Publishers need to expand digital backlist, says Bilbary founder

Publishers need to expand digital backlist, says Bilbary founder

Publishers need to place a greater emphasis in getting their backlist titles published digitally in order to make the e-reading market more "credible" according to Bilbary founder Tim Coates.

Speaking at the O’Reilly Tools of Change for Publishing Conference in New York yesterday (14th February), Coates said in order for the e-book industry to satisfy its customer base publishers need to move away from simply publishing "more" books to providing greater access to their older titles online.

"Specifically readers want more access to the extensive and famous backlists from the major publishing houses. To make e-reading a credible market there needs to be 10 times more backlist titles than are currently available," he said in a statement prepared ahead of his TOC talk.

Coates appeared in a panel discussing the challenges of affording equal access to content in the e-book era and creating a "win-win-win" situation for readers, authors and publishers.

Former Waterstones m.d.Coates, who announced his plan to launch international online consumer site for the sale and lending of e-books, Bilbary, in December, also said devices for reading need to be "cheaper and more disposable".

He said: "A large portion of book readers are older people and children. These individuals need a reliable and affordable way to access e-book content without being pressured to purchase a specific expensive device."

Coates also said there needed to be a shift from simply publishing more titles to providing readers with access to the content that they desire, as the e-book era moves forward.

The O’Reilly Tools of Change for Publishing Conference is in its sixth year and runs until today (15th February).