According to a piece today on TheBookseller.com, in 2011, for the first time ever, ebook production overtook hardcover print book production. From TheBookseller.com:
E-book production overtook hardback output in 2011 for the first time, as the number of new titles published in the UK continued to flatline, according to book production figures published by Nielsen BookScan.
Publishers produced 149,800 new books and new editions in 2011, down from the 2009 high point of 157,039 and down from last year’s 151,959; this was despite the growing number of e-books published with separate ISBNs from their print equivalents. Nielsen said the decrease showed a “natural reduction in difficult market conditions and a stabilisation across production methods and a shift from print to digital”.
Meanwhile, over on TechCrunch, Jordan Kurzweil offers some survival tips to print publishers in a piece entitled “Print Is Dead! Long Live Print?” From the article:
It’s been said before, but it needs saying again (and again and again): PRINT IS DEAD. Across the publishing industry, year-over-year declines in revenue, subscriptions and circulation, are well documented. Yes, there have been a few quarters of blood-stanching flatness (yay!), but – you heard it here first (or few weeks ago from The Annenberg School, or over the summer from Clay Shirky) – print periodicals are going to go away – forced out of this world by the march of technology and changing tastes, and replaced by new powerhouse brands – TMZ, Buzzfeed and HuffPo to name a few — which are poised to own the future, because they know how to adapt to (and even anticipate!) evolving user behavior. As John Paton, CEO of one of the largest newspaper companies in the U.S., put it recently “‘You’re gonna miss us when we’re gone’ is not much of a business model.”
For a rebuttal to the notion that print is going the way of the dinosaur, check out The Late Age of Print: Everyday Book Culture from Consumerism to Control by Ted Striphas—ironically, available in a Kindle edition. From Amazon:
Ted Striphas argues that, although the production and propagation of books have undoubtedly entered a new phase, printed works are still very much a part of our everyday lives. With examples from trade journals, news media, films, advertisements, and a host of other commercial and scholarly materials, Striphas tells a story of modern publishing that proves, even in a rapidly digitizing world, books are anything but dead.
From the rise of retail superstores to Oprah’s phenomenal reach, Striphas tracks the methods through which the book industry has adapted (or has failed to adapt) to rapid changes in twentieth-century print culture. Barnes & Noble, Borders, and Amazon.com have established new routes of traffic in and around
books, and pop sensations like Harry Potter and the Oprah Book Club have inspired the kind of brand loyalty that could only make advertisers swoon. At the same time, advances in digital technology have presented the book industry with extraordinary threats and unique opportunities.
Striphas’s provocative analysis offers a counternarrative to those who either triumphantly declare the end of printed books or deeply mourn their passing. With wit and brilliant insight, he isolates the invisible processes through which books have come to mediate our social interactions and influence our habits of consumption, integrating themselves into our routines and intellects like never before.