Publisher Enters New Chapter in Textbooks

ebookdownloadHoughton Mifflin Harcourt plans to unveil the biggest deal in its history: a $40 million, multiyear contract with Detroit public schools. But this is not the typical agreement to sell a textbook to every student.

Instead, Houghton will be providing a computer-based teaching system it developed with Microsoft Corp. that will connect teachers, students, and administrators. It’s a radical shift away from the classic textbook publishing model and represents an industry transformation, as technology supplants books.

“The textbook is no longer the center of the educational universe,’’ said Wendy Colby, a senior vice president at Houghton, which is based in Boston. The Boston publisher is selling some textbooks to Detroit, but most of the contract is for such software such as Learning Village—a customized, interactive classroom network.

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(The Boston Globe 10.29.09)

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