75.9 Percent of U.S. E-book Market Comprised of Professional Books

(Press Release) April 20, 2011, Stamford, CT—Although consumer trade books get a majority of the attention, professional and scholarly books, which include the legal, scientific/technical, medical and business segments, hold 75.9% of the $1.76 billion U.S. E-book market. The latest market research report from media and publishing forecast firm Simba Information, “Professional Publishing in the Digital Age: E-Books in Libraries,” predicts library collection managers will set aside more of their budget for E-books over the next few years.

The clear advantages E-books offer librarians, including archiving and long term access, enhancements and features, usage statistics and cost savings, are pushing professional publishers to continue to work with the library community to fully develop this market. According to the report, surveyed library collection managers are expecting e-books to become a more significant share of publishers’ and distributors’ offering, with 60% indicating that in five years e-books will represent 11% or more of their library’s acquisition budget.

“The professional market is unlike the trade book and education market; professionals need to be able to access content that is searchable and streamlined into their workflow,” notes Dan Strempel, senior analyst at Simba Information and author of the study. “Librarians understand these needs, which can only be serviced on an electronic platform.”

The current mindset of professional publishers is to replicate the print version of a book, which is creating challenges in the adoption of e-books, including the use of format standards like EPUB and establishing acceptable digital rights management.

“Some of the challenges are arising from disagreements between the publishers and the librarians: 69% of surveyed librarians had a negative opinion of digital rights management, specifically the limited length of access and no allowance for interlibrary loans,” added Strempel. “However, it should be noted that most librarians are acquiring their e-books through third party vendors or aggregators and not directly through publishers.”

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