Dan Strempel of Simba Information has kindly made available to me Simba's recent report on the market for social sciences and humanities (SSH) publications, Global Social Science & Humanities Publishing 2013-2014. There are not many encouraging signs in this study for publishers, but it's worthwhile to review the numbers and the structure of the market, some of which may be surprising to many readers.Simba estimates the global market for SSH materials in all languages at $5.2 billion, a figure that is a fraction (perhaps one-quarter) of the STM market worldwide.
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.
When your stock-in-trade is information that drives innovation, people expect you to be on the leading edge. And so it is with the scientific, medical and technical (STM) publishing sector. While the STM market faces similar challenges to the rest of the publishing industry, its willingness to embrace electronic platforms and develop innovative revenue streams has positioned it well in the face of new competition brought about by the expansion of digital media. “The biggest challenge has been mastered, and that is the transition from paper to electronic for STM content,” notes Derk Haank, CEO of Springer Science + Business Media, the world’s