Publishing evolved. Publishing evolving. Evolve to keep up.
Publishing is evolving at an astoundingly fast pace with more and more industry leaders jumping on the digital bandwagon. Consumers are migrating to digital consumption at a very fast pace, and the need to provide them with enhanced reading tools is becoming more and more challenging. In Sept’09 the Association of American Publishers (AAP) in conjunction with the IDPF, released sales statistics of ebooks. The report announced that Trade ebook sales were $15,900,000 for September, a 170.1% increase over September 2008 ($5,900,000). Calendar Year to Date sales are up + 176.1%. Q3 2009 wholesale trade sales reached new heights at $46,500,000 compared against $13,900,000 (Q3 2008) and $37,600,000 (Q2 2009)
These astounding numbers clearly indicate where the publishing market is headed and several corporations in diverse industries have taken their cue. Disney, the largest media and entertainment conglomerate in the world, best selling author - Stephen Covey, HMH Publishers, Time magazine etc. are just few examples of those who have set up different and unique strategies to make their content digital.
Education giant Sesame Workshop, too has followed suit. Sesame Street a pioneer of contemporary educational television standard completed its 40th anniversary on Nov 10th 2009 and has set into motion several strategic plans for the next 40 years to come. One of these was its decision to digitize over 900 of its 5000 odd titles published over the past four decades. Its ebook strategy is aimed at appealing to children born in the current digital age. They look to technology in every aspect of their life – entertainment, learning, relaxing and so on. Their reading, learning and information search habits depend almost entirely on technology.
These learning’s have led Sesame Street to add ebooks as part of their growth strategy. This offering allows Sesame Street a wider reach to audiences across vast geographies to provide them with a whole new reading experience that will complement their ongoing print publishing titles. It also supports their ongoing mission to provide new, engaging, educational media that will help children reach their highest potential.
The industry is also constantly welcoming newer e-reading devices as well, and this month the world eagerly awaits the much rumored apple tablet, with WSJ predicting the announcement by apple will be made sometime this month! Constant speculation on the evolution of the Kindle continues with speculation galore - How does Kindle plan to cope with format standardization? How will the Kindle evolve to keep up with the newer color e-reading devices?
Digital publishing is no longer limited to the educational and professional sector but also the general interest segment with magazines exploring different tools to make their content more dynamic and interactive. Players like Issuu and Time Magazine’s 'Manhatten Project' enable their readers to enjoy their favorite magazines on their computers. The interactive magazine allow you to organize your magazine in whatever order you want to read it in, then flip through it.
As more and more organizations head the ebook way, Google, despite its controversial battle against all content being made free, continues to forge ahead and plans to challenge Amazon with its own digital bookstore.
To summarize, while there are several arguments, ebooks in no way signify the death of print nor traditional publishing as we know it. It is just another way of reaching the customer in the manner most convenient to him. While print content will remain evergreen, going digital is not only a way for publishers to keep with the times but also an opportunity to leverage on the latest technology innovations to provide the best reading experience. 2010 promises to be a year that will keep the publishing industry on its toes!