Five Digital Trends Transforming The Publishing Industry

Five Digital Trends transforming the Publishing industry
Innovation is the requisition of evolution, and at the helm of all innovation is the Digitalization of traditional industries. Publishing has been one of the oldest industries known to mankind and it’s evolving rapidly. They are now equally involved in exploring the transformative ways in which their audience can consume the content published. Publishers and content creators need to ensure that they are updated on the latest digital trends in publishing. Below, we explore 5 digital trends in publishing that are on the rise:

Subscription Models:

Subscription-based services are still on the rise. In 2018, digital publishing subscriptions were the most important revenue stream (44%) for news publishers worldwide. However, having access to exclusive articles, photographs, or joining the subscribers-only forums is not enough to persuade readers/viewers to become subscribers.  Email newsletters, exit intent pop-ups, and push notifications are three popular triggers that publishers are using today to convert casual readers/viewers into paying subscribers. Publishers have to create exceptional content using creative formats that would attract new subscribers and increase reader loyalty. It’s always best to provide options because it allows the user to choose instead of paying a compulsory amount to get access to the content. For example, The Paris Review has four different subscription plans you can choose from.  The New Yorker offers print+digital issues to their subscribers, whereas, for the people who’ve moved on from paper and adapted to the screen culture, there’s something called Unlimited Digital Access. No matter which subscription you choose, you get a free New Yorker tote bag that adds a touch of personalization and readers taking pride in being a part of the community.  Customization is the key here. An interesting example to note would be plans like “entertainment in your pocket” initiated by OTT platforms like Netflix where they have introduced the mobile-only subscription. 

Insta Novels:

Insta Novels, a reimagining of Instagram Stories to provide a new platform for some of the most iconic stories ever written, was first launched in August 2018 with the newly digitized version of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, by the New York Public Library. Through a partnership with a New York ad agency – Mother, they created “Insta Novels,” a fun, engaging storytelling format that could draw in a generation of young readers with microscopic attention spans. NYPL’s goal was to reach beyond the confines of its four walls and convince more people to read books. In pursuit of this mission, the institution has turned to one of the largest social media platforms in the world, bringing classic literature to Instagram’s 400 million daily active users.

Podcasts, Audiobooks & Videos

Global monthly podcast listener figures are expected to reach 1.85 billion by 2023. This means podcasts are in boom at the moment and publishers are doing everything they can to get on the action. As people listen to podcasts while working at home, exercising, or commuting, they are able to consume longer forms of content more easily, as they go about their day, without having to give their full attention to the piece of content. This is promising for publishers in all industries as users can listen to any podcast that’s important to them – whether it is celebrity gossip or intellectual debates. Audiobooks are the new darlings of the publishing industry. In fact, audiobooks are currently the fastest-growing segment of the digital publishing world. Reportedly there’s a 33.9% increase in the number of audiobooks published in 2017 vs. 2016 according to Association of American Publishers. Audible is an extremely popular audio book membership option. Amazon launched Audible and its audiobooks subscription service in India, in 2018. Initially, they started with a 90-day free trial option with credit towards three free audiobooks, followed by a monthly, half-yearly and annual plan. Its large selection of books and well-thought-out app are two of the reasons it’s the best subscription service for its price. Short, snackable video contents dominate consumer’s social media screen time. These videos range from DIY videos like how to cook tasty treats to short tutorials like workouts to do at the gym. Either way, consumers love to watch bite-sized videos of 30-75 seconds and video producers have largely ditched the standard format of one – two minute videos. The challenge, for publishers, is to keep users entertained in that short span of time, by creating videos that are fun and engaging but do not demand a lot of time or focus. 


You are the company you keep!  And that goes for writers too, even if it means Digital Company.  Good collaborations with other publishers, organizations, and even influencers can mean a content package that’s more significant and powerful than one that could’ve been created by one publisher alone. As different organizations bring together their unique capabilities and expertise, the end result is almost always a piece of content that provides a higher value to consumers. It can also mean digital innovations such as collaborations between publishing houses and production houses. Book to screen adaptations also ensures better exposure for authors while turning out to be a great source of income for the authors. The greatest examples of all times are the Marvel Cinematic Universe, DC comics and the Harry Potter Universe. Speaking of India, recent hits like Raazi, Sacred Games, and the upcoming series on Shantaram are great examples of book adaptations. The most recent example would be the latest Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’s big reveal at Times Square. The crowd included fifty “wizarding world influencers”, vloggers, bloggers, and everyone who was invited for the launch. The producers of Broadway’s Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, in partnership with entertainment advertising agency AKA NYC, took over Times Square and used 51 towering screens to promote the play’s expansion to new international markets and reveal its new tagline: “Sometimes, Darkness Comes From Unexpected Places.” in the form of an immersive theatre.

Mobile Strategy

Mobile is now the superior device for online activity for most people. Thus, it is crucial to have a good mobile experience on your publishing platform. A mobile strategy curtails a lot of things and there are endless possibilities to be creative. Some of the ideas to have a good mobile presence include things like having:
  • Mobile friendly pages – easily navigable pages on the mobile i.e. web pages that do not hinder the ability of a user to perform any action or cause the user any annoyance.
  • AMPs – these are web pages that load faster on the mobile and shown preference on the mobile SERPs. AMPs also have a higher chance of showing up on Google Discover.
  • PWAs – these are websites that look and function like a mobile app, built to take advantage of native mobile features, without requiring the user to go on the play store/app store and download or purchase the app locally.
  • Push notifications – sending push notifications onto the mobile phones of the users (after taking permission, of course) through your mobile app or through your website.
  • Vertical content – any videos created for the mobile should favor a vertical format as vertical videos are played and preferred by all the top social networks – Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, etc. Vertical videos also perform 58% times better than their horizontal counterparts in terms of user engagement.
Creating good content will not only lead to user delight but will also generate backlinks as more web pages link to your content. One of the characteristics of high-quality content is that they have high E-A-T (expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness). If you haven’t heard the term before, it is part of Google’s quality guidelines to determine where a page will rank on Google for a keyword: Google evaluates the expertise of the author; the authoritativeness of the author, the content, and the website; and the trustworthiness of the author, the content, and the website, among other things, in order to assign a Page Quality rating to a particular page of content. Higher the Page Quality rating for your content, the higher you will appear on Google! Creating exceptional content also means capturing audiences for all kinds of content – from writing, to audio-visual, and even more!  Publishers are transforming the way readers digest their content on all kinds of screens. It’s time to develop smarter production strategies based on what readers need with a sharper focus on digital trends in publishing with the available tools and innovate the space.