Among the multiple presentations of original research at Digital Book World later this month, James McQuivey from Forrester Research will present a new version of the survey they conducted a year ago to assess publishing executives' expectations on the digital transition.
This year's results (from publishers said to represent three-quarters of US publishing revenues) show a distinct ebb in digital optimism. In one of the biggest shifts, only 28 percent of publishing executives now think their own companies will be better off because of the transition to digital, versus 51 percent a year ago.
McQuivey's presentation at DBW will address expectations as to when digital becomes the dominant form in trade publishing. Consistent with last year's results, indications are that the largest group of executives--29 percent--currently expects that ebooks will comprise half of all book units sold in the US in 2014. Sixteen percent expect that to come in 2014; 22 percent don't see it happening until 2015 or beyond.
That said, 82 percent are still "optimistic" about the digital transition in general (compared to 89 percent a year ago); 61 percent think readers will be better off (compared to 66 percent a year ago); and now fewer than half--47 percent--expect that readers will read a greater number of books than before (down from 66 percent a year ago). The quick growth of color/tablet reading devices in recent months has at least informally increased the sense that as small screens are used for all kinds of activities, the rapid burst of ereading could ebb.
The full presentation will open DBW on Tuesday, January 24, just prior to the CEO panel featuring John Ingram, Dominique Raccah, John Donatich and Ellen Archer.
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