Digital will overtake print in 2018, says FBF survey

<p>The year 2018 has been named as the point when digital sales will overtake sales of traditional books, according to a survey by the Frankfurt Book Fair of 840 international industry experts. Around half of those who responded to the survey said 2018 was the &quot;turning point&quot;, up about 10 percentage points on the same survey last year. In 2008, 27% were of the opinion that digital would never overtake print &ndash; now that number is only 22%.</p><p>The bullish prediction comes despite the majority of respondents admitting digital products still comprised just a fraction of overall sales - 60% esimated that &quot;considerably less than 10% of their revenue&quot; would come from digital sources this year - though this is expected to grow sharply over the next couple of years.</p><p>By 2011, 58% of the survey&#39;s respondents said they anticipated digital sales would make up &quot;a considerably higher share&quot; of total revenue. The percentage of those who assumed that 26% to 100% of their revenue would come from digital products in two years increased from 24% this year to 38% in 2011.</p><p>The vast majority - 80% - said they embraced &quot;the radical change&quot; digitisation brings about, rather than seeing it as a threat to the old guard.</p><p>&quot;Now is the time to seek out new strategies, to scour the market, to engage in international benchmarking&rdquo;, said Juergen Boos, director of the Frankfurt Book Fair. &quot;The one true business model is still a long way off and investments are also still being held in check &ndash; at the same time, however, the fear that content will only be distributed free of charge on the Web in the future seems to have been averted for the time being.&quot;</p><p>The survey was carried out in September by the Frankfurt Book Fair and the trade magazine <em>buchreport</em> in co-operation with <em>Publishers Weekly</em>. The majority of responses came from Europe (74%), followed by the US (11%) and Great Britain (4%). Trade houses accounted for 32% of respondents, with information publishers second at 20% and educational publishers third at 10%.</p><p>&quot;The industry continues to search for strategies for creating business with digital products. The focus is on business models that can supplement, and eventually eliminate, the accepted model of exchanging money for printed paper,&quot; said Buchreport editor-in-chief Thomas Wilking.<br />&nbsp;</p>