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Data Conversion Laboratory and Bowker’s Digital Publishing Survey Shows Concerns Over Conversion Quality
The results are in – formatting and avoiding errors in the final digital output are hot topics for publishing professionals

Fresh Meadows, NY, November 28, 2016 – Data Conversion Laboratory, Inc. (DCL) and Bowker have delivered the results of their 2016 Digital Publishing Survey, and the answers point to worries over quality and consistency when content goes from print to digital. The survey was jointly conducted by DCL, an industry leader in organizing and converting content into digital formats, and Bowker, the world’s leading provider of bibliographic information, connecting publishers, authors and booksellers with readers.

This is the third joint survey for DCL and Bowker, and this year’s attracted 698 participants, up from 579 in 2015 and 215 in 2014. The survey probes digital publishers and self-publishing authors to find trend lines across a wide swath of important topics. Question topics range from the various digital formats publishers use to the quality of eBooks.

As with 2015’s survey, a topic that continued to stir interest was quality, with more than 56 percent of respondents saying it was a major concern. Other concerns were “retaining formatting” (55 percent) and “errors caused by automated conversion” (46 percent).

Since quality is an important topic, it’s not surprising that digital publishers increasingly include some level of quality assurance to ensure error-free content. Nearly 45 percent hire editors (up from last year), 33 percent perform self-checks (slightly down from last year), and 18 percent perform QA prior to conversion (down from last year).

“It makes sense that quality is a topic of note. Unlike the early days, digital technology is mainstream, and the survey shows that consumers expect to hold eBooks to the same high standards that they expect from print books,” said Mark Gross, President of DCL. “That means publishers need to be diligent to ensure content is converted accurately. Accuracy and quality is key to our work.”

Another key finding from the survey were the numbers of publishers that have digitally published. It continues to rise, this year to 73.21 percent from 72.88 percent in 2015. Although, this year the number of self-publishers dropped from 45 percentage points to 42 percent.

“Respondents to what has become an annual tradition, the joint DCL and Bowker Digital Publishing Survey, have been consistent over the years: Quality is King! The reality is that poorly converted digital books are flatly rejected by readers. Readers are no longer willing to accept and struggle through a poorly converted book. If a book is not perfect, they will not read it and will demand a refund. Nobody can afford that,” said Beat Barblan, Director of Identifier Services at Bowker.

Data Conversion Laboratory, Inc. (DCL) DCL (, now it its 35th year, is a leader in helping organizations grow the value of their content assets investment. With digitization and content management expertise across multiple industries including publishing, life sciences, government, manufacturing, technology and professional organizations, DCL uses advanced technology, xml expertise, and U.S.-based project management teams to solve complex conversion and data mining challenges securely, accurately and on time. DCL is the industry leader in XML content conversion, DITA conversion, S1000D conversion, SPL conversion services, and so much more. For more information, visit, follow us on Twitter, and join the conversation in DCL's Content Conversion Strategies group on LinkedIn.

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