As the eBook market share continues to increase worldwide, publishers are shifting to digital publishing to unlock eBook benefits. The increasing penetration of the Internet and the easy availability of smartphones have made it possible for people to access eBooks on their devices, be it for the pleasure of reading or looking up material for research.
In the digital era, where all businesses are reinventing themselves to survive, digital publishing is no exception. The rise of mobile, video, AR, VR, big data, and other technologies have opened up opportunities for digital publishers to streamline their operations, publish and distribute faster, reach new audiences and explore new revenue streams. Let’s look at the extensive eBook benefits that digital publishers can enjoy and how they can adapt themselves to the changing digital publishing environment.
Also Read: The Role of Technology in Digital Publishing
eBook Benefits for Digital Publishers
Reach a Wider Audience
With eBooks, publishers can harness the power of the Internet to reach a wider audience by expanding their footprint to overseas markets. They can share the digital files on their own website, through social media or dedicated online marketplaces. Today’s tech-savvy generation wants to read books on the go, when they have time, and on the platform of their choice, be it dedicated eBook readers, smartphones, tablets or their laptops.
Cost Saving on Production
Offset printing has been the dominant form of book printing for more than a century. In this model, the more copies the publisher prints, the lower is the cost-per-copy they incur. The economies of offset printing encourage publishers to print thousands of copies and distribute these copies through retailers. In case all copies don’t sell, they incur additional cost in warehousing where the unsold copies are stored for several years till they are pulped.
With eBooks, publishers are not bound by economies of scale. eBooks, once published, are available to download for a cost, or shared free, depending on how the publisher wants to market the eBook. Publishers can also update their eBooks with additional content at minimal or no cost. With eBooks, publishers also achieve significant savings on reducing inventory and eliminating or minimizing warehouse costs.
Tap Into New Revenue Streams
eBooks offer publishers more than just cost saving in terms of printing, inventory, and distribution. They also allow them to unlock new opportunities to sell in new online markets, such as Amazon, eBay etc. Previously, readers had to go to flea markets or bookstores to hunt for out-of-print titles. None of this revenue made it back to the publishers. Now publishers can monetize these titles by selling them in the form of eBooks and tap into new revenue streams.
Add Extra Layers to Storytelling
The advent of new technologies has also made it possible for publishers to add an extra layer of storytelling to their content, thus making eBooks more engaging and immersive for the readers. For example, using augmented reality-driven digital publishing platforms, publishers can add audio/video, animations and graphics to enhance the plot, information, and characters, and overall, create a richer, more interactive and engaging reading experience.
Improve Content Visibility
In the era of social media platforms, publishers can also leverage social media to market their eBooks, reach a new audience, build their brand, seek feedback from readers, take their pulse, and then redefine their storytelling, content and marketing strategies to remain competitive.
How Publishers Can Adapt to the New Digital Environment
To enjoy maximum eBook benefits, publishers need to adapt to the changing digital environment and be proactive to readers’ demands. Following are a few ways that will help publishers adapt to the digital publishing environment.
1. Tailoring Digital Publishing Strategies
Most businesses, corporates, educational institutions have already adopted eLearning and training as part of their educational and corporate training needs. This means that they also need their training and learning material in multiple formats. To enjoy the eBook benefits, publishers must analyze their audience to understand their reading habits, how they are accessing eBooks and consuming content. They must then tailor their digital publishing strategy to build on the eBook benefits and meet the needs of their readers.
2. Adjusting Business Processes
Publishers that acquire technical skills are more likely to succeed in the digital publishing space and relish eBook benefits. Piracy is a great concern especially when you consider that many bestsellers are available for free to download. Then again, people can download illegal copies or even scan original copies. The eBook benefits can be compromised if digital security is not provided
To benefit from eBooks, publishers need to become tech-savvy. They must protect the copyright of their content and ensure that it can be transferred smoothly. Their legal departments would have to establish intellectual property rights for eBooks, draw up fee models for the digital content, and review existing contracts to ensure that digital rights are in place or are negotiated.
3. Training Employees for the Digital Environment
While publishers will remain the mediators between authors and consumers and take on the tasks of selecting content, editing, and marketing, they must redefine their business processes and functions to meet the needs of the digital world and enjoy eBook benefits.
Publishing an eBook is easy, however, it is important to adapt content to meet consumers’ changing reading and shopping habits. Publishers, therefore, need to train their employees for the digital environment so that their eBooks are optimized for web traffic and reach the right audience, at the right time, and in the right format.
4. Choosing the Right Format for eBooks
While there are several formats available, the two most popular formats are – PDFs for special interest books and ePUB for a mass market. Publishers should analyze the market demands and the buying habits of their target audience to understand which format will help them garner more eBook benefits. They should also strive to embrace Digital Rights Management (DRM) systems that protect the copyright of their content, but do not make it difficult to buy or use digital content.
5. Offering Additional Content
Offering additional content increases the value and range of eBook benefits. Adding multimedia, animations, augmented reality features, audio and other related links to eBooks could help reach a wider audience and create a loyal customer base that will even return to buy updated issues and related volumes that add value to the existing titles.
As the world is becoming increasingly digital, publishers need to take the eBook route to stay relevant. Publishing an eBook is pretty simple – go online and there are several tools to help you publish your eBook in simple steps. However, to carve a niche for themselves and extract numerous eBook benefits, publishers need a clear-cut strategy for their target audience, the content to deliver, the format to follow and then realign their functions and processes to succeed in the digital environment.
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