One of the things we love at BibliU is data. We built the app from the ground-up to make sure we can help institutions improve the way they use course materials, and offer an amazing learning experience to their students. The educational landscape continues to be more data-driven, and with that in mind, I thought it would be interesting to look back over 2019 to see the latest trends and catch a glimpse of the future.

New ways of consuming

We live in a digital world where using phones and tablets are a part of our everyday tasks. From listening to a podcast to searching specific topics of interest, smart phones and tablets have become central to how we engage with the world.

Students expect the same digital experience in their studies.

It's been interesting to see how certain features in our app have increased or decreased over time. The two standouts from our perspective, are text-to-speech and offline downloads.

Text-to-Speech uses per reader have increased

  • 2019: 0.37 text-to-speech uses per reader
  • 2018: 0.27
  • 2017: 0.18

The increased use of Text-to-Speech captures how students are becoming accustomed to podcast and audio content in general, but particularly for educational content.

Offline downloads per reader have decreased

  • 2019: 0.21 offline downloads per reader
  • 2018: 0.26
  • 2017: 0.41

Only a few years ago, the cost of data (particularly for a student) was difficult to justify for a textbook, when Snapchat and Spotify were a "better" choice. Data costs are falling, and as such, there's a greater willingness to stream textbook content.

When students are reading

Since our inception in 2017, there has been a steady increase in reading digital content on our platform. This year there was a total of 100,762 hours of reading with an average of 195 minutes of reading per student. By comparison, the average student clocked in at 165 minutes, last year.

All of our readers - Reading from Sunday to Saturday

In general, students read the most on a Wednesday (by a small margin), closely followed by Monday (the second point on the line graph below). This is probably because they are all stressed out about how little work they've done over the weekend.

The reading drops off from Wednesday to the lowest days (unsurprisingly) on Friday and Saturday.

All users reading, showing drop offs over the weekend

The Bookworms - More consistent

I'm classifying "Bookworms" as our readers who have read for more than 40 hours in total on BibliU. Which is a pretty significant undertaking considering the overall average of just over 3 hours. In a 13 week semester, they are probably approaching the "recommended" amount of reading by their professors.

You can see pretty clearly that those high performing students are reading consistently. Maintaining almost constant reading from Sunday (Day 1) through to Wednesday (Day 4), then relaxing on Friday, before picking up the iPad again on Saturday.

Bookworm reading showing consistent reading across all days

Publishers see the future too

Textbook publishers have long been preparing for the move to digital. It's good news. The paradigm shift means the digital content can be quickly and easily kept current as well as save students money.

Check out the chart below and see a drastic spike in BibliU publishing partnerships in just the last few months. We went from 760 partnerships in April, 2018 to a whopping 1,864 in December, with more publishers coming on board all the time.

Individual Titles

Gathering content is part of the fun in the educational content aggregation game. Over time we've signed new publishers, and started taking on more of their content, that means we've got access to 850,000 titles at BibliU and it's growing daily.

This is quite a mammoth task to manage, with every single book being search indexed, processed, compressed, copyright protected and stored safely away on our Global Content Delivery Network for speedy access.

Closing remarks

I love looking at how the use of BibliU is growing over time, from the first 100 students to well over 40,000. 2019 has been really exciting for BibliU, we changed our name, started delivering Coventry University's Flying Start digital textbook program, and have continued to ramp up our publisher partnerships in the U.S. as well as the U.K..

Let's see what happens in 2020, but I'm expecting it to be another huge year.

- Dave Sherwood