Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

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New survey offers insights into small publishers’ ebook businesses

London-based Australian ebook producer Simon Collinson has published the results of his survey of international small publishers on their ebook businesses.

Collinson gathered data from 59 publishers from nine countries, including Australia, New Zealand, the UK and the US, as part of his Masters degree at City University London.

The research, which is available on Collinson’s website, considers small publishers’ ebook sales, production, design, distribution and digital rights management. It also includes case studies of Snowbooks, a UK publishing and publishing services company; Thad McIlroy, a US speaker and publishing consultant who has published ebooks; and Galley Beggar Press, a UK independent publisher.

Among a list of 24 summarised suppositions, the research found: the majority of small publishers make under 10% of their sales from ebooks; the US is the largest ebook market for most publishers, regardless of their home location; most publishers spend between US$50-$100 (A$68-137) on the production of an average ebook; ‘many publishers are confused about DRM, but most believe it applies to their books’; and the most popular retailers are, in order of popularity, Amazon, Apple, Kobo and Nook.

Collinson writes that ‘a significant proportion of the small publishers surveyed displayed poor knowledge of ebook production processes generally, and even of their own ebook businesses’. He concludes that ‘smaller publishers are still not taking advantage of the ebook market to the same extent as their larger cousins’ and, despite progress since a similar survey was conducted in 2012, ‘there remain significant gaps in small publishers’ interest in and knowledge of the subject’.

Collinson has reopened his questionnaire so that it can become an ongoing survey of the state of small press ebook publishing. He also wrote a piece for the Bookseller’s FutureBook site, explaining his reasons for conducting the research.


Category: Local news