Educational Publisher Capitalizes on Copyright Violations

June 2000
by Hilary R. Burke

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Publishers of English-language learning texts for non-native English speakers are losing considerable revenue to copyright violations worldwide. Easy access to the photocopier and inexpensive printing has made it possible for language institutions to copy, and in some cases resell, whole books again and again.

What can realistically be done about it? This is the question that we at Point-to-Point have been asking ourselves since we started publishing ESL (English Second Language) texts in 1987. And only within the last year have we come up with a solution which will use these copyright violations to our advantage. Here it is….

We are now incorporating advertising messages into our 2001 Editions on idiomatic English for advanced learners. The messages will contain key points from the grammar lessons and blend smoothly into the text. In this way, language instructors will not be tempted to cut and paste or white-out advertising messages before photocopying or recording.

Blending these messages into the text will not only allow us to recuperate lost revenue, but it will also benefit advertisers with long-term multiple exposure because learners of English will read and review the incorporated messages many times.

How will learners and teachers react to this never-before blending of advertisements into grammar lessons? That remains to be seen. Although the results of our market surveys have been positive, we know that only time will give us the answer. Fortunately, our texts are marketed to professionals and business people and not to school-aged children.

What kinds of ads have we selected for the text? So far, we have accepted ads from language schools, publishers, software producers, and hotels.

How will blending advertisements into our books affect pricing? We do not foresee significant changes in the near future, except in countries, such as Italy, where import duties are levied on books containing advertising.


Hilary R. Burke is the Owner of Point-to-Point. Burke can be reached at pointtopoint@canada.com or 613/237-4658.

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