Publishers' Outlook 2011
According to West Academic's Justin Hummel, the company's digital tools, such as The West Education Network (TWEN) "are changing how people are using [and] accessing content."
Looking ahead into 2011, book publishers seem to be focused more on opportunities than challenges—or perhaps, as the economy continues to rebound and consumers open their wallets a bit wider, it's a case of seeing ways to turn the latter into the former. Certainly, all the free publicity surrounding the exploding e-reading device market has put publishers at the center of a cutting-edge retail trend. The question, as always, is what audiences actually want to spend money on, and in what form. As the options for content delivery continue to expand, many publishers are experiencing success with forays into mobile and e-books, and 2011 looks to be a year when these become more "normalized" as core revenue channels, rather than adjuncts.
Book Business interviewed executives from a number of companies in various segments of the book publishing market to get a clearer picture of where the industry seems to be heading in the new year and decade.
Adam Rothberg, Vice President, Corporate Communications, Simon & Schuster
➜ Simon & Schuster (S&S) has been at the forefront of digital publishing, including the launch of the comprehensive Simon & Schuster Mobile version of its website in July 2010 and recent success with apps for "The Bro Code" and "Choose Your Own Adventure" book series. The company now seeks to position itself for further growth in the e-book and mobile markets.
BB: How do you expect the flurry of new e-book readers to impact your sales and product mix? What sort of growth in that market do you expect in 2011?
Rothberg: We're seeing tremendous growth in our e-book sales, and as new user-friendly devices and new e-book retailers enter the market, that will only continue. For some of our best-selling frontlist titles, the ratio of digital to physical book sales is quite high, and so we are having to adjust our print runs to reflect this new reality. And, we'll have to keep doing that as the e-book market continues to grow. In 2010, we [experienced] triple-digit growth in e-book sales, and there is no reason to think that will change in 2011.