January 20, 2022

Book Business Outlook For 2012 Released at Publishing Industry Conference

The research and presentation James McQuivey from Forrester Research is writing about took place today at the Digital Book World conference in New York City.

An interview (audio) with McQuivey is linked to at the bottom of this post.

Highlights From McQuivey’s Blog Post:

As we closed out 2011, 82% of publishing executives we surveyed were optimistic about the digital transition. That’s a large number, even if it’s smaller than the 89% it was a year ago.


Most tellingly, only 28% of these executives thought their own company would be stronger in the future because of digital compared to 51% who agreed with this sentiment the prior year.

It’s worth putting ourselves in the shoes of these publishing industry product strategists for a moment to consider just why they aren’t positive that their companies are going to come out better off. I see three reasons:

1 –Physical book sales will decline significantly in 2012. A solid 54% of our respondents believe print sales will go down, though just 5% are willing to say they will “decrease significantly.” You can’t lose Borders in 2011 and not expect overall sales in 2012 to hold steady…

2 – Amazon will go for broke this year. Executives think Amazon and other online-only booksellers will sell 41% of eBooks in 2012. But this does not even begin to describe Amazon’s ambitions — the company wants to control the future of books, movies, music, apps, shopping, and all of their intertwinings. There are billions of dollars of value yet to be harvested from the unprecedented efficiencies that Amazon’s Kindle platform can create.

3 – Content will slip farther out of publishers’ control. Apple’s new book-authoring tools and NBCUniversal’s announcement today that it will become a publisher are just the latest in a long train of abuses launched by disruptive outsiders, startups, and discontented authors.

Read the Complete Blog Post

Here are a Few More Findings from the Report:

The survey was conducted among publishing executives at major publishing companies across the U.S. that represent 74% of all U.S. publishing revenues.

Similarly, fewer publishers believe that as a result of digital advances:

  • Readers will be better off, 61% in 2011, down from 74% in 2010
  • More people will read books than did before, 60% in 2011, down from 66% in 2010
  • Readers will read a greater number of books than before, 47% in 2011, down from 66% in 2010

See Also: Podcast: Publishers Face Future With Growing Concern (Beyond The Book #276)
Chris Kenneally from the Copyright Clearance Center chats with James McQuivey shortly before his presentation today. The conversation runs 14:52. Stream online or

1. download (MP3).      

See Also: Podcast: Measuring the E-book Market (Beyond the Book #274)
Another new edition of the Beyond the Book podcast.

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.