As the eBook market share continues to increase worldwide, publishers are shifting to digital publishing to unlock great value. A recent report predicts that the sale of eBooks as a total percentage of books sold worldwide will reach 25.8% by 2018, which is approximately double the sales figure of 12.3 % in 2013.
The increasing penetration of the Internet and the easy availability of smartphones have made it possible for people to access eBooks on their phones on the go. So, whether it is reading for pleasure or looking up material for research, more and more people are now accessing eBooks on multiple mobile devices. It goes without saying that publishers need to provide their readers with eBooks. It is easy to publish an eBook; however, publishers need to adapt to the new digital environment to benefit from eBooks.
Here are some ways by which publishers can benefit from eBooks
Adapting to the Future: 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 – both in digital and printed form. To benefit from eBooks, publishers must analyse their audience to understand their reading habits, how they are accessing eBooks and consuming content. They must then tailor their digital/eBook strategy to meet the needs of their readers.
Adjusting Business Processes: Publishers that acquire technical skills are more likely to succeed in the eBook space. Piracy is a great concern especially when you consider that many bestsellers are available as free to download. Then again, people can download illegal copies or even scan original copies. To benefit from eBooks, publishers will need to get 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.
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. Publishing an eBook is easy, however, what is more important is 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.
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. Again, publishers should analyse their market to understand which format to follow. Besides 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.
Offering Additional Content: Offering additional content in eBooks increases its value. Adding multimedia, animations, Augmented Reality features, audio and other related links to eBooks could help reach a wider audience, and create loyal customers who may even return to buy updated issues and related volumes that add value to the existing titles.
As businesses and processes go increasingly digital, publishers need to take the eBook route to stay relevant. Publishing an eBook is very simple – go online and there are several tools to help you publish your eBook in simple steps. However, to carve a niche for themselves, publishers need a clear-cut strategy and decide on their 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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