What is the Future of Adult Illustrated Book Publishing?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka

Today’s feature story looks at the development of Mapin Publishing, one of the top illustrated book publishers in India. The company was founded in 1983, but if it were launched today, would Bipin Shah have been forced to go about things differently? As an Indian publisher it makes sense for him to work in print — India is one of the major printing centers in the world. Had he been launching in the US or Europe today, perhaps publishing apps for the iPad might have been more appealing?

So, what is the future of adult illustrated book publishing? It does appear to be one segment that is relatively insulated from digital change — readers who want art books tend to want them in print. (You can, these days, find almost any piece of art online.) Illustrated books of all forms are also a huge percentage of the gift market — and let’s face it, it’s not quite the same having someone “gift” you an app as it is finding a giant gift wrapped edition from Rizzoli under the Christmas tree.

Increasingly, POD has enabled individuals to produce their own high quality illustrated books, as well, opening the market to self-publishers all over the world.

So tell us, is the golden age of adult illustrated book publishing over, or has it only just begun?

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.