Resources, Talent and Process Biggest Challenges for Publishers Going Digital, Survey Says

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By Jeremy Greenfield, Editorial Director, Digital Book World, @JDGsaid

Lack of financial resources, a defined process and internal expertise are the three biggest challenges facing book publishers that are struggling to become digital content businesses, according to a new survey.

When asked which factors limit their ability to develop digital products, 91% of 366 publishers surveyed by Innodata and Digital Book World named lack of financial resources. Some 82% said lack of a defined process and 81% said lack of internal expertise. (See chart below.)

In April 2012, publishing technology company Innodata and Digital Book World surveyed 366 publishers and media executives from among Digital Book World’s subscriber list. About a third were adult trade publishers and the rest were children’s, academic, K-12 and science and technology publishers. About a third of respondents identified as either president, CEO, or another c-level executive at their company. Nearly half identified as a manager or director.

While financial resources are often strained at companies going through transition, developing new processes and hiring or training new talent are problems publishing companies could conceivably overcome.

According to the survey, however, only 13% of publishers plan on hiring five or more employees to address these issues in 2012. Another 12% plan on hiring three or four people; 41% plan on hiring one or two people. And nearly a third plan on hiring none (2% plan on scaling back — see chart below).

At the same time, 60% of publishers surveyed said they were planning on hiring third-party companies to help them develop new digital content.

Innodata and Digital Book World presented the results of the survey during a webcast today. Slides from the presentation can be downloaded here.

Write to Jeremy Greenfield

Chart with magnifying glass image via Shutterstock

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