Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue

12/27/2010

U.S. Publishers Dove Deeper Into Digital in 2010


This year big house publishers have experimented with video ebooks and complex content, digitized their older titles and made their new publications available in both digital and print.

They are accepting and learning to utilize digital e-formats instead of fighting the new trending technology…And, that’s good if they want to adapt, survive and ultimately thrive again!

As a result of this digital acknowledgment, U.S. publishers’ profits are up and looking brighter.

This report by Julie Bosman of the New York Times through the Stateman.com, an Austin, Texas news site:

U.S. publishers expanded digital offerings in 2010

Industry embraces electronic books, sees big jump in sales, but hardcover concerns linger.

The publishing industry used to be afraid of electronic books. In 2010, it embraced them.

Publishers expanded their digital divisions, experimented with video-enhanced e-books, worked on digitizing their older titles and made sure new books were available simultaneously in e-book and hardcover editions.

Now, having laid the tracks for digital growth, they are waiting to see what their efforts will bring in 2011.

“Is it going to be cause for celebration because it takes us to another level and makes books accessible and popular in new ways?” said Anne Messitte, publisher of Vintage/Anchor, a division of Random House. “Or will the story be different?”

E-books now make up 9 to 10 percent of trade-book sales, a rate that grew hugely this year after accounting for less than half that percentage by the end of last year. Publishers are predicting that digital sales will be 50 percent higher or even double in 2011 what they were in 2010.

January could be the biggest month ever for e-book sales, as possibly hundreds of thousands of people download books on the e-readers that they receive as Christmas gifts.

The anticipation of that jump in sales, and a feeling that the recession might have loosened its grip, has dissipated some of the death-of-print malaise that has lingered in the publishing industry for years — and helped soften the blow of a significant drop in hardcover sales this year.

“There’s definitely less doom and gloom,” said Peter Ginna, publisher and editorial director for Bloomsbury Press. “Most of us publishers have seen big gains from electronic books this year. We’ve seen some tailing off of the print sales, but for most companies, the growth of e-books has been so great that there’s a lot of revenue coming from that side that’s sort of gravy for us.”

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