The FutureBook Digital Census: What's Powering Digital Publishing?

Image - iStockphoto: ronstik
Image – iStockphoto: ronstik

Early indications from The FutureBook Digital Census: As our Bookseller colleague Joshua Farrington writes, the response to the survey has been strong:

So far more than 1,000 respondents have completed the survey about the digital book industry, with close to 60% indicating that plain vanilla e-books are still leading the transition.

is this a statement you can get behind? Or do you see another format leading digital growth in publishing? Have you seen growth in another area such as in apps, enhanced ebooks, subscription, audio, print-on-demand (POD) or something else?

How do subscriptions look to you now? Farrington’s report indicates that some 9 percent of respondents say they’re seeing subscriptions start to push digital sales, and we found a surprisingly upbeat reception for subscriptions overall at Frankfurt Book Fair this year. Where does the potential for subscriptions stand in your thinking? How practical do you think high expectations for digital subscriptions may be? How much of a challenge are qualms about compensation to authors and/or publishers of content?

What content leads digital growth? Here’s another point of input we’d like to hear your thoughts on. Farrington writes:

The survey also found that genre fiction remained the strongest growth area, with a quarter of respondents indicating growth in this area, ahead of non-fiction and literary fiction. However, there were also reports of good growth in the academic/education fields.

Do you agree with that assessment? Or do you see another area of growth taking a lead in your own work?

Digital hotspots: How do you see your part of the world’s digital development? Does Farrington’s report of early returns jibe with your experience? He writes:

In terms of which markets are now adopting to digital, the survey pointed to the UK, and US, as the most digitally advanced areas, but also ranked continental Europe in this place. Australia/NZ, Canada, Scandinavia, and India, also scored highly.

What hinders digital growth? This is an interesting area of the survey’s early responses, from Farrington:

When asked what was hindering further growth, customers “wanting free” was highlighted by more than a third of respondents, with discoverability the second concern. Poor marketing, and poor retailer websites, were also mentioned as problems. DRM and piracy were highlighted by less than a fifth of the respondents.

Taken together, what would you say is the toughest hurdle in terms of challenges to further growth?

  • Customers want content free?
  • Discoverability?
  • Poor marketing?
  • Poor retailer websites?
  • DRM?
  • Piracy?

By Porter Ander­son | @Porter_Anderson

The FutureBook: What’s Powering Digital Publishing?

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