Digital publishing is minimizing the brand value of name publishers and star power of authors. The strategic question in 2016 is how to garner enough advertising dollars to publish over the long haul? One important method is to increase audience engagement: learn everything about your audience, know what it wants, and listen to its feedback.
Major publishers have been facing dropping sales. According to the Association of American Publishers (AAP), sales of adult books, ebooks, and children’s books dropped in the first quarter of 2016, compared to the first period of 2015. Ebooks accounted for a bit more than 27 percent of adult book sales in 2016, showing a drop from the same period in 2015. Sales of children’s and young adult ebooks fell even more drastically.
Amazingly, Amazon continues to succeed as the publishing industry struggles. Part of its secret of success is its DIY print business, Create Space. According to Bowker, the company that issues ISBN numbers to mark new books, self-publishing has taken off in a major way. The number of ISBNs created for self-published books grew by 375 percent between 2010 and 2015. CreateSpace is at the top of the list of most-used self-publishing platforms.
Worldwide spending on advertising is expected to grow in 2016 and 2017, according to Carat, the global media network. Carat collected data from fifty-nine markets, including the Americas, EMEA, and Asia Pacific. Advertising spending will grow to more than $548 billion in 2016, buoyed by the Rio Olympics and the US presidential elections.
While advertising forecasts remain strong in North America, Latin America, Russia, and Asia Pacific, spending on print advertising is expected to decline. In contrast, spending on digital media advertising is expected to reach more than a 30 percent share of total spending on global media in 2017.
The high demand for mobile, social media, and online video is driving the move toward online ads. As interest in online advertising swells, print media shrinks in prominence.
Smartphones have become the dominant platform for consuming most types of content. Always at hand, these portable computers are the main drivers of social media and have officially been deemed the most popular method of going online. According to business analysis company PwC, purchases of digitally published content are expected to rise to $1.4 billion in 2017.
Even though digital publishing is growing at a clip, advertisers are leery of sending their ad dollars in mobile’s direction. PwC projects digital advertising spending to grow slowly, reaching only one-quarter of all advertising spending by 2017. That’s because ad blockers are exceedingly common: estimated loss of global revenue resulting from blocked advertising in 2015 was around $22 billion. Furthermore, research has shown that consumers summarily ignore online ads when they are using their smartphones.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recently published a snapshot of publishing industry jobs. According to the BLS’s graph, the industry has taken a beating over the past twenty-five years. The sectors hit the hardest were books, newspapers, and periodicals.
Book publishing, an industry that saw numerous consolidations in recent years, lost a considerable amount of jobs. In 1990, there were 85,900 jobs in book publishing. By 2016, only 61,500 jobs remained. Periodical publishing jobs also suffered because of poor sales. The industry boasted 146,800 jobs in 1990, but by 2016, that number had dipped to 93,600.
Comics are proving impervious to the sales problems endemic to the publishing business. While publishing overall showed slipping sales revenue from 2014 to 2015, the comics’ periodical, book format comics, and graphic novel market has been going strong in the United States. According to a joint report by Comichron and trade news site ICv2, the 2015 market was worth more than a billion dollars. That represents a 10 percent increase in sales since 2014.
Graphic novels jumped the most in sales revenue, showing 23 percent year-over-year growth. Sales of print comics also took a leap, growing by 13 percent. Only digital comics saw a drop in sales, showing a 10 percent decline in sales from 2014 to 2015.
Even though Americans appear to be reading fewer novels and works of non-fiction, they are clearly grabbing hold of the comics’ trend. Several aspects of the comics’ experience are attracting them.
Authors usually write books that express their inner thoughts and then hope that readers will appreciate their writing. Now, instead of writing from their hearts, authors can write for the bestseller list. Two authors claim to have figured out how to predict which books will land on the bestseller list.
Jodie Archer and Matthew L. Jockers, authors of the soon-to-be-published book The Bestseller Code: Anatomy of The Blockbuster Novel, say they have created a groundbreaking algorithm that has identified the components that grant a book bestseller status. The authors contend that they can predict with 97 percent certainty if a fiction title will hit number one on the New York Times bestseller list, or if it will only hit numbers two through fifteen on the list.
Reading news on social media has become the norm, according to a recent survey by Pew Research. Pew asked 4,654 Americans about their news-acquiring habits and found that 62 percent of adults get their news on social media. That’s a majority of adults, and it represents a shift. In 2012, only 49 percent of adults reported seeing news on social media. While people haven’t completely abandoned newspapers, it’s clear that in order to remain relevant, news corporations have to post their content on social media. Two thirds of Facebook users and 59 percent of Twitter users get their news from those sites. Social media is pervasive, and it’s become the source of all types of information, including serious news.
Reuters, the esteemed national news agency, recently took a poll of its readers to gauge their current attitude toward paid news. The results do not bode well for the pollsters. Even though their 1,230 respondents claimed to appreciate quality news reporting, they readily admitted their unwillingness to pay for it. Disappointingly, two-thirds said they would not pay for any online content, quality or not. Reuters’ readers seem to be discriminating customers: Eighty-one percent of them agreed that a particular news brand equals trusted content; nine out of ten of them regularly consult with a specific news brand to confirm breaking news. Even though they trust the news brands, they will not part with a dime to ensure the continuity of those news companies. Continue reading
Piracy is a thriving business across many industries. In the publishing business, it is moving along at full force, frustrating authors and publishers alike. While members of the general public appreciate the opportunity to consume endless content for free, people on the business side pay a heavy price for the theft of their material.