Changes to the publishing industry .. ebooks

I have been discussing the future of books and publishing for some time and we are launching a new venture in this space. In that context, interesting statistics which I agree with regarding changes to the publishing industry .. ebooks


We estimate that the UK publishing market was worth £18.41bn in 2007, having grown by just 0.4% during the year. Three sectors are examined in this Market Review: newspapers, magazines and books.

Each of these three sectors is dominated by around a dozen companies. Hardly any companies are involved in more than one sector of the market, and only Pearson PLC has significant interests in all three sectors.

The book-publishing sector is experiencing greater change than any other sector of the publishing industry. Some of the large publishers are planning to digitise vast numbers of the books that they have published in the past (their so-called backlists).

They also planning to launch thousands of e-books in 2008 and 2009, and some publishers are starting to sell a proportion of their books online. The major academic publishers are increasingly investing in digitised content and are printing much less material.

For newspapers and magazines, the key concerns are maintaining their advertising revenues and winning new readers. This is especially crucial for newspapers. The main reason why newspapers have lost so much ground over the past 20 years is that the adults who grew up reading a daily newspaper with their cornflakes and toast in the 1930s and 1940s (and so made reading a newspaper a daily habit) are dying off, and they are not being replaced. The growth of radio and the Internet are other factors behind the decline in newspaper sales, as is the shortage of time for newspaper reading. To survive, newspapers will have to become as familiar online as they are in print.

Magazines appear to be in a stronger position, but they too will have to increase their multimedia activities. This has already begun, and the process will surely accelerate over the next few years. The magazine sector will also need to watch its prices. In 2006 or even 2007, cover prices could be increased without a significant loss of readers, but in 2009 publishers will need to think carefully before doing this. Our research indicates that the majority of consumers already believe that magazines are too expensive.

We forecast that the UK publishing market as a whole will grow by 5.1% between 2007 and 2012. Newspaper revenues are forecast to decline over the period, while book revenues will show the strongest growth.



  1. Interesting post Ajit – certainly a big enough market to go after. The moment when we get workable e-readers will mark a watershed.