Oxford University Press, the largest university press in the world, has hired editors to enter the textbook market in Brazil. In the past five months, it has hired at least three people who previously worked at Moderna, one of the largest textbook publishers in the country, as well as editors from two other leading companies in the education business, Saraiva and Abril Educação.
OUP didn’t provide details on its plans when contacted by PublishNews, but said is it “looking for strategic partners for various initiatives” in the country. In other countries, OUP publishes educational books in a wide range of areas, but in Brazil, until now, it only sold English-language learning titles. More recently, it has started selling Spanish-language learning books as well.
At present, it is not clear whether OUP will attempt to participate in government book acquisition programs or if it will concentrate efforts in the private market, as the British group Pearson has been doing in Brazil. For the moment, editors at OUP are not working on submitting titles for the Programa Nacional do Livro Didático (PNLD) 2014, the current government program open for the acquisition of books aimed at students in the 6th to 9th grades. The application period for PNLD begins in 9th December and ends in May 2012.
Over the last decade, several international publishers have had their eyes on the Brazilian textbook market. Some of the most relevant transactions were conducted by Spanish group Santillana, which acquired Moderna in 2001; by SM, which established its own operations in 2004; by Portuguese company LeYa, which also started its own business, and by Pearson, which chose to grow through acquisitions.
Last year, Pearson, the world’s largest provider of educational services, bought several important learning systems in Brazil from SEB — including Dom Bosco, Pueri Domus and COC — for 326 million pounds. As a result, it doubled its market share in the Brazilian educational publishing market.
There have been other smaller movements as well. Macmillan, for instance, which in Brazil only works with language learning books, has enrolled some titles in government programs and will have them introduced to public schools already in 2012.