As a self-proclaimed publishing geek, I am delighted to launch this year’s Digital Census, the annual tracker of the transformation of our industry.
The Bookseller first launched the Digital Census in 2010; the aim was to take stock of the early days of digital, to understand how the market was changing, which new content propositions were gaining traction, where investment in innovation was happening, how digital was changing publishers’ commercial and business strategies, and the impact this was having on bookshops, authors and readers.
The findings have always proved interesting: the trade has tended to over-estimate the growth in e-book sales, but at the same time remain positive about the health of print book sales; there has always been plenty of optimism around, even when respondents criticised the sector for its attitude to e-book pricing, digital royalty rates, self-published authors and digital rights management (DRM).
This year we’ve rewired the survey to reflect the changed reality. During its early years the sector was evolving incredibly swiftly, with the business impact of e-book sales and changing models of key interest. There was a huge increase in the numbers of new businesses developing book-related digital solutions, and new digital projects. Articles were written about the death of the bookshop, book and/or publisher.
Publishers now have their digital houses in order and over the last eight years have transformed internal processes - efficient digital sales strategies, a better understanding of digital marketing, digital content entirely embedded in workflows and more confidence about what works and what doesn’t. Standalone digital products have morphed into books augmented by digital learning, and campaigns do not only integrate digital, they are led by it.
There is no time for complacency however: not only does the transformation continue, in some areas it is speeding up. This year’s Census wants your views on what’s happening; where the next developments are coming from; and how ready the industry is for these next steps.
For eight years, FutureBook has showcased the most forward-thinking publishers, technologists, and experts and continues to look to the future of our industry. This year’s conference line-up includes modern-facing publishers such as Bonnier Publishing’s Richard Johnson; HarperCollins’ global strategist Chantal Restivo-Alessi; and innovative founder of Wonderbly Asi Sharabi.
Your answers will also help drive how we plan the conference, and inform the editorial we write around it, backed by your real-life stats, experience and opinions. It also helps keep the industry on its toes—honest.
The Digital Census should take you no more than 5 minutes. We’d appreciate your time and your support by sharing with your colleagues. The Census is here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/FutureBook17
At the bottom of the survey you can enter a draw to win a free ticket to this year's FutureBook conference. It’s a cracking line-up for all us who love change. I hope to see you there.