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Evolving world of Digital Publishing

Thinning margins and increasing cost pressures are pushing digital publishing outsourcing companies to experiment with new business models. Due to the availability of trained talent pool and the requisite infrastructure, Impact Sourcing Service Providers (ISSPs) have been able to become suitable partners to make this experiment a success. Currently more than 25% of ISSPs have started subcontracting digital publishing services and focusing on moving from low value processes to complex publishing processes. This article and the few following to this article intend to outline the potential of this vertical as a key service line for ISSPs.


In the last few years the advent of digital publications has started to dramatically change the way publishers do business. It’s no longer just a desirable capability; it’s a matter of survival. Different types of content can now be connected with a wide variety of user experiences (UX): Fiction can be read as digital pages of eBook readers, travel guides can connect their route description to GPS devices, and dictionaries, which provide word definitions within text when and where they’re needed, are incorporated into electronic reading devices.


Growing demand for eBooks

Across segments and geographies, publishers are experiencing challenges centered on costs, resources and technology that have made it necessary for them to re-invent their business models. 4 out 5 publishers now produce eBooks and its increasing 25% every year. According to the Association of American Publishers, revenue for e-books for some of the biggest categories grew by 41% in 2013. E-books currently account for around 23% of trade publishing revenues. Though the pricing models may still be in limbo but publishers are finally making real money from eBooks. 36% of publishers drive more than 10% of their revenue from eBooks and its doubling every year. Latest best seller 50 shades of grey sold 250,000 digital copies before it was picked up for print. Amazon is the most popular sale channel used by more than 65% of publishers and 31% of eBook publisher are producing enhanced eBooks to make them compatible with different types of devices.


But the industry has still lot to achieve, as 80% of publishers still produce print versions of eBooks titles and 60% of publishers still employ legacy, print-based production workflows, adding time cost to each eBook. A majority of publishers produce half of their title as eBooks and nearly half of the publishers produce more than 75% as eBooks.


Indian digital publishing outsourcing market

Outsourcing in the global publishing industry is hitting a crescendo. The fourth annual eBook survey from Aptara revealed that about 54% of e-book publishers rely on a third-party for the majority of e-book content conversion and production. The survey further states that about 55% of publishers continue to outsource work due to lack of internal capabilities and resources, followed by scalability (17%) as external partners can more easily scale to handle larger volumes.


We estimate that the global publishing outsourcing market is at around $ 14 billion in 2012. With India controlling 60% of the global outsourcing market, it is around $8 billion opportunity for Indian firms in the publishing space.