Home Articles ePublishing inevitable but are Australian publishers ready?

ePublishing inevitable but are Australian publishers ready?


After Amazon’s announcement last May that it is now selling more kindle books than print books, CAL (Copyright Agency Limited) decided to determine if Australian publishers and authors are ready for the digital revolution. In a survey, it found that, while many see the digital revolution as a significant opportunity, only a small percentage has a defined digital strategy.

Last May, Amazon announced that Kindle books are now out-selling print books, paving the way for what, it seems now, is an inevitable revolution in publishing. But are Australian publishers ready for change? To answer this question, CAL, a non-profit company that represents Australian publishers and authors, turned to its members.

The survey, in which over 2,000 members participated, found that around half (54%) of these publishers have created and published digital products though, in most cases (58.9%), digital publishing is only responsible for less than 5% of their revenues . Still, most publishers found the paradigm shift towards digital products to be a significant opportunity.

When asked about their digital strategy only a few (15.3%) stated that they have a clearly defined digital strategy, while 26.3% stated they don’t have a digital strategy and 32.6% said they’re currently developing one. When asked about what worried them most about the shift towards digital products, 42.5% said their lack of technical expertise and 36.5% said their lack of digital marketing skills.

“Over the past 12-18 months we have seen some major developments in digital publishing. Our survey results have revealed significant differences in attitudes toward the adoption of digital publishing in Australia,” said Michael Lijic, CAL’s International Affairs and Digital Strategy Coordinator in a media statement.

“CAL hopes that the finding in our survey will provide a clear picture of the status of digital publishing which will prompt action in the development of a cohesive strategy in Australia.”

Other findings

Other findings include that most publishers don’t find social media to be pivotal in their activities and that piracy isn’t a big fear and it doesn’t have a big impact on the revenue of their business. The survey also finds that most publishers (51%) allow the public to have access to free samples of the digital product.

Regarding ebook sales, the majority of the publishers (61.4%) distributes them directly through their own website and only a small amount (16.3%) distributes them through Amazon using Kindle books.

Kindle rising

Amazon has been selling print books since 1995 and Kindle was launched in November 2007. Four years later, Kindle books sales have surpassed hardcover and paperback book sales combined.

According to Amazon, for every 100 print books they sell, they shift 105 Kindle books. Amazon also claims that it sold three times as many kindle books in 2011 as in the same period in 2010. Specific numbers are unavailable because Amazon doesn’t release them.

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