Like all other enterprises, publishing is a business. It’s ruled by the same expectations that other business receive on a daily basis. The world is constantly changing with the ever-changing demands of readers and other consumers in general. Publishers are no longer just producers or distributors of books but are now content creators and distributors in every possible way.
Publishers and publishing service providers have integrated their services in domains where no one thought imaginable. The digital revolution has brought up several different ways where publishers have been productive and opened up new revenue streams. Let’s take a look at a few of them.
- Mobile Publishing – Mobile devices have allowed publishers to beam content that consumers can have instant access to. Smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices have taken precedence in the daily lives of regular consumers. In the United States alone, the pew research center’s 2015 technology device ownership survey found that 92% of adults own a cellphone (including smartphones) and 45% own a tablet computer. For instance, there has been a rise in corporations needing to train their employees en masse. By doing so, they cut costs down, provide a more interactive experience and create a better learning environment to increase productivity. Even in conventional classrooms, students constantly have to learn on-the-go.
- Adaptive Testing – Interactive is the watchword for publishers everywhere. By providing an interactive testing environment, publishers are using technology to create physcometric questions to boost learning outcomes. Publishers and publishing service providers can have a substantial impact on the enhancement of the current learning product of any skill. This requires adding adaptive functionality to an existing electronic product or adaptive assessment tool that will enhance the user experience and facilitate increased revenues (both from price increments and volume). Publishers are also developing entirely new adaptive products that can be marked as alternatives to traditional products and provide an entirely new revenue source.
- Video and Audio – With the rise of streaming video, it has offered a new realm for publishers to seek alternative revenue sources. It’s estimated that video is projected to claim more than 80% of all web traffic by 2019. Another report suggests that 59% of company decision makers would rather watch a video than read an article or blog post. From a marketing perspective, this could be a boon for content marketers with video being an alternative way to influence brand recall. On the flipside, audiobooks have seen their stock rise in the publishing sphere. In the United States, Sales revenues have soared in this area in recent years, almost doubling between 2009 and 2015. This growing demand for audiobooks can be seen in the fact that the number of audiobook titles published in the United States has grown from approximately 4,600 to over 35,500 in the same time frame. This has all the more to do with the ‘instant culture’ that has reigned supreme worldwide. People are frequently on-the-move and they just don’t have the time as they would have in years prior.
- Virtual and Augmented Reality – Ever since Facebook bought virtual reality and tech company Oculus for a staggering $2 billion in 2014, virtual reality, or VR, has remained at the forefront for tech nerds, engineers, and investors. The key point here is investors. $1.2 billion was invested in VR in Q1 of 2016 alone. For publishers, this offers another outlet as a major income source. It’s about the experience and not necessarily the medium. For augmented reality or AR, Pokemon Go was a game changer. It showed what AR was capable of and that even in educational formats, this offered another money making outlet for publishers worldwide. Here’s an opportunity as a publisher or author to initiate a conversation directly with your readers. Add an Easter egg to the print edition where readers can receive a reward via an AR-powered offer; you will, of course, ask for each reader’s name and email address before handing out those rewards. The possibilities are endless.
As technology evolves, so will the demands of the consumers. Publishers, content providers and service providers everywhere have to be vigilant to adapt with the changes to remain profitable and excel in the marketplace.
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