5 Takeaways from the Book Business 2016 Trendspotting Survey
In December, Book Business, sent out its annual Trendspotting Survey asking leaders in the book industry to share what technology they plan to invest in and which products and platforms they anticipate will drive revenue growth for their organizations in 2016. 139 executives responded to the survey, hailing from the trade, education, STM, university press, professional, and religious publishing segments.
Here are some of the insights we gleaned from this year’s survey.
- Digital printing will catch fire in 2016. Although we’ve been covering the growing opportunities around digital printing technology for the past couple years through the Digital Book Printing Conference, it seems 2016 will be the year more publishers buy in (literally). 36.7% of survey respondents indicated that they plan to spend on digital printing or print-on-demand services in 2016, topping all other technologies and services. Last year, ebook conversion took the top spot.
- Interest in email marketing has grown dramatically. Second only to digital printing, 27.9% of respondents intend to invest in email marketing technology in 2016. This is a huge leap from last year’s survey when it was near the bottom of publishers’ technology priorities. The increased interest in email marketing aligns with trade publishers’ growing efforts to connect directly with their readers.
- Ebooks and print books expected to drive the most revenue growth in 2016. Overwhelmingly, respondents believe ebooks and print books will lead revenue growth in 2016. 70.0% of respondents selected ebooks, and 67.1% selected print. Surprisingly few respondents (22.63%) anticipate audiobooks will drive revenue growth, despite the fact that audiobooks make up one of the fastest growing segments in the book industry in terms of sales.
- Social media and direct sales will play a significant role in book marketing in 2016. Book Business asked respondents what marketing and bookselling platforms they think offer the greatest opportunity to grow profits. Social media was the top answer (67.1%) with direct sales following at a distant second (48.9%). Publishers’ desire to connect with their end users was clearly evident in multiple responses to this survey, which may lead to some innovative marketing strategies in 2016.
- Fittingly, publishers are seeking the most education in direct sales strategies. When asked where they believe they require further education, 41.6% of respondents answered direct-to-consumer sales and marketing. Audience development, a cornerstone of D2C marketing, was second at 30.4%. It’s clear that although publishers understand the importance of building an audience in order to effectively sell their own books, they require greater education on how to execute. Book Business will cover these topics extensively throughout the year and will host a Book Business Live event on May 5th, focused on new marketing and bookselling strategies.
What technology do you think will impact book publishing in 2016? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.
Editor’s Note: Respondents were able to select multiple answers in the above survey questions.
Ellen Harvey is a freelance writer and editor who covers the latest technologies and strategies reshaping the publishing landscape. She previously served as the Senior Editor at Publishing Executive and Book Business.