While university libraries across the globe anticipate budget cuts, the trends suggest that e-reading is seeing a phenomenal rise.
Global economic meltdowns have never been kind to the publishing industry. Already stuttering, publishing now faces budget-cuts, job losses across departments. All the stakeholders involved are looking sideways as the lockdown period keeps on extending in the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Libraries likely to lose out of their budgetary allocation
For academic publishing, there has not been much respite lately. Already plagued by photocopying, illegal distribution of content through digital mediums, and a dwindling number of titles, academic publishers are now looking at the university allocation for libraries with bated breath.
But as the history would have it, libraries don’t seem to have much hope. In the times of Corona, when the entire GDPs are shrinking, it is but inevitable that institutions will bear the subsequent brunt as well. Though the losses will be redistributed across departments, it is the libraries that will have to do the heavy lifting.
Academic publishing has to take the road less taken.
E-reading on the loop
The pre-COVID numbers for ebooks were not that encouraging. And certainly not for academic publishers. E-books was being outmatched even by audiobooks at one point of time. But the chameleon has changed its colours now. Online campaigns on social media platforms and incessant marketing have resulted in an unprecedented boom in the post-COVID ebook market. The likes of Juggernaut are witnessing a huge spike in the number of users, with app installs doubling and book downloads nearly quadrupling within a month.
Digital mediums also offer other means of reaching out to users, like ‘On-demand virtual sessions’ and a direct connection between The Brand & The Buyer.”
But as E-reading largely remains a trade books practice, is there any hope for non-trade/academic publishers?
Problem Statement: College libraries are the primary customers of academic publishers.
Solution: E-libraries and E-books.
As books aren’t considered essential items, the libraries across institutions remain closed. So does the revenue strems for academic publishers. By limiting themselves to traditional means, the academic publishers are now cornered in uncharted territory. For an industry worth thousands of crores, standing still is not an option. Like any conscientious individual learning new skills during this lockdown period, it is…
…Time for Academic Publishing to learn some digital lessons?
The ongoing pandemic is proving to be an ultimate social experiment. To get the whole of humanity under somewhat similar situation is a once in a lifestyle opportunity for entrepreneurs and leaders across industries. And if this pandemic has taught us one thing, it is that future is digital and one can not afford to stay in denial.
As the trade book publishers capitalize on the ever-increasing mobile usage by shifting towards digital, it is time for academic publishers to put aside their inhibitions regarding their content going on the internet. Institutions too have to move towards e-libraries which can actually cut costs but in an efficient manner without jeopardizing the learning quotient of the students.
It is time our Academic Publishers took digital lessons to catch up with e-reading.