Digital Publishing Sales: Revenue Forecasts That Even a CFO can Love

Posted by Marianne Calihanna on Feb 14, 2012 9:06:00 AM

Earlier this month I had the pleasure of hearing Ned May, vice president and lead analyst from Outsell, Inc. present at the Professional Scholarly Publishing annual meeting. Outsell helps the "world's publishers, information providers, and enterprise marketers grow revenue and deliver solutions." Outsell is my first stop to gather information and metrics I can trust about the growing ebook market.

I've been involved with STM publishing and mark-up languages for a long time. (Last night I realized that if my experience were a child, it would be old enough to drink. Ouch!) I recognize that this background is the cause of my nonobjective opinions around ebooks, digital sales, XML content management. I've long maintained that customers want digital, the tools (CMS et al.) are mature, XML is the common language, and the $$ numbers don’t lie. So hearing Ned's presentation and seeing real revenue forecasts based on Outsell's research was heartening.

The following slide set the stage for the $462B information industry with projected revenues and growth based on Outsell's industry research.

Information industry forecast - Outsell

Digital publishing's steady growth is represented in the following slide. The point at which publishers' print vs digital revenue flip resembles our findings last October when we polled a number of RSuite customers. Clearly, some publishers have already made this transition to greater digital revenue while others lag.

digital v print revenueThe following slide illustrates the "R" in your digital publishing ROI. STM and educational publishers have a projected compound annual growth rate of 5.2% and 5%.

digital publishing compound annual growthSo what to make of all these projections? Recognize that digital publishing is not simply a final workflow step in your publishing process. Converting printed books to epub is nice. (Just like that box of candy or flowers for valentines day is, uh, "nice.") Real value and substance comes from the effort that is put in every day---effort to transform the people, processes, and techology.

Ned's closing slide nails it:

actions for publishers

Topics: ebooks, digital publishing strategy

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