The tide of retail is turning digital, and the book publishing industry, like most others, is being swept along. Research shows that consumers are increasingly turning to online sources to purchase books. In 2012, online book retail accounted for 44% of consumer books sales in the U.S., up from 39% in 2011, according to Bowker Market Research.
All of the innovators interviewed in this section, whether from trade, academic, or independent publishing, have joined the digital revolution and are pushing the industry into a sustainable future, exploring new products and services, and adapting to disruption.
Last year, retail e-commerce totaled $88 billion, or 2.4 percent of total U.S. retail sales, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. In the first quarter of this year, U.S. retail e-sales hit $25 billion—2.7 percent of total retail sales for the quarter ($906 billion). And based on the average annual growth rate (in the mid 20-percent range) of the last few years, 2006’s year-end e-commerce totals are likely to top $110 billion. Book publishers in almost every market have launched e-commerce sites to tap the growing potential in e-sales. Major publishers such as Scholastic (ShopScholastic.com), Random House (RandomHouse.com), McGraw-Hill (Books.McGraw-Hill.com), Penguin Group