Compiled by BlueLoop Concepts, a research and consulting firm focused on the digital and mobile media markets, The E-Book Platform Landscape is a newly released, concise report on the growth of digital publishing, the ever-increasing number of digital startups and the market trends surrounding them. The report, which is free of charge, profiles 29 digital publishing ventures and isolates eight market trends driving their business models.
The report was compiled, according to BlueLoop Concepts founder Chris Rechsteiner, after fielding endless questions about the new digital publishing landscape and the growth in e-book startups. “I was constantly asked what are the digital publishing startups and what do they do,” Rechsteiner said in a phone interview. Rechsteiner said it seems there are “3 or 4 new digital publishing companies launching every day,” and that the range of new companies and services was so broad, he first needed to define the subject.
Rechsteiner, who has a 20-year background in the mobile computing industry, said he identified 92 companies that offer “production-level independent e-book author or publisher platforms and services.” Essentially, he said, he defined a digital publishing startup as a “collaborative” creative platform that allows either authors or publishers to produce and distribute digital content. 60 of the original 92 companies were invited to be interviewed; eventually 34 interviews were conducted and used to produce short profiles of 29 digital publishing startups. Generally well-known firms like Amazon.com, Google, Kobo and B&N are not included in the report. The 29 profiles offer short descriptions of each company, and a summation of what their platform offers as well as a short projection by Rechsteiner on how the company is likely to fare in the evolving e-publishing market.
Among the companies profiled are such startups as BiblioCrunch, Smashwords, WattPadd, Graphicly and the Atavist. The interviews also allowed Rechsteiner to compile a list of eight key trends he sees driving the current marketplace for digital content. Among the trends he identifies are “A Dynamic Definition of the Cloud,” “Meta Formats and Rapidly Evolving Standards,” “Shorter Attention Spans Require Different Structures,” and “A Global Game.” The report is offered to anyone free of charge in the form of a PDF once the requestor fills out a contact information form. BlueLoop Concepts will also followup with the requestor to get feedback on the utility of the report.
Rechsteiner said the big overall trends of the digital marketplace are “collaboration, discovery, distribution and connection.” He said his report focuses on the importance of “audience development” and the need to identify digital tools that can help bring authors into the market and connect them directly to readers; as well as tools that publishers can use to help their authors do just that. Software distribution will allow “author and publishers to make money on smaller audiences,” he said, noting that “a one to one relationship with readers is key. This will change the way books are written; if people like a minor character, the creators will know and they can expand on it. There will be new ways to monetize content.”
He was bullish on the “global” market for digital content, emphasizing that the potential for international revenue was “huge.” Indeed, he noted even though the report has only been out a few weeks, about 35% of the inquiries he’s received about it come from outside the U.S., pointing to requests from Zimbabwe and from Arab countries. “Territorial rights is a problem,” he said, “20 to 25% of all revenue is left on the table when authors only sell in the U.S. There’s the potential for a flood of books and content into these global markets that will in turn spark the development of local native content.”