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Teachers are turning over a new leaf with schoolbooks

Teachers want the best tools they can get for educating our kids, and that means choosing the best textbooks at the keenest prices. Enter Irish publisher Educate.ie.

The fastest growing educational publisher in Ireland, Educate.ie's schoolbooks sell at up to 40% below the market price, while delivering the state curriculum in highly engaging and attractive texts that teachers and students love.

Educate.ie MD Tony Walsh says: “We have experienced teachers working in parallel with our highly professional and very experienced editorial and graphic design teams, so that we produce top-quality textbooks which are highly regarded in State schools and in the private education sector.”

Why teachers love the books

Why are the books such a big hit with teachers? Five things:

1. Educate.ie textbooks firmly adhere to the strictures of the state curriculum;

2. The books are written by experienced teachers;

3. They’re edited and produced by a team of experienced editorial staff;

4. The books are rigorously class-tested before being launched in the market-place;

5. Educate.ie provides free online versions of all textbooks. The ebooks are downloaded once, and broadband is then no longer required to access them. This means homework can be completed using the downloaded ebook - no more hauling weighty schoolbags around.

Between them, the Educate.ie editorial team has some 100 years of experience in schoolbook publication.

“We find that teachers are delighted with the quality of the textbook,” says Tony. “They’re delighted with the teachers’ resources provided by the company - and they’re bowled over by the reasonable cost of the books we provide.” All Educate.ie books are printed in Ireland.

A huge plus from the point of view of both teachers and students, is the fact that Educate.ie is the first Irish publishing company to provide a free online version of each textbook free with the hard-copy edition. Once downloaded by the student, the online book is completely accessible.

“This means that students can leave their books in school and do their homework using the online version, thus removing the need to carry heavy schoolbags,” Tony points out.

The price question

The firm’s second-level textbooks are generally about €15 less than those produced by other Irish publishers, Tony explains. Naturally, parents are pretty happy about that.

“Our textbooks never cost more than €20, which is in contrast to other second level school textbooks which in some cases can cost nearly €40," he says. "Our prices for second-level textbooks are, on average, about 40% below the market price for other textbooks.”

He gives the example of the Leaving Certificate Geography textbook, Earth, which costs €19.95 compared to between €32 and €36 for its market equivalent, adding:

“Our Leaving Certificate Home Economics textbook, Complete Home Economics costs €19.95 compared to between €37 and €39 for its equivalent on the market.”

If all second-level schools decided to use only textbooks sourced from Educate.ie, the savings on textbook costs per school would, he estimates, be an average of €20,000.

Educate.ie - the mission in a nutshell

Educate.ie was established in 2009, when Ireland was in the teeth of recession and Tony’s firm, Walsh Colour Print (a trade printing house supplying graphic designers and printers) was feeling the bite of the downturn.

The company was fighting its corner to generate enough business to keep its 75 staff employed, but found it impossible to land contracts to print textbooks - because they were all being printed abroad.

And that’s when the Castleisland, Co Kerry firm took a momentous decision - Tony set up a new educational publishing firm, Educate.ie in Dublin and expanded Walsh Colour Print’s operations to print, first Junior and Leaving Certificate exam papers, and, later, a wide range of textbooks for the primary and second-level sectors.

“At the time my two children had just come through the second-level school system, so we were well aware of the costs involved in schoolbooks and exam papers,” he recalls.

“We made it our mission to supply the students and parents of Ireland with low-cost, quality schoolbooks and exam papers.”

Around that time, a book of exam papers cost up to €7. The same book of exam papers produced by Educate.ie cost €2.50.

Overnight, he recalls, Educate.ie saved the average exam student - who could expect to purchase up to nine books of exam papers for Junior Certificate and seven for the Leaving Certificate - between €30-€40.

“And this was before we even got started on publishing our own textbooks!”

The books of exam papers sold like hot cakes - in its first year Educate.ie sold 250,000 of them, cornering 40% of the market.

Two years later, Educate.ie and Walsh Colour Print produced the company’s first textbook - a high quality English textbook for Transition Year students.

“It was a good way to get ourselves out there. Schools were very receptive,” Tony recalls. Educate.ie followed up that early success with the publication of a range of textbooks for both primary and post-primary students.

The company’s big breakthrough came with the change in the Junior Cert cycle some years ago - in 2014 Educate.ie produced a highly successful Junior Cycle English series. This was followed by a range of textbooks for the Junior Certificate syllabus, which became a regular feature of many school booklists.

Meanwhile Educate.ie was also publishing a successful range of textbooks for Leaving Certificate students, again in a wide range of subjects including English, History, Geography, Construction Studies and Maths. All are doing extremely well.

Initially, reports Tony, teachers were slow to change:

“Over the years they had understood from sales reps that the high cost of textbooks was due to the high costs of printing. They were cautious in the beginning because they could not understand how we could produce quality textbooks at such a reasonable cost.”

But the quality of the textbooks and the reasonable price steadily changed their attitudes.

“We’re now the fastest growing publisher in Europe. Between our two companies we now employ 115 people and we expect the company to expand further,” he says, adding that Educate.ie now supplies textbooks to almost every primary and second-level student in the country.

“We currently have about 15% of the market nationally. We hope to grow our business significantly over the next few years, expand our workforce and grow our presence in the schoolbooks market,” he says, adding that the company calculates that, since the establishment of educate.ie in 2009 it has slashed a massive €50m off the cost of schoolbooks in Ireland.

Take a look at Educate.ie's upcoming publications here:

For more information visit Educate.ie.

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