nebraska Book
      • Barnes & Noble Education Counts on Inclusive Access and Digital Services
      • Changes at Amazon
  • Conclusions & Outlook
    • Conclusions and Opportunities
    • Projections
      • Table Sales Forecast by Segment of Key College Course Materials 2017-2021 ($ in 000,000)

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