Life has become much faster with the arrival of internet, one cannot imagine a day without internet, social media and mobile phone. These three factors have changed the game for all players i.e. for businesses, customers and suppliers, alike. To understand the depth of these changes, ask yourself these questions:
- When was the last time you read something in print or bought a book from a store?
- How much time do you spend on reading blogs/articles/news on internet v/s the time spent on reading printed books/newspaper/magazine?
- When was the last time you bought a book without checking its review and ratings on the internet?
If you cannot remember the answers to these questions, you would realize how intensely the digital wave has hit the 5000 year old publishing industry. It is naive to assume that any business can be digital-free. The demands of the customer has changed drastically; and without a digital presence, the publishing business can soon become extinct.
Impact of Digital Transformation
Digital transformation has paved way for SMAC—Social, Mobility, Analytics and Cloud. These four factors have brought customers and publishers closer and have changed the way the publishing industry operates. These changes are evident in the journalism as well as the book publishing industry.
Journalism: Journalism has rapidly evolved in the last two decades. Earlier one had to wait for the morning newspaper to read about what is going on in the world. But today, most of the newspapers have their TV and radio channels, websites, social media pages and mobile apps. Digital features like creating news alerts, weather reports, sports updates, etc. have altered the methods of news delivery. Customers now check what is trending on social media instead of newspaper headlines, which is exactly the reason why newspaper companies have strong social media presence. According to the data published by Pew Research Center, 67% of American adults get at least some of their news on social media. In fact this trend has even influenced the US presidential election as politicians used social media for election campaigns.
Books & Magazines: Digital transformation has changed the way books are getting published. But the changes were noticed first in the way books were ordered and delivered. Statistics reveal that there is 50% reduction in the number of bookstores in US and at the same time, Amazon is earning $5.25 billion from book sales.
The internet and smartphones have also changed the way books are read. E-book readers like Kindle have become popular because people no longer have to carry hardbound, heavy books. Instead they can easily carry multiple books with them on an e-reader. It’s no wonder then that e-book sales have risen and roughly make up 30% of the total book sales.
Other digital changes: Today, customers can buy books after reading reviews and recommendations on websites. Social cataloging websites like Goodreads can help you search databases of books, annotations and reviews.
Earlier the publishing industry was dominated by big players like Barnes & Nobles. Publishing a book was a difficult and long process, especially for new authors who struggled to see their books in print. But now, anyone can easily publish books online with the help of self publishing companies.
“Publishing is an industry over 5,000 years old, suddenly facing an overwhelming demand for change that will uproot not only its products, but its people, processes and business models,” said Tracey Armstrong, CEO of Copyright Clearance Centre (CCC). The digital transition in the publishing sector can be said as a smooth and steady one when compared to other industries in the media and entertainment world. To manage the declining readership and rising cost in publishing, a digital makeover is no longer an option but a mandate.