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New DCL & Bowker Survey on Digital Publishing Industry Trends Shows Top Concerns in Growing Self-Publishing Market
CONVERSION QUALITY, FORMATTING, AND COMPLEXITY – AND THE RESOURCES NEEDED TO ADDRESS THESE – ARE TOP OF MIND
Fresh Meadows, NY, November 2, 2015 - Digital publishers, including self-publishing authors, worry over content quality and formatting as they continue to focus on digital production, according to a survey on trends in the digital publishing industry. The number of survey respondents that have digitally published continues to rise, to 72.9 percent from 63.6 percent in 2014, while the number of self-publishers jumped nine percentage points to 45.1 percent. The survey was jointly conducted by Data Conversion Laboratory (DCL), an industry leader in organizing and converting content into digital formats, and Bowker, the world’s leading provider of bibliographic information management solutions for publishers, booksellers, and libraries.
“Digital books, contrary to some past predictions, have not replaced print books and are not likely to do so in the foreseeable future,” said Beat Barblan, Director of Identifier Services at Bowker. “Instead they have become another choice for the reader who wants and expects to be able to access content in a variety of ways with no loss in quality.”
The 2015 survey saw a 300 percent increase in the number of participants over the first survey, which DCL President Mark Gross believes indicates that publisher are realizing that things are changing and how important it is to respond to readers’ demands for multi-channel outputs. “User expectations continue to rise with the proliferation of devices available to them,” Gross notes. “Publishers across the spectrum understand that consistent quality of experience is paramount, and readers, and authors, won’t stand for anything less.”
While the number that believe ebooks are held to a lower standard than print actually increased over 2014 (12.8 percent versus 9.8 percent), that might be because the bar is rising, and most respondents believe that the quality of digital publishing continues to improve, with 52.5 percent rating most eBooks as either good or excellent compared to 46.5 in 2014.
Barblan noted that “From the reader’s perspective, all content, regardless of whether it is in print or electronic format, should be of equally high quality. My colleagues and I believe this shows that professional eBook conversion has never been more important, and the publishers agree. In their responses, they have indicated less concern for the cost of conversion over the last year and more concern for quality.”
Increasingly, digital publishers include some level of quality assurance to ensure error-free content, with nearly 36 percent performing self-checks, 36 percent hiring editors, and 23 percent performing QA prior to conversion. And, though the number that self-publish rose to 45.1 percent (from 36.3 percent in 2014), respondents who plan in-house publishing dropped to 9.5 percent from 20 percent in 2014, with those seeking support from consultants or conversion firms increasing by a little more than 1 percent.
“Self-publishing continues to mature,” says Gross. “At the same time, both authors who self-publish and firms of all sizes who produce digital content recognize the need for maintaining high quality throughout the publishing process, and thus are choosing to seek out experienced vendors so they don’t have to go it alone.”
Bowker is the world’s leading provider of bibliographic information and management solutions designed to help publishers, booksellers, and libraries better serve their customers. Creators of products and services that make books easier for people to discover, evaluate, order, and experience, the company also generates research and resources for publishers, helping them understand and meet the interests of readers worldwide. Bowker, a ProQuest affiliate, is the official ISBN Agency for the United States and its territories and is headquartered in New Providence, New Jersey with additional operations in England and Australia.