Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue

01/18/2014

Despite Gadgets, Content (Letters and words) is Still King – And Content Creators are Kingmakers!


Publishing Guru Bo Sacks

The latest bunch of hot, new, tech gadgets has just marched forth from CES (The International CES is a global consumer electronics and consumer technology trade show that takes place every January in Las Vegas, Nevada) — and some will affect publishing even further, just as 3D covers, shopping inside the pages of a digital issue, stand alone apps, etc., have in the recent present and past.

But, regardless of the bells and whistles of the new tech, they are just bows tied around what is being presented: CONTENT. And, if the letters and words do not engage, entertain, educate or offer some other value/interest, the newness and fascination of the bells and whistles will diminish fast.

Hence, content is STILL the bottom line — No matter which tech embroidered platform spouts it forth.

Today, publishers are presented with so many opportunities and innovations they often get overwhelmed and don’t know what to prioritize first. Readers, on the other hand, get so much free info and data offered that they get ‘information overload’.

Many feel that publishing’s main problem revolves around the fracas between digital and print.

However, one expert (who I will present tonight) believes ‘the real problem is diversity and fragmentation of our readership‘.

So, what does this mean?

Tonight’s source article from  of ClickZ is an interview with publishing industry guruBo Sacks. The interview delves into this concept of readership fragmentation due to new tech and what it means to publishers today:

Publishing Industry Guru Bo Sacks Shares Tips for 2014 Success

Hot off the heels of innovations and connected devices galore at CES, publishers have a world of opportunity in front of them. There’s so much opportunity it can often get difficult to decide what to prioritize first. For some insights and advice on 2014, we go straight to the ultimate expert in publisher success and sustainability: Bo Sacks.

JM: With so many innovations launching, (including the rise of content marketing), do publishers really need to think differently about the way they do business? Or, is all of this just noise?

Bo: The concept that “isn’t it really all the same as it ever was” is at the heart of the problem for all publishers. Many perceive that the whole problem just revolves around the battle between paper vs. digital substrates. That concept has distracted most professionals and isn’t at the core of the issue.

The real problem is diversity and fragmentation of our readership. And there are two factors going on here.

  1. Ease: There is just too much easy access to the a world of information. We all hold robust communication devices in our hands formally known as smartphones. These communicators empower anyone one to access information either on the fly on in the comfort of their own home. These instant portable electronic librarians offer the reading public limitless reading opportunities where none existed before. So we are reading more now than ever before, but not on traditional substrates.
  2. Mass: Publishers were once the best businesses at identifying groups and niches and selling them words and related materials based on their specific interest. What technology has done is to separate and disperse our old niches into sub-set camps of platform devotees. Where once Meredith had all of America’s housewives locked up in reading a single printed magazines like Better Homes and Gardens, now even the niche of housewife’s is broken into smaller subsets, as iPad reader, Kobo Reader, Kindle reader, and paper reader. This has broken the former single straight line to the reader into readers with multiple personalities, different needs and assorted commercial desires.

Article continues here — And you know you want to complete this publishing insight 🙂

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10/06/2013

A Dreadful Year for Publishers? NOT!


A funny thing happened on the way to the new publishing industry maturing and understanding — All the publishing doomsday forecasters and naysayers have been proven wrong due to unforeseen fallouts resulting from the onslaught of digital and tech changes redefining the old traditional publishing (TP) business models.

Damn, I like that sentence — It sort of says publishing is as complicated and unpredictable as Homo sapiens, themselves — And I DON’T mean ‘complicated’ in the confined, restricted, smoke & mirrors sense that TP defenders use to defend why the old TP model was so slow or inefficient (Pssst, actually it sucked to the Nth degree – especially for writers/authors).

But, I can understand why those who grew up in the TP system (actually the only viable system existing at the time), learned how to survive in it and made a living through it, would defend it to the death.

Hot excerpts from tonight’s researched source:

“A flood of self-published books washes ashore. Bestseller prices are down significantly. Bad grammar speeds through the ether at a faster pace than ever before.  This should be a dreadful year for publishers.  Only it’s not.”

“Self-publishing is a huge and disruptive force in the publishing industry, but contrary to popular belief, it’s largely benefiting publishers.”

Note from John: I don’t agree with the word ‘disruptive’ in describing self-publishing – I prefer the word ‘redefining’.

Why Did Self-Publishing Tip?

Fifty Shades lit a fire under everybody. No matter what you think of the book, the numbers were so phenomenal that it made everyone rethink things – Meg Kuhn, COO Kirkus Media”

“The question is: why has all of this chaos helped publishing instead of hurt it?

The short answer is that robust competition has done what it nearly always does – improve market efficiency.  Readers, authors and publishers all see benefits.  Here are the four surprising trends from the past year:”

To get the four surprising publishing trends continue to read the following Forbes article by David Vinjamuri:

 

Is Publishing Still Broken? The Surprising Year In Books

 

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01/04/2013

Analyzing the U.S. Book Publishing Industry


Analyzing the U.S. Book Publishing Industry

What a daunting task!

But, I thought a look-see into how the analysis is structured and just what goes into such an intellectual endeavor would be illuminating and fun for many who may not already know.

AND, I thought the source of this and related analyzes would be of great interest to those who want to research, pursue and understand the more professional, business side of publishing (not to mention other research-of-interest projects).

The source is Barnes Reports — ‘The Barnes Reports are a cost-effective, easy way of gathering all the current and forecast information and demographics on over 100 major industries and 400+ minor industries that you need for your business plans, research reports, market analysis and industry profiling. Since 1998, the Barnes Reports, a division of C. Barnes & Co., has been publishing market research and analysis reports for its clients. Based in beautiful Bath Maine, the Barnes Reports division is dedicated to producing the highest quality research to describe industries, nationally and locally, in the United States at an affordable price.’

From Research and Markets Dot Com

2013 U.S. Book Publishing Industry – Capital and Expenses Report

The 2013 U.S. Book Publishing Industry-Capital & Expenses Report, published annually , contains timely and accurate industry statistics, forecasts and demographics.

The report features 2013 current and 2014 forecast estimates on the cost of materials, capital expenditures, inventories, rentals, and other expenses nationally and for all 50 U.S. States and up to 900 metro areas. Expenses categories include materials used, payroll, human resources benefits, health insurance, retirement/pension plans, advertising, taxes, depreciation, electricity, fuels, equipment, repair/maintenance, and software. Capital expenditures include building, machinery, vehicles, and computer equipment. The report also includes industry definition, a breakdown by establishments size and industry size estimates (establishments, sales and employment).

Barnes Reports’ Capital & Expenses reports are an essential part of any GAP analysis, benchmarking project, SWOT analysis, business plan, risk analysis, or growth-share matrix.

Users’ Guide, Industry Definition and Related Industries, Industry Establishments, Sales & Employment Trends, Industry Ratios, 2012 Establishments, Firms & Payroll, 2012 Industry Cost of Materials, 2012 Industry Inventories, 2012 Industry Rentals, 2012 Industry Capital Expenditures, 2012 Industry Other Expenses, 2013 U.S. States – Estimated Cost of Materials, 2013 U.S. States – Estimated Capital Expenditures, 2013 U.S. States – Estimated Other Expenses, 2014 U.S. States – Estimated Cost of Materials, 2014 U.S. States – Estimated Capital Expenditures, 2014 U.S. States – Estimated Other Expenses, 2013 U.S. Metropolitan Areas – Estimated Cost of Materials, 2013 U.S. Metropolitan Areas – Estimated Capital Expenditures, 2013 U.S. Metropolitan Areas – Estimated Other Expenses, 2014 U.S. Metropolitan Areas – Estimated Cost of Materials, 2014 U.S. Metropolitan Areas – Estimated Capital Expenditures, 2014 U.S. Metropolitan Areas – Estimated Other Expenses, Definitions and Terms.

The above breaks down many of the categories that go into the professional analysis of the subject report.

Another helpful report mentioned in the below link  is the 2013 U.S. Book Publishing Industry-Industry & Market Report

So, if you are an ardent researcher and have a few extra bucks to blow, you now have an excellent resource in which to invest the bucks 🙂

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11/07/2012

Obama and the Publishing Industry


Obama tinkering with publishing?

Tonight a little fun publishing prognostication tied to the 2012 never-ending presidential campaign and final election. 

What are some of the plausible impacts to the publishing industry resulting from Barack Obama’s reelection?

Jason Pinter, bestselling author of thrillers, writing on Huff Post Blog, throws out some immediate and longer term Obama publishing industry influences:

How Barack Obama’s Reelection Will Affect the Publishing Industry

No doubt the reelection of Barack Obama as President of the United States will have tremendous impact on numerous industries. Here are my predictions as to how Obama’s second term will impact the book publishing industry, which Nate Silver has said are 90.9 percent accurate. (OK, maybe not, but I’m pretty certain of at least most of these guesses.)

1) Obama the Moneymaker. With his reelection, Obama has solidified himself as a self-sustaining cash cow. Obama’s first two books, Dreams From My Father and The Audacity of Hope, have sold well over four million copies. A second term means his books will continue to backlist strongly, whereas a defeat would have made his books more of a curio as the country shifted to a Romney presidency. It also means that, when Obama leaves office, he will do so having served eight years, and depending on how his second term plays out, permanent devotion from a large portion of the country. Jimmy Carter, the Democrat’s last one-term president and frequent GOP punching bag, has published numerous bestsellers since leaving office, including a novel (!), and it’s safe to say that if a post-presidency Obama wants to stay in the public eye as an author, he’ll see strong success and sales. He is already rumored to be writing his next book with cherished Jewish activist Elie Wiesel.

2) The New Blood. With eyes already looking towards the 2016 election, a bumper crop of (relatively) new Republican faces will likely publish books as primers on their positions and sales tools for their backers. Depending on their individual ambitions, I would expect new books by Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Paul Ryan, Nikki Haley and Bobby Jindal among others to hit shelves in advances of the 2016 primaries in order to make cases for their next prospective office. On the other side, with a new Democratic candidate needed for 2016, I wouldn’t be shocked if we see books from possible frontrunners Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, Andrew Cuomo, Antonio Villaraigosa, Deval Patrick and even stalwarts Hillary Clinton and possibly… Joe Biden?

3) Conservative domination. There’s always been more money in opposition rather than the status quo, and Obama’s first term brought massive sales from books by conservative political pundits. Glenn Beck and Mark Levin broke the million-copy barrier with their respective releases, while Michelle Malkin, David Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham and Dinesh D’Souza all had their own #1 bestsellers. And Bill O’Reilly has reinvented himself as political historian, with Killing Lincoln breaking a million copies and Killing Kennedy well on its way. Books by the opposition always sell well regardless of president, case in point Michael Moore’s huge #1 bestseller Stupid White Men and Al Franken’s Lies, both published during the George W. Bush presidency. Even comic behemoths Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert saw their newest releases, published under the Obama administration, fall far short of their tallies during the Bush years. Though Beck’s sales have dropped since moving from his television perch at Fox, it can be expected that these same commentators and more will continue to garner support from the loyal opposition at the cash registers.

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09/28/2012

Book Publishing To Change Drastically In Next Five Years (And On And On Ad Infinitum?)


Publishing Industry – Constantly Changing

Major publishing industry players, including newbies with new skill sets, glued their minds together and prognosticated at Friday’s annual meeting of the Book Industry Study Group (BISG). 

We all sort of realize that the hi-tech freeway will be remolding publishing, probably constantly, in the years to come — But, how often and how deeply?

Well, right now, I would say the book publishing industry is just in the process of writing the table of contents for the future chapters of the publishing industry.

I doubt there will ever be an end and epilogue. And this is good, right? Everlasting, never-ending, constantly evolving — just means dynamically immortal 🙂

  Jim Milliot, Publishers Weekly, covered the annual BISG meeting and relates thusly:

BISG Panelists: More Change Coming

Speakers on a panel of industry leaders at Friday’s annual meeting of the Book Industry Study Group agreed that the publishing industry is in for much more change. “I expect there to be more dramatic, disruptive change ahead,” said Sourcebooks CEO Dominique Raccah. Tom Turvey, director of strategic partnerships for Google, said he believes the industry “is not close to what it will look like five years from now.”

But Turvey said that with the right adjustments, publishers are in a good position to take advantage of the opportunities that change will bring. Publishers need to hire less business people “and hire more people like we hire,” he said, noting that publishers need to bring into their organizations people who understand where technology is going. Publishers on the panel said they have all made extensive changes to their staff with Raccah noting that there is not one job at her company that hasn’t been touched by digital. Maureen McMahon, president and publisher of Kaplan Publishing, said the one characteristic that her company’s always screens applicants for now is whether they can “learn and teach.”
 
Hachette Book Group president Ken Michaels said the industry needs leaders who understand technology, and are willing to not be tied to one platform. The industry is now “content-centric, not format-centric,” Michaels said. He said Hachette has hired engineers and people with new skill sets and that much of Hachette operates has been changed and more is coming. Publicity and marketing, Michaels noted, need to work closer together with better “scorecards” to see how promotion is serving their authors. “We need to brand our authors to get the widest possible reach,” he said.
 
All panelists said overseas markets represents a growth opportunity, but there are challenges. Turvey, back recently from helping to open Google digital stores in Japan and Korea, said the U.S. is many years ahead of most other countries in terms of digital. The three areas that need to be addressed before international markets can be successful exploited, Turvey said, are rights, standards and data.  He noted that while the U.S. has made good progress on those fronts (though more is needed) most other countries lack any type of digital infrastructure…
 
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06/28/2012

News Corporation Generates How Much Revenue ?


More Publishing Intrigue: News Corp. To Split Publishing Arm — This was my post yesterday on The Writers Welcome Blog — Read it for significant insight into Rupert Murdoch’s media empire and the driving forces pushing the splitting off of  their publishing component.

In the above post, however, I did not share just how much revenue is generated by each of News Corp.’s business components; or define, for that matter, what the components consist of .

Here is a table graphic from The New York Times that portrays that data:

Good money, huh ?

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02/29/2012

The Publishing Industry Should Create a One World E-Book Alliance – You Know Why?


Amazon 'Netting" Publishing Industry

To fight Amazon from taking complete control of the publishing industry. This could possibly turn out to be a harsh dictatorship.

Anytime you have one business with too much control of their market bad things just naturally result, if history is any indicator.

Amazon is a good company NOW, don’t get me wrong, with great innovation and customer service; but, this could (and I believe would) change if  the big ‘A’ is allowed to gobble up the majority of the publishing market. It would be bad for society (readers) and other publishing peripherals such as publishers, bookstores, libraries, etc. 

By preventing this bulldozing of the publishing industry, I believe, would actually save Amazon from itself  — as well as improve the overall structure of the publishing industry as a whole (more competition, better pricing, more diverse offerings, better opportunities through varied choices, etc., etc.) 

Here is an educated, international view from Javier Celaya offered in Publishing Perspectives:

How to Counter Amazon: Create a One World E-Book Alliance

The aeronautical industry, once dominated by Boeing, managed to develop Airbus. The publishing industry should aspire to create its own “cultural Airbus.”
 
During my presentation earlier this month at the If Book Then conference in Milan, I proposed that European publishers create a joint platformto compete against Amazon. Although I admire Amazon for its culture of innovation and superb customer service, I do not consider it beneficial either for society (readers) or any of the entities involved in the book industry (publishers, bookstores, libraries, etc.) to allow one company to take on such a leading position in the cultural world and be able to determine its future at its own whim. A diverse variety of online bookstores would guarantee more competition, resulting in better services and a broader range of content for all readers.
 
Although the creation of a joint venture is not an easy task, I am pleased to see that my suggestion was not taken as entirely ludicrous. Last week, the main Spanish financial daily – Expansión – published an article announcing that Grupo Planeta, Telefónica and Bertelsmannare planning to create a common platform to counteract Amazon’s growing leadership position. In the event of any potential criticism by those who tend to disapprove of risky ventures, I take this opportunity to express my support for this strategic decision since these three companies will undoubtedly be confronted with a remarkable challenge.
 
Amazon is an excellent company with almost 20 years’ experience in electronic business, an admirable customer service policy, and an enviable corporate ethos of persistent innovation. Offering a competitive alternative to Amazon will not be easy, although it will not be an impossible one either. Other industries, such as the aeronautical industry, which was once dominated by Boeing, managed to develop the Airbus consortium. The publishing industry can also aspire to create its own “cultural Airbus.”

To achieve this ambitious goal, European publishers and international online retailers should consider the following key factors:

Aggregating content, financial and human resources offers a competitive advantage

In the analog era, companies reached the top singly; in the new era of social participation, leadership is achieved through business collaboration. As I mentioned during the conference in Milan, aggregating content, financial and human resources on the Internet is essential in order to compete in the new digital economy. The sum of content and services of an Airbus type consortium will prompt economies of scale which will become their main competitive weapon.

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02/12/2012

Publishing 2011 & 2012: Some Business Trends and Surprises


Publishing Industry Mergers Equals Growth

Media M&A (mergers & acquisitions) were up in 2011. 896 deals were done representing $47 billion dollars in value (damn, who says publishing is dying?). When M&A is up in an industry I believe it is indicative that value and growth is trending positive and money is flowing and churning!

Bottom line: publishing is NOT hurting. Some think it is because these figures don’t come close to the banner year of 2007 ($104 billion in deals done!) … Sounds like a bunch of spoiled greedy bastards to me 🙂   

But, the publishing industry (including, of course, digital) is growing and trending positive and the outlook for 2012 looks to be even better according to JEGI (Jordan Edmiston Group Inc.) , a leading independent investment bank for media, information, marketing services and technology.  

This insight (with charts breaking out the industry sectors) is from FOLIO Magazine by Bill Mickey

Overall Media M&A Up 9 Percent in 2011

Marketing and interactive services drive growth with 32 percent of total value.

The media M&A market saw its third year in a row of growth, closing out 2011 with a 9 percent increase in total value over 2010, according to a year-end report by The Jordan, Edmiston Group.

There were 896 deals done, says the investment bank, 15 more than 2010 and more even than in the blockbuster year of 2007. Total value, however, still hasn’t come close to that year. In 2011, the deals represented $47 billion in value, up $4 billion from 2010, whereas 2007 saw $104 billion in deals done.

A key trend in 2011 was marketing and interactive services, which represented 32 percent of total deal value and accounted for 17 of the 32 biggest deals, and a third of total transaction volume.

And while expectations remain high for private equity, strategic buyers were decidedly more acquisitive. Out of the 32 largest deals (more than $400 million), 24 were done by strategics.

Sector by sector—JEGI tracks 10—exhibitions and conferences recorded a 249 percent increase in deal value over 2010. There were 32 deals totaling $451 million. JEGI points out that the fourth quarter marked quite a bit of activity from strategic buyers, with UBM, Bonnier, Diversified Business Communications, PennWell and Reed Elsevier making deals.

Consumer magazines also had a busy year with 32 transactions valued at $3.2 billion, a huge jump over 2010’s $214 million deal value.

B-to-b media was comparatively quiet, recording only 14 deals and $50 million in value—a 62 percent and 91 percent decline from 2010, respectively. B-to-b online media and tech, however, spiked appreciatively in value. The year’s 63 deals were 2 more than 2010, but value jumped 132 percent to almost $6 billion.

Interestingly, mobile media and tech declined slightly in volume with 72 deals done in 2011 versus 77 in 2010, but value jumped 37 percent to almost $2 billion.

John’s Note: Before I send you to the parent article I want to define a couple business/investing terms for those that may not readily recollect them for convenience and better understanding:

EBITDA – Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization

Strategic Buyer – A buyer in the same line of business who wants to buy and hold.

Financial Buuyer – A buyer (usually from a Private Equity Group [PEG]) that wants to buy low and sell high.

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01/26/2012

Association of American Publishers: Book publishing is an Inefficient Industry if Ever There Was One


Larry Kirshbaum, Vice-President and Publisher, Amazon Publishing

intrigue and backroom talk RE the publishing industry. Interesting insight from   in Bloomberg Businessweek:

Amazon’s Hit Man

In November 1997, on a night of pounding rain in midtown Manhattan, Rupert Murdoch threw a party for Jane Friedman, the new chief executive officer of News Corp.’s (NWS) HarperCollins book division. The luminaries of the publishing business, such as Random House’s then-CEO Alberto Vitale and literary agent Lynn Nesbit, crowded into the Monkey Bar on 54th Street, with its red-leather booths and hand-painted murals of gamboling chimps. Trudging six blocks through the downpour from the Time & Life Building, Laurence J. Kirshbaum, then the powerful head of Time Warner Book Group, brought a guest: a young online bookseller named Jeffrey P. Bezos, whose ambitions would eventually end up affecting the lives of everybody at the party. “It was one of those moments in your life where you remember everything,” Kirshbaum says. “In fact, I think Bezos still owes me an umbrella.”

How times have changed. Physical book sales have been flat for a decade and are starting to get eclipsed by e-books. Friedman left News Corp. in 2008. And Jeff Bezos, who once courted the publishing aristocracy of New York, now competes against them. Last May, Amazon (AMZN) hired Kirshbaum, 67, to run Amazon Publishing, a fledgling New York-based imprint whose lofty goal is to publish bestselling books by big-name authors—the bread and butter of New York’s book industry. In the high-rise offices of the big publishers, with their crowded bookshelves and resplendent views, the reaction to Amazon’s move is analogous to the screech of a small woodland creature being pursued by a jungle predator.

In interviews, Amazon executives cast their new effort as an experiment in the booming world of e-books, not a plan to displace the Big Six—Random House, Simon & Schuster (CBS), HarperCollins, Penguin (PSO), Hachette (MMB:FP), and Macmillan. “What we’re building is more like an in-house laboratory where authors and editors and marketers can test new ideas,” says Jeff Belle, vice-president of Amazon Publishing and Kirshbaum’s boss. “Success to us means working with authors who want to find new ways to connect with more readers.”

Talk like that hasn’t mollified publishers, and it’s easy to see why. They’re trying to protect a century-old business model—and their role as nurturers of literary culture—from encroachment by a company that consistently reimagines how industries can be run more efficiently. Book publishing, an inefficient industry if there ever was one, seems ripe for reimagining. According to a recent report by the Association of American Publishers, sales of adult paperbacks and hardcovers fell 18 percent between 2010 and 2011. Store chains such as Borders have been cartwheeling into bankruptcy, and independent shops are struggling to compete with the advantages enjoyed by online retailers, such as their freedom from collecting sales tax in many states. The lone bright spot is the rising sales of electronic books, but even that landscape is blighted: Fierce warfare for control of the new market, between Amazon.com, Apple (AAPL), Google (GOOG), and Barnes & Noble (BKS), threatens to turn minor combatants into accidental casualties.

And now this. Amazon could be an unstoppable competitor to big publishing houses. If history is any guide, Bezos, who declined to comment for this story, doesn’t care whether he loses money on books for the larger cause of stocking the Kindle with exclusive content unavailable in Barnes & Noble’s Nook or Apple’s iBookstores. He’s also got almost infinitely deep pockets for spending on advances to top authors. Even more awkwardly for publishers, Amazon is their largest retailer, so they are now in the position of having to compete against an important business partner. On the West Coast people cheerfully call this kind of arrangement coopetition. On the East Coast it’s usually referred to as getting stabbed in the back.

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01/12/2012

Global Industry Analysts, Inc. Releases Comprehensive Outlook on the Publishing Industry


Worldwide publishing consists of books, magazines and newspapers.  And the industry has been bombarded in the last several years by the global economic meltdown coupled with the introduction of new tech that streamlined old, deeply entrenched procedures and actually eliminated many.

But, the hard times have resulted in the shedding of inefficiencies and the creation and adoption of new publishing opportunities that spell GROWTH in the future … and some of that future is already here!

Global Publishing is expected to Reach US$322.7 Billion by 2015 according to Global Industry Analysts, Inc.

Here, then, is an overview (with interesting numbers) of this new, comprehensive publishing report as reported in the SFGate, home of the San Francisco Chronicle:

Global Publishing Industry to Reach US$322.7 Billion by 2015, According to New Report by Global Industry Analysts, Inc.

GIA announces the release of a comprehensive global outlook on the Publishing Industry. Following a tumultuous period brought about by the global economic meltdown, the worldwide publishing industry is gradually recovering, propelled by the resurgence in STM and trade publications as well as strong growth in the digital and online publishing sectors.

San Jose, California (PRWEB) January 10, 2012

Follow us on LinkedIn – The publishing industry, comprising mainly books, magazines and newspapers, is largely influenced by lifestyle changes and choice and is thereby influenced by changes in macroeconomic conditions such as the change triggered by the recent economic recession. The publishing industry displayed resilience during the early part of the 2007-2009 recession largely due to the fact that books/magazine/newspapers provide a cheap and affordable form of entertainment during financially tough times. However as the financial crisis deepened over the successive months, the industry buckled under the pressure and dwindling book sales, and decline in new title publications, as a result of reduced consumer discretionary incomes and per capita spends, left the publishing industry hurting. The industry, during this period, underwent a phase of consolidation with broad-based business streamlining and restructuring, as well as strategic alliances, mergers, acquisitions and closures. The onset of recession also accelerated the penetration of digital technology (e-books), which are cheaper to produce and distribute, in the sector, further eroding the thin margins.

The recession also created changes in reading habits with celebrity autobiography/memoir witnessing the highest erosion in readership and sales. Other book genres which recorded declines include books on wellness, fitness, food and drinks, mind, body and spirit, and maps and atlases, among others. The proliferation of satellite navigation systems, and GPRS reduced the demand for maps and atlases, while free, educative information online reduced the need for hardbound, educative computer books. Given that reading is a activity that helps de-stress and breakaway from the stress of everyday life, the recession has in-effect influenced readers preferences away from serious fiction and non-fiction towards lighter reading such as, murder mysteries and romances, among others. Also, recession literature designed to cover current social and political issues gained in popularity.

Contrary to the popular apocalyptic view of the future of the print publishing industry, optimism nevertheless prevails over the future of the industry as books are deeply embedded in numerous cultures worldwide beginning with the Western culture and will not likely to fade anytime soon, given their cultural value and meaning they hold in the lives of people. Adoption of digital publishing, on-demand printing and online technologies will help the industry compete with emerging alternatives. Newer business models, distribution channels, marketing strategies will mold growth in the industry. In addition to the opportunities in store, challenges will also bedevil the industry in the upcoming years. For instance, challenges for traditional print will continue to lurk in the form of electronic versions of newspapers, periodicals, e-books, and audio books. The threat will intensify with the proliferation of cost-effective eReading devices, smartphones and tablets, among others.

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