Leap in trade publishers' e-book production

Leap in trade publishers' e-book production

One in five publishers is now generating more than 10% of their revenues from e-books, with Amazon slowly decreasing in importance even as the giant e-tailer's revenues from e-books continue to grow.

The numbers are revealed in Aptara's third annual e-book survey of publishers, representing more than 1,300 book publishers from the trade, education, professional and corporate markets.

The vast majority of book publishers (85%), across all market segments, are producing print and e-book versions of their titles, but the survey found trade publishers in particular are now a driving force in the e-books market, adopting "at a faster rate than any other type of book publisher". The percentage of trade publishers producing e-books has risen from 50% to 76% in two years. In fact, only 6% of trade publishers said they have no plans to produce e-books, the lowest proportion among the different types of publishers, and a 17% drop from Aptara's first survey.

The survey found trade publishers are also now catching up their peers in terms of revenue, with 20% reporting they now had e-book sales in excess of 10%, beaten only by college and corporate publishers. Amazon.com was listed as the biggest generator of sales by 56% of trade publishers, and by 38% of all publishers, with their own websites the second biggest category. Apple, Barnes & Noble and Kobo all ranked much lower, with just 2% plumping for Apple's iBookstore and 1% for the Nook and Kobo.

While 56% of trade publishers reported Amazon as their largest sales generator, only 20% of publishers listed Amazon as their preferred distribution channel. According to Aptara, Amazon still dominates distribution across all publishing market segments but by a steadily decreasing margin. While Barnes & Noble was the second-most popular distribution channel for trade publishers, the perception of Barnes & Noble's effect on trade publishers' bottom line was almost non-existent (1%).

The main drivers for producing e-books across all publishing market segments are "increasing revenue" (42%) and "increased customer demand" (36%). However, two out of three e-book publishers have still not converted the majority of their backlist titles to e-books.

The overwhelming percentage of responding publishers across all market segments were from English-speaking countries including United States (70%), United Kingdom (8%), Canada (3%), and Australia (3%).