To Infinity and Beyond
e-book market is "growing 150 percent to 200 percent per year."
Major Publishers Are on Board
Ultimately, many believe that publishers' commitment to this market is what will nourish it, and some major publishers are on board.
Random House Inc., for example, offers 2,500 titles in e-book form; Simon and Schuster offers more than 2,000 e-book titles; John Wiley & Sons offers a similar number of e-book titles; and The McGraw-Hill Cos. offers approximately 1,800 titles.
Keith Titan, vice president of new media at Random House, says technology is generating the new interest in e-books. "Technology is moving forward at a rapid pace, and digital media of all types is becoming more popular. E-books will ride this wave as consumers continue to demand that more and more of their information and entertainment [is] available in digital form." As a result, Random House offers its titles in Adobe, Microsoft, eReader and MobiPocket formats.
Not to be left behind, other publishers are getting into the digital act. "We take a book file and convert it into various formats," says Claire Israel, director of e-publishing and e-commerce at Simon and Schuster of New York. "Our strongest categories include education and reference, and certain nonfiction books that can be easily downloaded in sections because, with the advent of smart phones, people want smaller bits or pieces of content."
Gwenyth Jones, vice president of publishing information systems and technology at Hoboken, N.J.-based John Wiley & Sons Inc., says e-books are a modest, but growing market. Wiley entered the e-book market, she adds, "Because we felt people would migrate to online for content." Librarians also see an advantage and are gravitating toward e-books because they won't be stolen from the library or damaged, and don't require human resources to check them in and out, says Jones.