Just 7% of Publishers Enhancing E-books, Among Findings in New Aptara E-book Survey

In Digital by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka


Digital service provider Aptara released the second in a series of surveys tracking the development of the e-book market. This new survey covered some 600 publishers across trade, professional and education markets.

Dev Ganesan, Aptara’s President and CEO, noted in the press release about the survey, “With a desire to meet the growing expectations of digitally-savvy readers, publishers are delving into e-book production. Yet the road to scalable, quality e-book production is neither quick nor smooth, as confirmed by our second survey.” He added, “e-book market revenues get larger every day, but most publishers just aren’t prepared to profit from it.”

Among the notable findings:

  • There’s a widespread inability to calculate return on investment (ROI) from e-books. (This, Aptara states, “confirms that most publishers are not employing scalable digital workflows, but rather retrofitting print production process and forgoing significant cost savings.”)
  • The main e-book production challenge facing publishers is still e-reader/content compatibility. (Aptara’s analysis: “Even with the near universal EPUB e-book format standard, today’s fragmented e-reader market makes quality e-book production a moving target, with expert, manual manipulation required to retain consistent formatting across device-types.”)
  • Almost a quarter of publishers producing e-books are employing XML (which, says Aptara, “indicat[es] a positive shift to scalable, digital workflows in support of efficient e-book production across all e-readers.”)
  • Only 7% of publishers are implementing enhancements to their e-books (evidence of which suggest[s], according to Aptara, “that most publishers are not aware of the EPUB standard’s inherent support for content enhancement, including audio and video.”)

The survey also noted that, likely inspired by the introduction of the iPad, more publishers are delving into e-books than the last survey suggested. And, today, the same percentage of publishers (36%) are distributing their titles for the iPad, the iPhone and the Kindle. Amongst the formats publishers are working in:

  • 41% of all publishers surveyed support the EPUB format; 25% support the proprietary Kindle format.
  • 61% of Trade/Consumer publishers support the EPUB standard; 20% more than any other publisher type.
  • 64% of all publishers are offering titles in e-book format; up 11% from the first survey.

DOWNLOAD: The full report here.

DISCUSS: What E-book Enhancements Do You Prefer?

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.