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Pearson’s digital revenue grew 18 percent to £2 ($3.17) billion (a third of the total) through 2011, as its book publisher Penguin’s e-book…

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Pearson’s digital revenue grew 18 percent to £2 ($3.17) billion (a third of the total) through 2011, as its book publisher Penguin’s e-book sales rose 106 percent and the group reached 43 million students through digital learning services.

Now Pearson (NYSE: PSO) forecasts: “Revenues from digital and services businesses (are) expected to exceed revenues from traditional publishing businesses in 2012.”

Pearson-owned Penguin on Monday reported it has sold 50 million apps and e-book since 2008. E-books now make up 12 percent of its global (£125.4 ($198.3) million) and a fifth of its U.S. sales. “We expect this percentage to increase significantly again in 2012,” the publisher said.

But, with the closure of 750 Borders (U.S.) and REDGroup (Australia and New Zealand) stores contributing to falling print book sales, Penguin revenue fell marginally to £1.04 ($1.65) billion. Penguin says it wants to leverage some of Pearson’s education channels to deliver its digital wares.

Pearson, which is mostly an education services company, says students using its digital learning programmes increased by 23 percent through 2011 to 43 million, including a 22 percent hike in MyLab higher education service sign-ups in north America taking it to nine million users.

FT added 29 percent more digital subscriptions through 2011, taking it to 267,000. In the U.S., the digital subscriber base has already surpassed print FT subscribers (read more).

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