From 2011 to 2016, the revenues for the e-book publishing industry are projected to increase by an average annual rate of 16.5% to total $6.5 billion. This growth rate includes a 34.9% expansion in 2012 alone. These projections were published in a new report from the market research firm IBIS World.
The researchers define the “e-book publishing industry” as organizations that “design books that are already in print for a digital format, and discover, edit and design books that are published exclusively in digital formats.” This forecast does not include e-books published by individual authors.
While the projected 16.5% average annual growth rate is strong, revenue is not projected to grow as fast as the previous five years.
In the five-year period that ends with 2011, revenue is expected to have grown by an average of 127.7% per year to $3.0 billion. These spectacular growth rates can be attributed to the debut of dedicated e-reading devices, greater access to the Internet, periods of higher levels of disposable income, and increased enrollments in higher education. Profit has also expanded over the current five-year period as digital formatting of books has become more streamlined, increasing the industry’s efficiency.
Industry analyst Agata Kaczanowska explains why revenue growth won’t be as rapid over the next five years: “E-readers and e-book markets are becoming saturated. Many e-readers have already been introduced into the market at a variety of price points, and most contemporary books have been published in digital form. Revenue growth will result from higher disposable income and the increase in the number of consumers in higher education. Moreover, debates over pricing and heightened competition from free e-book providers and libraries will slightly offset some growth.”
Along with industry revenue growth, employment is forecast to grow by an average annual rate of 0.5% per year from 2011 to 2016 to 93,307 workers. Changing books into digital formats is becoming more streamlined, so firms only need new workers when technology shifts. However, new publishing firms are expected to start up as technology costs decline and demand soars. These players will likely focus on niche audiences or genres, such as professional e-books or children’s books.