Progressing into the digital era has led to a radical change in the way books are published. We have seen paperbacks and hardbound transition into eBooks and kindle. With the increasing popularity of eBooks, the sales of physical books are reducing. One thing is definite, publishers using traditional tools cannot survive the digital disruption. Publishing Industry has evolved considerably in the last decade to deal with the digital disruption, piracy, changing reading habits, the rise of audiobooks, extreme competition, production problems, and excessive promotion. They have changed their strategies to prevent from becoming obsolete. To make a significant impact, publishers have delved into digital layouts and online publications.
Keeping the dynamic nature of the publishing space in mind, publishers need to use new ideas and tools to ensure their book successfully reaches the readers. Here are some of the challenges faced by the book publishing industry.
Piracy as a problem
Online piracy has changed the way content is shared and consumed by the reader. It has led to a tremendous increase in the losses faced by the publishers. This has created fear amongst writers that the readers will not purchase their book if it is available for free on the internet. When readers have the option to download the book for free, they tend to pirate it. Many readers cannot acquire certain books where they live and refrain from buying the book due to high shipping costs. They are not big on experimentation and tend to read books by a debut author if it is available for free. Despite being illegal, problems such as pricing and inaccessibility have led to an increase in the piracy of e-books. To combat this issue, writers must connect with the potential readers and the audience, both online and offline. When promoting the book at conferences, workshops, and webinars, mention where your book will be sold online and ensure the link to purchase the book is easily available.
The rise of Audiobooks
Another thing that readers seem to agree on is that the prevalence of Audiobooks is here to stay. This makes the current scenario for book publishing appear quite distinct. Audiobooks have made major players in the publishing industry follow the trend. Some readers have drifted to audiobooks which enables them to multi-task, making it the faster-growing book format industry. So, if your book is only available in a written format, you will be missing out on a large sector of the audience and lose influence, visibility, and royalties. However, producing a digital audiobook edition of the book can be expensive. To save on the expenses, you can narrate your book yourself. Many audiobook listeners prefer listening to an audiobook which is narrated by the author. It is simpler than you think. Anchor and GarageBand are some easy to use platforms that will enable you to create an audiobook for free.
Changing Reading habits
Technological advancements like the internet, smartboards, tablets and e-readers have reshaped the reading and learning habits to quite a large extent. The use of a search engine has made finding specific information about a subject extremely convenient. Readers do not need to own a physical book to access content anymore. There are ways in which one consumes content, articles, blogs, videos, gaming, and streaming services. However, readers may face fatigue due to consistently reading a book on a screen. Publishers can offer additional services to the readers to truly experience the book. Since readers are crunched for time, you can create informative and easy to understand summaries for all kinds of books. Instead of fighting the change in the reading culture, you can create book summaries and reach a wider audience on Blinkist and Instaread to ensure there is no significant drop in the number of people who read your book.
Compromising on Quality due to cost
The Indian market is highly price-sensitive, readers often purchase books on a budget. Some book publishers focus on the need to reduce the cost which affects the quality of the books. However, readers often judge a book by its cover. The material and printing quality should match International standards. Quality comes at a price. Ensure that your book is priced competitively with a focus on a cover that has good quality
Selecting the Right target audience
There are many potential readers and buyers for every book and every author. Selecting the right target audience is vital to combat the competition. Promoting the book with the right perspective and cross-promoting is quite crucial to survive in the digital landscape. To ensure the content is relevant and relatable, publishers need a deep understanding about the specific audience they are targeting. The target audiences that emerge are often surprisingly different than those perceived to be. Making assumptions and not identifying the target readers for your genre can be a big risk. Another common mistake could be generalizing ‘everyone’ as your target audience. Research is necessary to gain insight to avoid alienating a potential group of readers.
In the current era of competition, with the excessive availability of content, which is easily accessible over the internet, it is a challenge for book publishers to ensure their book is in the spotlight. As a result, book publishers must select a manuscript that has a unique writing style and content. To combat the competition faced by authors and publishers, it is complex for publishers to devise a plan to be relevant in the digital space. Increasing the visibility of the book is no easy task. Hence, secondary rights are an interesting space to explore. Adaptations of books into movies and plays is a boon. It vastly increases the readership and is one of the best ways to be distinctive. To name a few, books like Sacred Games, Raazi, and The Kissing Booth became extremely popular due to their movie adaptations. This also helps the author extend their content’s availability in another format. Many of the publishing houses have hence started working extensively on selling secondary rights as mentioned.
Unique content always stands out. However, writers must embrace change, capitalize on the latest trends and opportunities to restructure and use the best promotional methods to ensure their book is a success. Getting a manuscript published and acclaimed is encompassed with several obstacles. Missing out on the latest trends could be a big setback.
When publishing a book, writers must be aware of new ways to increase readership. Therefore, it is vital to choose the right publication company because good content and the right strategy can help overcome these challenges faced by the book publishing industry.