89% of Canadian publishers do e-books

89% of Canadian publishers do e-books

…and everybody else is either in the process or planning to do them.

At least, that’s according to this fascinating and information packed

Booknet Canada study

As far as I’m concerned, they asked a lot of the right questions of the right people, and laid it out nicely (many pie charts, and you also get the numbers).

I’m not going to take much away from it (I recommend that you take a look), but I do want to mention a couple of things.

What are the driving forces for e-book production?

  • Increase sales: 74%
  • Accessibility: 72%
  • Customer demand: 68%
  • and weigh down towards the bottom of the list was “Mechanism to reduce costs” at 15%

That one stands out to me to because so many people think it is so much cheaper for publishers to produce e-books than p-books (paperbooks) that the consumer price should be much lower.

Way back when, I remember seeing an analysis that it was 12.5% cheaper, approximately.

People often figure that the tangible items in a process should be the most expensive part, but that’s rarely the case.

We pay humans for their efforts more than we pay the planet.😉

There’s the author, sure, and the editor and the cover artist and the marketing department, oh, and the legal department and…taxes, and more.

Certainly, it’s likely that the expense of getting a p-book somewhere has gone up in the past four or five years, so the 12.5% might have risen…but e-books are not primarily about cutting production costs for the publisher.

In terms of digital availability of print titles, 19% of the publishers had 100% available. If you look at publishers which have more than half of their p-books available, it’s about 49%.

32% of them had more than 75% of their backlist (titles which have been out for more than six months) in e-book form.

Great strides!

Now, this was something that was consistent through the study, and might be surprising.

Which of the publisher sizes were more likely to have done more in the digital world (higher percentage of books in e-book form, dedicated digital employees, and so on)?

  • Small/Indie
  • Mid-size
  • Large

Let’s see: small, nimble, adaptable, little modern speedboats, or big, lumbering, cruise ships?

Okay, that was misleading…it’s actually the large publishers!

Again, that might make some people shake their heads. That’s not the scenario which has been discussed.

I think the reason is pretty simple.

Doing something new takes money.

Large tradpubs (traditional publishers) have it.

Tradpubs can bring on a new staff of digital experts, experiment, fail, figure it out, go from there…small publishers can’t take those chances.

Let’s look at one more thing: e-book retail distribution.

  • 93% had books listed with Kobo
  • 88% had the Kindle store
  • 76% had Apple
  • 68% had Barnes & Noble
  • 67% had Sony
  • 50% had Google
  • and there were more options listed

Since this is Canada the top few were to be expected…but it intrigues me that they still have so many with Sony, and not as many with Google.

Here’s the Table of Contents:

  • Introduction
  • Respondent Profile
  • Dedicated Digital Staff
  • Ebook Production & Conversion
  • Fixed-Layout Ebooks
  • Ebook Bundling
  • Digital 2.0 – Digital Originals, Enhanced Ebooks & Apps
  • Digital Best Practices
  • Digital Creation and Management Tools
  • Digital Asset Management
  • Ebook Sales & Distribution
  • Libraries & Ebooks

The link I gave you above is to a free PDF.

In case you are wondering, I tend to read PDFs on my

Kindle Fire HDX (at AmazonSmile: support a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

using

ezPDF Reader PDF (at AmazonSmile)

Why do I use that instead of the Kindle app on the Fire?

Text-to-speech.

I’m usually listening to TTS in the car (I prefer that to the radio or music). The Kindle doesn’t do TTS for PDFs, unfortunately.

It wouldn’t have done me much good on this report, because of all the charts, but I’m used to using that app now.🙂

That’s one reason that “accessibility” as the second biggest reason for producing e-books interested me.

E-books are much more accessible than p-books for many people.

  • You can increase the text size
  • You can use text-to-speech on most commercial titles (unless the publisher blocks it)
  • You can change colors (white text on a black background helps some people)
  • The device is light, relatively. I had a relative who had someone tear the Harry Potter books into pieces, because they were too heavy to manipulate. Another relative just recently switched to a Paperwhite, due to an inability to push the physical buttons because of a medical condition
  • The Fire even has audio adaptations for some hearing challenges

Hm…here’s a cool idea for an accessibility feature that would help people like me.

I mentioned the great pie charts here. One issue is that they use colors (colors that are too close for me…I have some color vision deficiency), without labels on the slices. However, they did put the legend in the same order as the slices, so I can tell which is which.

One thing that is possible, though, is to have an option that adjusts for color vision deficiency.

They could put that on the Kindle as an accessibility option.

I can get apps through the Amazon Appstore now.

For example, this one is free:

DaltonAid (at AmazonSmile)

I can use that to look “through” my phone at something, and it adjust the color for me.

Yes, the app is compatible for the Fire: but I can’t look through my 7″ HDX (the camera only points towards you, primarily for videocalls)…and any way, I couldn’t use an app on the Fire to look at the Fire.😉

So, there’s a suggestion for you, Amazon.🙂

What do you think? If you read the report and something else stands out to you, feel free to come back and comment here to tell me and my readers what you think. How do you like to read PDFs on your Kindle? Would it be worth it for Amazon to add a color vision deficiency adjustment option to the Kindle, or would you prefer they not spend the money on development (after all, everything costs something)? Would you guess that Canadian publishing is significantly different from American publishing? I’m all ears…you know, except for the rest of me.😉

Nominate a child to be given a free Kindle at Give a Kid a Kindle.

===

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

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