|Faisal Galaria: 'The digitisation of books should not be |
seen as a threat for publishers, rather a new way forward.
To start, picture the current publishing landscape as a sort of post-apocalyptic publishing scene; where old publishing models and formats have been devastated by some dastardly digital interruptive menace.
Things are in disarray - and although old forms are still commanding majority bucks - the old form tail is slowly eating its own head and the incoming bucks, while not diminishing rapidly, have flattened and steadily losing growth.
Meanwhile, over in the digital camp, their new form champion is pulling record increases in rates of unit sales. Increasing to the point where digital books represent 10 to 20 percent of total book sales (depending on the data source).
Now, let's bring in a little reminder of what happened to the music industry when it went digital. In the name of convenience, aggregation and immediacy Napster, iTunes and Torrents blew up the inner core of the music industry and the iPod finally caused the decline of the CD business. But, after a long period of revenue losses, the music industry eventually figured out just how to properly price and source the new streaming music format that would provide an unlimited source of music for a subscription fee. This injected growth back into the music industry (e.g. Subscription and ad-supported streaming services accounted for $1.2bn of the global music industry revenues in 2012, up from $700m in 2011).
The publishing industry's equivalent to the music industry's Napster, iTunes and iPod are the tablets and e-readers. These will eventually do the same to the publishing industry as the iPod did to the music industry, providing readers with aggregation, convenience, social discovery and immediacy.
There are signs that the way in which books are consumed could be going the same way; that is, in a convenient streaming format available to the consumer for a subscription fee.
'Scribd, Oyster and 24Symbols are all services that provide access to ebooks in return for a monthly payment, much in the same way that music and film streaming services operate.'
More details provided in The Guardian by Faisal Galaria,
Publishing crisis? Time to create a Spotify for books
Publishers must learn the lessons from music streaming services around pricing and sourcing for their subscription models to work