Bill Gates is often credited with saying that the key to business success lies in foreseeing where the world is heading and getting there first. Physical and digital books have had a complex relationship based on a series of changes that have placed the e-book on the lead. In a previous article, I analyzed the role that e-books have played as allies during quarantine, a sanitary emergency that has forced libraries to remain closed. Now, I would like to explain how e-books have changed the mindset of the publishing guild.
Undoubtedly, COVID-19 pandemic has opened a new paradigm in the publishing industry. There’s no doubt that publishers have placed their bets on e-books and audiobooks: reading streaming services have notoriously increased their subscriptions, and book fairs are now being held in virtual settings. In short, the pandemic has forced the industry to move forward hastily onto what once was believed to be a distant future.
We are living in a new era in which the publishing industry requires constant innovation and creativity to live up to the standards of such shifting scenarios. In my opinion, there are four key factors to take into consideration during this transitional process. 1) Publishing digitization via web pages, social media, paid ads and search engine optimization. 2) Converting your books into e-books and audiobooks. 3) Opting for e-commerce and online distribution to ease book purchase for people all over the world. 4) Promoting e-books via highlights and sales promotions within the main digital stores.
Nowadays, the main challenge to the publishing industry deals with changing the mindset in order to adapt to the digital era. Sure, the digital world has come to stay, and although it is also true that these concepts aren’t new, commercial sustainability to editors never depended solely on digital assets… until now. It is worth mentioning that the word adaptation applies more to publishers rather than to consumers (readers) because the latter are more familiarized with the e-commerce experience.
It is of utmost importance that the publishing industry keeps up with the market demands, as digitization will continue to expand. Addressing the opening paragraph, the challenge belies not only on foreseeing where we are going, but to ask instead: How are we coping today, and how are we preparing for upcoming challenges?