Publishing eBooks and listening to audiobooks are not new ideas, and e-readers have been around for several years. The expansion of the digital publishing industry has led to the emergence of a wide range of e-book formats, creating a need for e-book conversion and formatting.
The surge in digitization of publisher backlists has spawned an industry, which specializes in converting printed books into eBooks. Some of the industry’s largest Web content providers and electronic publishers rely on HTML/XML conversion to make technical/academic books and journals ready for online display.
For instance, some clients approach publishing service providers to create interactive eBooks using ePub3 from PDFs. This content transformation process is not simple. It involves the following processes:
- Converting content from PDFs and other sources to eBooks
- Adding interactive features to eBooks
- Creating a template for similar type of exercises to reduce time
- Offering assessments of each activity with scores
- Special coding for storing and retrieving test entries
- Ensuring image quality without increasing the file size
- Validating every activity to ensure there was no repetition of the asset file
While looking at the current state of content development, it is not hard to see why publishers across the world are investing more in this format. A survey revealed that although 57% of publishers are making more than half of their titles available as eBooks, only 65% of publishers have converted less than half of their backlists (legacy titles) into eBooks.
While eBooks are still very much part of the digital transformation industry, audiobooks are not far behind. Audiobooks are the fastest-growing segment in publishing, representing a billion-dollar industry, with millions of people making purchases each day. Given the demand, well-edited and expertly narrated audiobooks have huge sales potential, as these tend to command a higher price point than their print versions. However, with great growth potential comes tough competition.
The audiobook market has shown consistent growth. According to the Audio Publishers Association, 2017 saw six million more audiobooks sell than the previous year. The growth in the past couple of years has been between 20% and 30% in the United States and in major European markets like the United Kingdom. In the same period, growth has gone up to 200% in Nordic countries. In 2017, over 30% of all fiction sales in Sweden were expected to have been from digital audiobooks, and the overall book market has grown in revenue over the past two years due to new listeners. Whether you have a print or digital backlist, you would like to offer in audio format, or you would like to see audiobooks become a part of your future book releases; there are a number of ways to take advantage of audio.
With the evolution of digital transformation, business models have undergone significant shifts, and new opportunities for growth have opened up alongside challenges. For example, Penguin Random Houseto get books into the hands of as many readers as possible in whatever format they prefer. The current split globally for Penguin Random House between print and digital is 80:20, and digital audiobook sales are up.
Publishers find that benefits of audiobooks in publishing are lower investment, cheaper production costs, low inventory storage costs, and, most important of all, the ability to build a stronger global customer base. No matter the trend, we can be sure that audiobooks are on track to become one of the more vital divisions of publishing.
Publishers are in the age of podcasts, radio apps, and audiobooks, and now could not be a better time to convert your e-book into an audiobook. Audiobook sales continue to rise and may be the perfect complement to your print and digital books.