November 20, 2017
As smartphones and tablets become ubiquitous and the number of eBook readers soars, eBook reading has emerged as one of the hottest trends in publishing. Digest this – in the U.S alone, eBook sales have grown almost 3000% over the last 10 years. In fact, 70% of adult fiction sales were digital in 2016. Publishers now release a majority of their titles to big online platforms such as Amazon & Kobo, while libraries are also accelerating their acquisition of eBooks as the demand to stock virtual shelves skyrockets, leaving supply lagging far behind. The era of eBooks is finally mainstream, is the publishing industry really prepared to go fully digital?
The big digital rights management debate
With piracy and security of digital content on their minds, the publishing industry is at loggerheads with libraries as they fear releasing digital titles to a wider audience. Libraries are outraged as this not only means that publishers are jeopardizing collaborations that date as long back as almost 200 years in some cases, but also because they have to turn back customers who throng their premises, hoping to lay their hands on the latest book titles. Fortunately or unfortunately, the only winner from this frustrating situation seems to be Amazon – the tech giant that also controls 65% of the eBook market share. Its Kindle Unlimited service is testimony to this fact –the service allows readers to subscribe to an unlimited number of eBooks for just USD 9.99 per month, making it the Netflix for eBooks. It’s a jackpot for heavy readers as they get to spend far less to consume the content they want – that too without having to wait. For authors too, it’s a whole new incentive model as they get paid for the number of pages a person reads, whether or not they buy the eBook.
eBook conversion – The real bottleneck
What fuels the demand and supply gap between eBooks and their readers is that most books begin as print versions. Getting their books ready for digital consumption means authors and publishers must convert them to formats such as ePub or Mobi that are accessible to most eBook readers. This involves finding a reliable eBook conversion services provider who can ensure high quality, accurate and time bound service. When opting for eBook conversion services, publishers should particularly focus on format and cost as a recent Paypal survey revealed that Americans prefer multi-use devices such as tablets versus dedicated eReaders when it comes to reading eBooks. 66% of survey respondents said they read eBooks on their tablets, and the same number also said that prime reason they purchase eBooks is because they are cheaper than buying a hard copy and they can consume the content of their choice right away, on the go. Furthermore, 42% of people said they buy/download an eBook immediately after it catches their interest for the first time, indicating that there is a big market of impulse eBook buyers waiting to be tapped, provided merchants and publishers can cater to it with the right marketing and secure checkout process so readers can instantly dive into the book.
Are you leveraging the right eBook conversion services to digitize your content and make it available to a wider audience across devices, formats, and eBook readers? What is your strategy in this regard?