Medical and health care e-books titles are hot — unfortunately for publishers, the double-digit growth rate for e-books has not countered print book losses and other challenges to their traditional business model. Global sales in the medical publishing market fell 2.4% to $10.1 billion in 2012, according to the most recent report from media and publishing intelligence firm Simba Information.
The report, Global Medical Publishing 2013-2014, found that the worldwide recession had a broad impact on the revenue streams of medical publishers. Academic institutions faced budget pressure, which made subscription renewals difficult. Corporate customers and advertisers also cut back their spending in light of the recession’s impact. Globally, the market has been flat since 2010. Books and pharmaceutical journal advertising are on the decline. Thomson Reuters and McGraw Hill, once market leaders, have sold their medical publishing businesses.
The patterns have been clear for several years, but accelerated in 2012, particularly the decline in book sales. Simba estimates that medical book sales fell 2.5% to $2.96 billion in 2012.
As a result, online services continue to be the fastest growing activity in medical publishing — up an estimated 3.8% in 2012. The developed world and English language are particularly important to this sector, but much of the growth comes from emerging markets like the Middle East and South East Asia where investments are being made in upgrading health care systems.
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