The coming of age of the Internet, digital technology, and smartphones have changed the world as we know it. While evolution has always been a way of life, technological changes have revolutionized all aspects of human lives like never before and at a pace never witnessed before. And in today’s market reality, the mantra is, to evolve or perish. This also holds true for the publishing industry where several publishers are adopting e-publishing practices.
No business can remain competitive simply by remaining traditional in its ways. So is it the death knell for traditional methods and has the old order yielded way to the new? In the current reality, the answer is to make the best of both worlds. While we do have a millennial generation that consumes its content on electronic devices, there are also generations of people who are not equally tech-savvy, or even if they are, still find comfort in the old. In this backdrop, we try to answer the question, is e-publishing more lucrative than traditional publishing? To address this question, let us first build the case for both types of publishing.
Traditional publishing refers to the books in the print edition or in the physical form. The publishers either directly sell to the audience or through distributors. If you wish to buy a book, you will need to visit a bookstore. Or, you may even order the physical copy of the book online through eBookstores who will then courier it to your address within a stipulated time. In the case of traditional publishing, the book has to be first typeset and then printed on paper. The publisher would then need a warehouse to store and distribute the physical copies, and/or a physical bookstore to sell the books. They can also sell the books online on their own website or through online distributors.
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Physical books have an old-world charm that the modern eBook cannot replicate or compensate for. Nothing can match the nostalgia of curling up in your favorite spot engrossed in a book as the hours fly by. With the books, you are transported into a world of your own with the narrative giving you food for thought or calming your frayed nerves. The print book also seems to have a life of its own – a smell of its own that goes deep into your consciousness as you flip through the pages. This is why there is so much nostalgia associated with print books. Years later, you open the book again and the smell of its pages will take you down memory lane. Reading a print book is going down a physical journey and so you can actually feel your progress as the pages get fewer and fewer, and you move towards the destination.
The print book has a very loyal audience of its own. And not just the book – the very act of browsing through libraries or bookstores is a sublime experience that few other activities can match. Put in a nutshell, there is a vast audience that still yearns for the print book. This itself builds the case for traditional publishing. The days of the print are far from over, a fact that no publisher can ignore. There is a wide audience for print books, which in turn, means sales and revenue for the publishers.
On the flip side, traditional publishing is more expensive than e-publishing. Print copies require paper and every time there is any update to a book, the publisher has to print new copies. Then there are the additional charges of warehousing and transportation. People have to visit physical stores to make a purchase though this difficulty has been addressed to an extent in that publishers are using e-commerce platforms to sell their books. All said, the days of traditional publishing are far from over – the print books have a very devoted and loyal audience who continue breathing life in traditional publishing.
e-publishing, or electronic publishing refers to paperless books, or in other words, books in the electronic rather than the print format. As said above, the Internet, digital technologies, and smart devices have spawned an audience that consumes content online. As in the case of traditional books, online books too have a wide audience, who is more tech-savvy and wired to read books on smartphones or tablets, or even listen to audiobooks while on the move. eBooks, unlike their print counterparts, are for the modern audience – these books are designed for speed, with readers skimming and scrolling through the text. There is so much content vying for their attention that they would rather speed through the book than savour it one bite at a time.
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eBook content can be hyperlinked to various internal and external resources. This proves particularly beneficial for textbooks as it allows learners to access more content on the subject to build on their knowledge. Reader can store an entire library of eBooks on their smartphones or tablets and read them anywhere and anytime. Besides, these books can include a range of interactive features so that as a reader you are not just passively reading a book but interacting with the story and the characters. So rather than a passive reader, you actually become a participant to the story. The eBooks thus offer a very different experience than the traditional print books.
For the publishers, it makes sense to create eBooks for the online audience. Once an eBook is designed you can create as many copies as you want at no or minimal additional cost. Once a buyer purchases the eBook, you can simply provide them a link to download the eBook, which means that you don’t have to courier to them to their physical addresses. You can also DRM-protect your eBooks and prevent any unauthorized share, and in turn, any loss of revenue.
e-publishing over traditional publishing
Now, to address the question is e-publishing more lucrative than traditional publishing? The answer is both eBooks and print books have a dedicated audience. The type of experience each book type provides is different. As a publisher, you stand to gain by catering to both the audience. While you may have loyal readers who visit your bookstore to make a purchase, through e-publishing you can tap into a whole new audience who prefer to consume their content on their smartphones while on the move. There may be readers who are unable to visit a physical book store or live in remote locations. Selling your eBooks online is a great means to reach such readers. Then again, you can also translate your eBooks into several languages and extend your audience reach even beyond countries. There are several online payment systems that you can add to your e-store; or you may even sell your eBooks via e-commerce sites. As a publisher, you will find that in the current settings, both traditional and e-publishing are lucrative. However, as the online world evolves further, you cannot afford to simply follow the traditional route – e-publishing is therefore a must to survive in these highly competitive times.
Now that you know about the benefits of e-publishing, Kitaboo, an award-winning publishing software can be your right choice to convert print books to eBooks in huge scale with minimal hassle. With Kitaboo, you can create highly interactive and DRM-protected eBooks to provide an immersive reading experience. If you are publishing textbooks, you can also create interactive eBooks for personalized learning to suit various learning styles. You can also embed interactivity features such as video, audio, images, graphics, read aloud, and many such interesting features.
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