Frankfurt Survey Shows Lack of Consensus on Digital Future

The Bookseller reports on two very interesting bits of data from a survey conducted by the Frankfurt Book Fair, that taken together, suggests publishers are far from ready to answer the question of how to deal with the digital transition:

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 “turning point”, up about 10 percentage points on the same survey last year. In 2008, 27% were of the opinion that digital would never overtake print – now that number is only 22%.

Digital will overtake print in 2018, says FBF survey

And…

An overwhelming majority of publishers believe that e-books should be less expensive than the printed version, but only 15% support Amazon.com flat-rate of $9.99 on front-list titles, a survey from the Frankfurt Book Fair has suggested. The survey indicates that publishers remain unsure about how much cheaper e-books should be, with the FBF saying that the industry remains “completely divided about appropriate e-book pricing”.

Publishers ‘completely divided’ over e-book pricing

With no consensus on pricing, a plethora of competing digital platforms and formats to reconcile, and no shortage of pundits with theories on how it will all play out, the predicted tipping point of 2018 means exisiting publishers need to have a practical gameplan in place…yesterday.

Question: Who are the 22% who believe digital sales will never overtake print sales? Are they luddites, skeptics or the only rational people in the room?

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