The book publishing industry has increasingly needed to evolve in order to remain influential as a source of entertainment and education. New sources of media such as on-demand video, streaming audio services and videogames can all be seen as competitors to publishers in the battle to capture consumer attention.
Since the breakthrough emergence of Amazon in the publishing space, the industry as a whole has been greatly affected by its growth and dominance. While the e-commerce company has heaped pressure on traditional publishing houses by setting new benchmarks, its business model has helped launch the careers of millions of self-published authors.
Impact of technology on publishing
In accordance with other industries, publishing is constantly adapting to meet the ever-changing needs of its consumers. Technological advances have played a huge part in publishing’s development, leading to the growth of new book formats, increased social selling and new methods of manufacturing.
- By 2032 the global ebook market is expected to be valued at $32.19 billion.
- Of all available book publishing formats, audiobooks are the fastest-growing.
- Less than 20% of book sales occur through traditional bricks and mortar stores.
- 90% of young readers still prefer physical books over digital copies.
- Around the world, almost 10% of reading activity is performed on digital devices.
A graph is given below to show US digital book formats by growth:
Impact of social media on publishing
The rise and popularity of social media has disrupted the publishing industry, allowing authors, publishers and consumers to communicate in a more direct fashion. Book readers are now able to easily give opinions that influence the direction of the industry, which enables publishers and authors to better identify new opportunities.
- As of 2022, TikTok’s #BookTok hashtag had received more than 42 billion views.
- The previous year, 80% of the best selling UK YA book titles were driven by the trend.
- The Goodreads social book catalog website boasts more than 120 million members worldwide.
- This has helped it become the most favored digital book database for readers.
- Through the Instagram platform, book-related content rose 31% during Covid-19 as influencers encouraged followers to read.
A graph is given below to show Goodreads’ total number of members per year:
Impact of books on society
Books have long been considered a fundamental cornerstone of society, from being influential at all stages of a person’s education to being a go-to leisure activity. Their continued usage across different formats provides a range of outstanding benefits, positively impacting the education, health and social lives of readers around the world.
- Reading for 6 minutes can reduce a person’s stress levels by 66.67%.
- People who enjoy reading in their free time are 28% less likely to suffer from depression.
- For children, increased time spent leisure reading is positively correlated with improved overall lifetime achievement.
- The most popular reason for adults to read books in England was escapism (21%).
- However, the most common reason not to read books was a lack of available time (6%).
A graph is given below to show the responses given by adults in England for / against reading books:
Impact of libraries on book publishing
For book publishing, the impact of libraries can be seen both as beneficial and detrimental to the industry. Whilst libraries are able to encourage people to read and also facilitate new readers, publishers lament a reduction in sales revenue as their book copies can be checked-out multiple times from libraries instead of purchased.
- Through the use of libraries, US citizens are able to save 3.5 times the earnings of US trade publishers which would ordinarily be spent on books.
- Estimates suggest that 90% of circulated library books are trade books.
- During the lifetime of a library book, it can be checked out by readers between 40 to 80 times in total.
- Per capita in the US, book borrowing has doubled since the 1960s.
A graph is given below to show the main reasons for using libraries in the United States:
Impact of book publishing on film industry
Books have provided the original source material for many of the highest-grossing movies of all time. Fiction books as part of a series tend to generate the most success, which has led to the film industry favoring the production of titles that are based on publications from the category.
- More than 70% of the top 20 grossing films worldwide are based upon books.
- Financially, films that are book adaptations generate 53% more revenue than original screenplays.
- From 2007 to 2016, films adapted from books grossed $22.5 billion worldwide.
- Publishers are now able to anticipate boosts in income from additional book sales after the release of a film adaptation of their titles.
- Film adaptations can notably boost a book’s Goodreads popularity and increase its ratings by more than 1,000%.
A graph is given below to show the top 5 movie series based on books by gross revenue worldwide:
Impact of covid-19 on book publishing
The Covid-19 pandemic caused a huge impact throughout all levels of society. Book publishing was no exception, as authors struggled with unforeseen financial difficulties, bookstores struggled with reduced visitors due to lockdowns and publishers began to increasingly focus on emerging digital technologies.
- For the US, the publishing industry generated $29.33 billion in 2021, 12.3% higher than in 2020.
- A greater uptake of online sales alongside new store bookstore openings were key to the increase.
- Online sales for the first time ever were reported as having made up around 50% of trade sales.
- Drops in income since the start of the pandemic were disclosed by 71.4% of US authors.
- Moreover, US book distributors were affected by supply chain issues and high resignation rates from warehouse workers.
A graph is given below to show the reasons for declines in income for authors during Covid-19:
Impact of book publishing on environment
The book publishing industry produces a staggering impact on the environment due to its manufacturing processes, logistics, energy usage and physical waste created. In recent years, an increased global focus on sustainability has encouraged the industry to re-think its approach to the environment and become greener as a collective.
- Across the globe, the book production process emits more than 40 million metric tons of CO2.
- From pulp and paper alone, the process of book publishing produces the third-largest amount of industrial greenhouse gas emissions.
- Annually, more than 16,000 truckloads of unread books are wasted.
- An estimated 10 million trees are killed to produce books that are unread during their lifetime, before being destroyed.
- 22.5 paper books could be purchased by a consumer before it would be more environmentally viable to use a Kindle device.
A graph is given below to show each stage of the book production process by its greenhouse gas emissions produced:
What impacts book publishing FAQ
Is the book publishing industry dying?
- Although the book publishing industry has had to undergo huge changes in recent years, the book publishing industry is not fading away.
- The rise in ebooks and audiobooks have created new publishing opportunities to meet the demands of consumers, alongside the continued desire for printed books.
- Traditional publishing houses now face increased competition from self-publishing platforms and online retailers, however the necessity for books across a range of formats remains.
How have publishers adapted to new trends?
- The book publishing industry has attempted to adapt to new trends by making itself more approachable and aligned with consumers.
- Digital publications now make up a large portion of book sales to satisfy readers who prefer using electronic devices to read or listen to books.
- Social media trends are increasingly monitored and analyzed to promote titles and anticipate new publishing opportunities.
- Furthermore, publishing companies are now more attentive and focused on green initiatives to reduce their carbon footprint.
What will happen to print books?
- Although there were many predictions that print books would decrease in popularity, they still remain a popular format for children, young adults and adults alike.
- Printed books are able to retain their popularity as readers notice they experience an increase in concentration when compared to reading on devices.
- However, digital formats are still on the rise and their market share is expected to grow alongside printed formats.
- Printed and digital book formats can be seen to complement each other, providing a variety in publications for readers with different tastes.