NEXT: Five Minutes with Jeff Miller

Submitted by BNCAdmin on Wed,08/16/2017-10:10

Amid some of the rapid changes occurring in the world of textbook distribution, we took the opportunity to spend five minutes with Jeff Miller, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at MBS Textbook Exchange. A new addition to the Barnes & Noble Education family, Miller shares his point of view on some of the challenges and opportunities facing the industry, the changes in education at large — and what it takes for him to reveal his inner Dumbledore.

What was your first job?

I’ve played football, and have always loved sports, so as a college student, I think I had aspirations of working in the front office for a baseball or football team. I obviously didn’t calculate well enough that there are only so many of those kinds of positions, and I was fortunate enough to land at a retail software company right out of college — and I’ve been involved with retail and retail technology ever since.

How would you describe MBS and the kinds of programs you work on with clients?

MBS allows schools to simplify the whole business of student access to course materials. We do that in a number of ways, but as the world of course materials becomes ever more complicated, we’re able to help make that process a lot easier through the flexibility of the various programs we provide.

What are you working on right now in your partnership with Barnes & Noble College?

So many things! The acquisition of MBS by Barnes & Noble Education is still relatively new, so that’s a lot of my focus right now. What’s interesting is how quickly and efficiently we’re working together, and the scale of our combined organizations — now a $2.3 billion-dollar company — puts us in a very different position compared to other players in the education market. Together, we’re able to offer first-rate solutions that a lot of other companies just can’t provide.

In your view, what’s the biggest challenge facing higher education today?

Well, and I don’t think this is any kind of revelation, but what we’re seeing is the confluence of the on-campus and online student coming together. There’s an opportunity there too, of course, because although there is no such thing as a”‘traditional” student model anymore, the schools who are doing it best are learning just how you teach to those different kinds of learning experiences — and building a campus learning model alongside an online presence.

How important is the issue of cost in the current textbook market?

It can certainly be a barrier to entry and I think we’ve seen a lot of research that supports that, but again, I think it comes down to the ability to be able to offer students options – rental, new, used or online formats — and make them as easy as possible to obtain.

Where do you see the future of the book publishing industry?

It’s hard to predict, but if you look at the way other major industries have been transformed — the music business or retail itself for example — this industry has experienced change as well. Technology is a major piece in how students access, buy and interact with learning materials, and we’ll continue to come out with new solutions to cater to that.

What would you be doing if you weren’t doing this?

If all things were equal, and the if the paychecks were the same, I’d love to be doing something in sports, particularly football for sure.

Books and learning are definitely in the DNA of MBS, do you have a favorite book, or a book you’re currently reading?

I’m the father of two soon-to-be nine-year-old daughters, and we’re a year into the Harry Potter series. We started with the books, but now we’re watching the movies, which requires being dressed up as our favorite character. A lot of times, I get to be Dumbledore.

Most valuable thing you’ve learned working in your industry?

The thing I’ve learned from a sales and marketing career is that you never count your chickens….

Best day at MBS (so far?)

The heritage of both Barnes & Noble College and MBS started with Len Riggio, which means we both have annual sales meetings, and the opportunity to recognize the contributions our people make to our companies. It’s always gratifying to hand out awards to people who have been here for such a long time, and you can tell, feel good about their careers.


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NEXT: Barnes & Noble Education, Major Educational Content Providers Commit to Fight Counterfeit Textbooks

Submitted by BNCAdmin on Tue,08/01/2017-15:00

Cengage, Elsevier, McGraw-Hill Education, and Pearson today announced an agreement with Barnes & Noble Education, Inc. to implement the industry’s Anti-Counterfeit Best Practices. The best practices were developed to assist publishers and distributors in combating counterfeits of print textbooks, a growing problem facing the industry.


Sales of counterfeit books are harmful to students, educators, publishers and distributors. The rise of illegal counterfeit materials in the market results in reduced incentives for publishers to invest in new content and technology to improve learning. In addition, distribution of counterfeit materials infringes on the publishers’ copyright and trademark rights and ultimately limits royalties due to authors and designers.


Barnes & Noble Education and MBS Textbook Exchange, one of the largest textbooks distributors that was recently acquired by Barnes & Noble Education, joins Ingram and Chegg as distributors working proactively with publishers to reduce the distribution of counterfeit materials.


At Barnes & Noble Education, our mission is to serve the students and faculty at our campuses nationwide. We recognize the importance of protecting the intellectual rights of publishers and authors, and remain steadfast in our ongoing commitment to enforce these rights as we have in the past, now guided by the publishers’ Anti-Counterfeit Best Practices. We look forward to working with our publishing partners to ensure the higher education community has access to authentic, high-quality course materials,” said Patrick Maloney, President, Barnes & Noble College.


“As a standalone company and, now, as part of Barnes & Noble Education, MBS has always taken the fight against counterfeiting very seriously. We will continue to work with our publishing partners to get affordable, authentic textbooks into the hands of students,” said David Henderson, President, MBS.


“By closely collaborating with Barnes & Noble Education and other industry partners in our fight against counterfeit sales, we stand united in our commitment to reduce the negative impact of piracy in the market,” said Michael Hansen, CEO, Cengage. “We will continue to be aggressive in our efforts to protect our intellectual property rights and the rights of our authors so that we can continue to invest in innovation to improve teaching and learning.”


We are pleased to engage with Barnes & Noble College and like-minded leaders in the industry to demonstrate our solidarity against counterfeiting,” said Suzanne BeDell, Managing Director, Education, Reference & Continuity, Elsevier. “Working together will help protect the IP of our authors and safeguard the public from piracy’s negative effects.”


The best practices outline steps to verify suppliers and avoid illegitimate sources. They require distributors to verify the sources of their textbooks, inspect inventory that has a high risk of being counterfeit and prevent it from infecting their inventory. And when a distributor finds counterfeit books, there is agreement to share information about the materials and the supplier with the publishers so they can focus their enforcement efforts on the culprits.


The Anti-Counterfeit Best Practices are available at www.stopcounterfeitbooks.com with the goal that all publishers and distributors adopt and implement them as well. The Educational Publishers Enforcement Group (EPEG) is committed to pursuing their legal rights against anyone who is involved or who facilitates the distribution and sale of counterfeit textbooks, as well as those who engage in digital piracy. EPEG is hopeful that the adoption of the Best Practices by Barnes & Noble Education’s 1,400 physical and virtual bookstores will prove to have a dramatic effect on the number of counterfeits currently in the marketplace. EPEG is also currently in discussions with other distributors to sign on to the Best Practices as well.


“McGraw-Hill is pleased to see Barnes & Noble Education join Chegg and Ingram in adopting these best practices. We hope other distributors will follow their lead,” said McGraw-Hill Education CEO, David Levin. “The trade in counterfeits is not a benign one – it is based on the theft of intellectual property, and reduces the incentive to create new and improved educational materials.”


“By agreeing to these best practices, Barnes & Noble College is setting a strong example on the right way to combat counterfeit textbooks and piracy,” said Kevin Capitani, president, North America at Pearson. “We will continue to advocate for the integrity of high quality courseware and are pleased to be working with distributors that share that commitment.”


The Publishers worked cooperatively through EPEG to achieve agreement with Barnes & Noble Education on the Best Practices. EPEG was represented by Oppenheim + Zebrak, LLP, and Barnes & Noble Education was represented by Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher, LLP.


Article reposted from Barnes & Noble College NEXT.

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