Digital Education May Well be the Future of Educational Publishing
Pearson, the British publishing company, has declared its intention to rebrand itself as the “world’s learning company.” The company managed to retain its title as the world’s biggest publisher in 2015, but it has clearly done some soul-searching, nonetheless. Among shake-ups in the publishing world such as consolidations, mobile’s dominance, and the rise of indie publishing, Pearson has decided to discard many of its labels and focus only on education.
Pearson has explained its desire to unify its portfolio of services and products under one globally recognized brand, while also standing out from its competitors. Its new branding intends to reflect the curiosity and excitement that accompany learning. Continue reading
There are Better Self-Publishing Resources than Author Solutions
Penguin Random House, the world’s largest publisher, has sold Author Solutions, its self-publishing branch. The company started the new year by jettisoning this controversy-attracting division. Najafi Companies, a private equity firm known for purchasing troubled brands, has purchased Author Solutions and retained one of its executives to manage the division.
Penguin Random House is owned by publisher Pearson, who bought Author Solutions in 2012 for $116m. Reportedly, the current sale has brought in a fraction of that amount.
Author Solutions gave writers access to publishing tools that allowed them to go the indie route. By bowing out from the self-publishing business, Penguin Random House effectively admits to Amazon’s dominance in this market. Continue reading
Publishing Forecasts Look Bright for Both Print and Digital Publishing
With the inception of the new year, industry experts have been lining up to offer their publishing predictions for 2016. For each segment of the publishing market, some predictions seem prescient, and others appear far-fetched. Here are a few of the more realistic forecasts for publishing in 2016:
Content Marketing: Content marketing will continue to expand. Also known as “native advertising,” these types of ads pose as actual content in a publication, matching the writing style and appearance of the accompanying articles. Now that ad blocking is so prevalent, brands are seeking advertising opportunities that avoid the notice of blocking software. Furthermore, well-made content, in the form of online articles and web videos, give brands a chance to shine without spending a fortune. Online advertising has the added advantage of metrics that demonstrate which content garners the most attention. Continue reading
2015 Publishing Trends Included Surprising Successes
Now that 2015 has wrapped up, the biggest trends of the past year are coming into focus. Sales were dominated by surprise hits, such as coloring books (for adults!) catching the imaginations of consumers across the globe. A deceased author, Dr. Seuss, continued to shine, as his recently unearthed book What Pet Should I Get? hit the bestseller lists. The Girl on the Train, a thriller by heretofore unknown author Paula Hawkins, leaped to the top of the bestseller lists, selling 6.5 million copies globally. And Harper Lee piped up with a best-selling sequel to her famous “To Kill a Mockingbird” novel—“Go Set a Watchman.”
Now that the dust has settled, it is also evident that print has made a comeback. According to Nielsen BookScan, print book sales increased 2.8 percent in 2015 over 2014. This marks a second consecutive year of increased sales for print. Nielsen, which measures sales of around 80 percent of print book sales, explained that translates into a resounding 652 million print books sold in the United States in 2015. Most of the books were sold through retail sellers, including Amazon, and through book clubs, which have also experienced somewhat of a resurrection. Continue reading
Is Paper Environmental? The Answer May Surprise You
There’s no question that magazines and newspapers have lost slews of subscribers since online reading became mainstream. Instead of simply accepting their second-place status, magazine and newspaper publishers have joined hands to fight against the digital onslaught. Their industry organization, Two Sides, promotes the responsible use of paper as a powerful medium of communication with unbeatable sustainability.
Two Sides is a global initiative with members from all sorts of businesses involved with paper production and use. These include companies from the forestry, pulp, ink, press, publishing, and printing industries. Their common goal is to use data to dispel misconceptions about the harm paper causes the environment and to prove that print on paper is practical, sustainable, and attractive. Continue reading
Educational Publishing Profits are Beating the Market
Two publishers, Scholastic and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, have managed to show high earnings in 2015. Scholastic grew by 22 percent, and Houghton Mifflin gained 4 percent. These are exceptions to the rule, as big publishers struggle to show profit.
Publishers nowadays face difficult challenges such as competing against low-cost self-published books and coping with Amazon’s low prices. According to research firm PWC, the general picture for publishing is not rosy. Global total book revenue is forecasted to rise just 1.3 percent per year from 2014 until 2019. What’s more, the growth that occurs will be driven by India’s developing book market, and not by U.S. sales.
Scholastic and Houghton are unique in their ability to turn a strong profit. Educational materials seem to be their secret. Continue reading
How Can Indie Bookstores Survive in the Amazon Era?
As online retailers such as Amazon grow so rapidly that they can barely fulfill orders, many traditional bookstores are holding on by a thread. Barnes and Noble reported a larger loss in 2015 than in 2014, and its debt has tripled in only one year. Across the ocean in Australia, Dymocks, Western Australia’s largest bookstore, closed its doors in 2015, finding itself unable to compete with Internet sales. Even in New York City, which is considered a literary metropolis, most traditional bookstores have closed.
A few independent bookstores have managed to find a niche and remain functional, but large chains such as Barnes and Noble have been suffering. B and N tried to compete with Amazon by launching a new website, but its attempts were unsuccessful. As soon as the website’s glaring glitches became apparent to customers, online sales dropped by 22 percent. In addition, its Nook ereader showed dropping sales between 2014 and 2015. Continue reading
The Impact of Ebooks on Literacy May Surprise You
The number of Americans who pick up a book and read it has been dropping steadily. A survey by the Pew Research Center found that the percentage of adults who read at least one book in the past twelve months has dipped from 79 percent in 2011 to 72 percent in 2015. Furthermore, those 72 percent didn’t necessarily read an entire book from cover to cover; the survey even included readers of partial books. This trend worries academics, who say that Americans’ attention spans are rapidly diminishing.
The survey also indicates that ebooks’ popularity has affected print books. Only 63 percent of survey respondents had read at least one book in print in the previous twelve months, but 71 percent of respondents had done so in 2011. The status of ebook sales is a matter of dispute because the major publishers say ebook sales are flat, but indie publishers report that ebook sales are soaring. Either way, ebooks are a force that will leave an indelible imprint on our society. Continue reading
The STM Publishing Market has a Bright Future
STM, or STEM, publications have shown strong growth in the United States and globally. Sales of science, technical, and math journals and books are a promising sign for publishers, who have been struggling to sell fiction titles.
According to research commissioned by the International Association of STM Publishers, the STM publishing market is worth $25 billion. When extra revenue from journal articles is added into the equation, the industry is worth $35 billion. The high value is backed by the increase in published articles: the number of articles has been growing by 3.5 percent each year.
Customers Want More than Just an Ebook Subscription Service
In December 2015, Scribd, the ebook subscription service, demonstrated its versatility by adding a new type of offering: sheet music. With this addition, Scribd’s subscribers can retrieve sheet music from Hal Leonard, a well-known publisher of songbooks. The 2,600 selections come from a range of styles, including classics and pop favorites. Members can search for desired sheet music by instrument, genre, level of difficulty, song title, or artist.
Subscribers to Scribd pay $8.99 monthly for unlimited access to its content. According to Scribd’s CEO, Trip Adler, this extension of its content serves to help both members and publishers. It gives access to more types of books and helps publishers contact new audiences. At the same time, Scribd has also expanded its catalogue of reference books and journals by partnering with Elsevier, a publisher of scientific, technical, and medical materials. Subscribers can now access reference articles, print books, and ebooks about social sciences, engineering, and physical sciences. Continue reading