Ebooks are no longer the publishing industry’s latest fad. Moving up from 1% of the market in 2008, they now represent 20% of the revenue of big publishing houses. The debate is no longer on whether ebooks will survive, but on whether they will account for 80% of publishing revenue by the turn of the decade.
Now, publishing firms find that they have to rethink their growth strategies. They must prioritize multiple content delivery platforms over warehouses to store books. In this scenario, the ability to create apps is as significant as typographic design. Crucial questions emerge, such as a viable business model and technology infrastructure for the new-age publisher.
Publishing firms are also discovering that technology investments must adapt to fast-paced industry developments. For instance, while consumer demand for e-readers peaked in 2011, with 23.2 million units, new trend forecasts indicate that with the spiraling demand for tablets, this technology is already on its way out. The struggle for survival will now be between tablets, e-readers, and books. In a market, where new technologies can become obsolete in a couple of years, change management strategies and adaptable technology solutions become key to the survival of enterprises.
Now, new technology also transforms the publishing industry’s existing business models. In recent times, advances in the technology for self-publishing threaten to rewrite industry paradigms. A recent Bowker survey indicates that self publishing has grown 287% in the last five years, and self-published ebooks account for 37% of that growth. While it’s early days yet for self-published ebooks, content creators are becomingly increasingly eager to bypass the publisher, and reach their readers directly. Here, it becomes essential for publishers to distinguish themselves with the value-added services that they can offer both content creators and readers.
The key to success is a flexible and extensible technology infrastructure, where publishing firms can scale up easily and cost effectively when they have a new content offering. A comprehensive digital content strategy for the new age publisher must also include a solution for content creation & management, content delivery, rights & royalties, authentication, search, usage analytics, and payment systems. Publishers would also benefit from a social media strategy that leverages emerging online forums to both understand their customers and promote their products.
Today, publishers have a variety of business models that that can be used to grow revenues, such as pay walls, single item sales, tiered access, extra content, and archive access. Once they have identified an appropriate business model, they must also decide on the data tools and applications that best facilitate their approach.
Clearly, the future is knocking, and publishing firms must identify the strategy that allows them to make the most of this opportunity. So, are you ready for digital technology to transform publishing as we know it? Tell us more about it here.