Digital Book World posted a comprehensive peek at Aptara’s and Publisher’s Weekly’s April survey on how ebooks are faring in the publishing market, and the results came as no surprise to anyone who thinks digital reading is here to stay. Almost 900 publishers from publishing houses of every size range responded.
Some of the surprises in the study, though, included most of the publishers’ wariness of enhanced ebooks, with most saying that enhancements like embedded video or hyperlinks did not lead to an increase in sales, or led to a marginal increase at best.
The most telling news to come from DBW’s article was related to publishers’ challenges with digital publishing:
“When asked what were the greatest challenges they faced when bringing e-books to market, device and format issues (61%), distribution issues (35%), and quality of converted content (29%) all came out ahead of digital rights management (22%).”
This roughly means that the great DRM-debate isn’t even a top three issue for most publishers, while opponents of digital rights’ management, who argue against the artificial incompatibility of an ebook across multiple devices, have shown that DRM-free books are no more likely to be pirated than those that have impose constraints on them.
The saddfest news of the report was that 43% of publishers do not let their ebooks be loaned through libraries with digital lending programs, despite other studies that have shown consumers are more likely to purchase an ebook that they have borrowed, as well as being more likely to purchase any sequels in a series without even borrowing the sequels first. Some lending programs even have embedded Buy buttons on the home page for each title, affording patrons the option to buy the book when they borrow it, making the purchase option even easier for consumers.
As the study showed, digital book sales for about one-third of the ebooks publishers now make up double digit revenue, and the sales of ebooks in many categories are continuing to grow. Now that digital has proven itself, hopefully some of the areas that have fallen short will catch up.
Mercy Pilkington is a Senior Editor for Good e-Reader. She is also the CEO and founder of a hybrid publishing and consulting company.