By George Lossius, CEO of Publishing Technology
As predicted by many, last year saw further dramatic changes in publishing across all sectors; trade, educational and academic. We saw more chain and independent book shops closing and consumers further embracing digital content, as Amazon, Google and Apple continue to reinforce their position in the trade publishing industry. Meanwhile, on the academic side, libraries continued to struggle with on-going budget freezes, whilst strains on journal subscriptions models and rising interest in one time purchases and open access models posed vital questions to the industry. But what does next year hold? Here is Part One of ten of the trends we can expect to feature on the publishing agenda throughout 2012:
10. Print on Demand
If publishers are going to look further afield to new growth markets, PoD may well be the enabler. It is common knowledge that printing locally and on a needs only basis can dramatically cut costs lost through shipping, warehousing and surplus wastage, in addition to slashing time to market and solving traditional supply chain issues. For publishers looking to test the waters in new, high risk environments, willing to test out new business models, such as rentals, PoD is likely to afford great benefits and could experience, even if on a rather small scale, something of a revival this year.
9. Exploring new markets
In the academic market, publishers are finding that revenues can be found more frequently than ever before in some of the world’s fastest growing markets, namely China, India, Brazil and Argentina, where governments are increasing investment in research. We are not only witnessing a rise in academic paper submissions from the likes of China but also signs that these growing markets are becoming more self-reliant and less dependent on Western publishing partners. On the trade side, the congested US, UK and European markets, where competition is often rife but the awards plenty, will still be core revenue generators, however we would expect many publishers to expand their horizons and look to growing their operations in these exciting and fast-moving markets.
8. Making Facebook pay
The uptake in social media over the past five years has been astonishing and the likes of Facebook and Twitter present publishers with a whole new tier of marketing possibilities, whether they choose to exploit it or not. 2012 could be the year that publishers migrate to social commerce in a big way, turning online conversations about products and brands into sales opportunities.
7. Online discovery and user experience
Merely having a presence on the web is no longer sufficient and making content easy to access and discover has become incredibly important, which many publishers are realising. However, truly mastering online publishing and reaping the benefits requires so much more than ensuring content is searchable. Based on current trajectories we expect to see many more publishers looking towards semantics, linked data and a departure from the traditional print-based model to truly enhance user experience. Publishers will need to reposition themselves as online publishers, instead of print publishers who also publish content online.
6. Peer review boiling point
One of the major academic publishing themes of 2011 was the increased debate and noise around the challenges within the current peer review process. A likely trend for 2012 is that many publishers will take a fresh look at peer review, some considering an open peer review model, and others looking at speedier and more efficient solutions and alternatives to encourage collaboration and engagement.