Monday, February 7, 2011

Professional Publishing Revenues Rebound with Help from E-books and Online Strategies

Professional books, still a foundational reference source for most working professionals, grew 1.1% to $13.9 billion in 2010, an initial step toward a full recovery. Media and publishing forecast firm Simba Information's latest report, "Global Professional Publishing 2009-2010," details the resilience of professional books through the recession and the explosive adoption of electronic models.

After losing sales in 2009 due to contracted library budgets and decreased exports, professional book publishing, which includes the legal, medical, business, scientific and technical fields, has nearly regained its 2008 position. Although largely due to a recovering economy, new e-book strategies and products from large commercial publishers have helped libraries make the most of their budgets and shelf space.

"Although publishers have dealt with electronic journals for years, producing electronic books as a viable publishing product is slowly taking hold," said Dan Strempel, lead author of the report. "E-books are now gaining a prominent foothold within the professional and academic world at large."

Historically vilified by the scholarly publishing world, search giants, such as Google and Yahoo!, have proven to be a boon to the industry, as added exposure has increased book sales. The report finds publishers are especially excited about Google Books, which allows users to browse sample pages before purchasing the full text or designated sections.

"The number of publishers distributing through search engines is remarkably increasing, a trend which will continue over the next few years," noted Strempel.

Publishers have embraced a print-on-demand distribution model, which allows buyers to purchase a specific digest and have it shipped within 24 hours of placing the order. According to the report, partnerships with online distributors, such as Amazon, have helped make backlist, out-of-print and large print books readily available.

"In short, as the Internet age continues to evolve and offer new business models and distribution routes, professional publishers must continue to explore the many ways books and book content can be seen, explored and purchased," added Strempel. "The possibilities for reaching the right consumer are now limitless."

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