As digital publishing gains a wider acceptance, companies like Aptara go into greater detail in gathering data on the influential reach of electronic books. Aptara, which bills itself as a “digital publishing solutions pioneer,” released its survey yesterday on the true scope of e-reading.
According to the data’s highlights, it comes as no surprise that Amazon is still leading the forefront of digital ebook distribution. One of the major surprises, though, was that many publishers are still not tapping into the wealth of their back list titles; this could be one of the reason more and more authors are attempting to regain control of the rights to their older—and often out of print—works in an effort to revitalize interest in the author and in the works by self-publishing them to electronic platforms. It’s confounding that many publishers are willing to overlook digital publishing’s reach by not posting these older titles to the existing digital retailers.
The forty-page document from Aptara, available from their site, details where the money is being spent in electronic publishing, as well as gives a clear indication of which platforms are doing the bulk of the business. As this is the third year that Aptara has produced this survey, the results are not only comprehensive, they are also markers of the flow of trends in the industry over time.
The introduction to this year’s survey had this to reveal:
“Though the eBook market is expanding exponentially, it is still young, with unpredictable dynamics and an immature infrastructure. For most publishers, this early-stage market reality results in production growing pains and business model challenges, often overshadowed by the allure of eBook sales figures. While one out of five eBook publishers generates more than 10% of their sales from eBooks, eBook production, promotion, distribution, and sales are still far from reaching their full potential. eBooks’ market opportunity is vast, particularly for the majority of publishers that are still eluded by production efficiencies and meaningful revenues. Publishers still see eBook formats, distribution channels, quality, and digital rights management (DRM) as serious challenges—but these concerns have gradually eased since our first survey—an encouraging sign that the eBook market is beginning to mature.”
With data squarely provided by a leader in the field, hopefully more publishers and authors will continue to come on board with digital publishing and give the industry newcomer the recognition it deserves.