Why hasn’t the tech industry disrupted the textbook industry yet?

Marc Bodnick, Co-Founder, Elevation PartnersCo-Founder, Elevation Partners

My sense is that it’s happening slowly in ways that are hard to see. There are some cool companies working this problem, including Inkling.

But a big reason for the slowness is that textbook buying decision-making is done by government bodies — state education agencies and departments that make these decisions. These decisions are very political and there a ton of political / content hoops to jump through. The big traditional textbook publishers are really good at working this system, and the bureaucracy / bureaucratic rules represent a major barrier to entry for startups.

This is why a lot of investors dislike the K-12 education sector — because spending decisions are overwhelmingly made by government organizations, rather than by individuals. And these government organizations don’t usually optimize for what’s in the interest of the student.


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