Why All Publishers Should Watch the Academic Market

academic publishing digital textbooksAcademic publishing is evolving alongside every other sector of the industry, but according to Processed Media President Joseph Esposito, it’s where a new crop of innovators may emerge next.

“In 2014 we began to see the reemergence of institutional markets as important channels for all books,” Esposito points out, citing, among other things, the “large proportion of trade ebooks available for libraries” compared with just a few years ago.

As Esposito sees it, the industry-wide push to establish new distribution channels is encouraging cross-pollination among market categories that were previously seen as having little to teach one another.

That’s one reason, in his view, why the next wave of “breakout companies will be in academic publishing.”

Much more.

Related: A Close Look Inside the New World of Higher Education Publishing at DBW15

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Academic Publishing’s Digital Forecast (Harvard Magazine)
The surprise success of Thomas Picketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century this year was great for Harvard University Press, but the academic publishing world is much less accustomed to relying on best-sellers to stay in the black than the trade one is. Two words this long-read uses to characterize the academic market’s digital transition are “experimental” and “hybrid”; two others are “wild” and “west.”

The Economics of the Academic Market (Pacific Standard)
Looking at the academic market as publishers test new digital projects and explore open access models, one author and commentator concludes that “academic publishing has confusing and contradictory goals. No one is likely to find a perfect means of reconciling them all.” Here’s his take on what that means for authors and scholars in the meantime.

Bibliocrunch Expands Author Tools (DBW)
The market for curated publishing tools for self-published authors is expanding. Bibliocrunch relaunches its website, becoming the latest self-publishing platform to significantly expand its offering of services, resources and partnerships.

The Elephant in the Courtroom (ThinkProgress)
In one industry watcher’s words, Apple’s ebook appeal “has everything to do with” Amazon. And so, unsurprisingly, some of the back-and-forth in this week’s hearing reflected familiar debates in the publishing world about the e-tailer’s influence, and how the outcome of the appeal could shift the balance.

Amazon Adds to KDP Author Fund (Pub Lunch)
Amid complaints that Kindle Unlimited is dragging down authors’ earnings, Amazon adds $3.5 million to the pool from which KDP authors were paid in November, slightly increasing their compensation per “borrow” through the program.

Penguin Random Best-Sellers Keep Ahead This Holiday Season (DBW)
The world’s largest trade publisher has dominated the Ebook Best-Seller List over the course of the year, and its titles are still ahead this holiday shopping season. More than half of the week’s top 25 ebooks are published by Penguin Random House, with Lauren Hillenbrand’s Unbroken at No. 1.

Children’s Publishing Going Strong (PW)
Growth continues apace for children’s and young adult titles, according to data and analysis presented at Nielsen’s Children’s Book Summit, with changes in device use and adoption set to continue reshaping the market.
Related: Publishers Launch Kids Offers Another Data-Based Take on Children’s Publishing

Is the “Young Adult” Category Misbranded? (Pub Perspectives)
It turns out not all readers of “young adult” fiction see themselves as young adults, prompting some publishers to wonder whether the category could grow further still with a little rebranding.


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