Just over 72% of publishers taking part in a survey on the impact of digitization on book publishing said the development of new business models, new multimedia products and effective marketing strategies are the biggest challenges facing publishers as they make the transition from print to digital. The survey was conducted by the Frankfurt Book Fair and the German trade magazine Buchreport in cooperation with PW, and received responses from 840 publishers across the globe. What forms the new business models should take and how publishers will charge for content generated no consensus.

Charging readers a flat rate that would allow them access to all of a information provider’s online content similar to a traditional subscription model was favored by 25% of respondents, especially those from Europe. Paying for snippets of content through micropayments was favored by 23%, with that method backed the most in Great Britain and the U.S. The premium model, under which users would pay for selected online content, found support from 16% of respondents.

At present e-books are generating the most revenue, although publishers remain unsure on how to price those titles. The survey found that the majority of publishers support pricing e-books below the price of print books, with only 19% saying e-books should be as expensive as the print book or more expensive. What the discount should be below the print price had a wide range of responses with the highest percentage, 30%, saying e-books should be priced at 30% off the print price.

Sixty percent of publishers said sales of digital products are expected to represent less than 10% of total revenue in 2009, although that is expected to change in the next two years with 58% saying that believe that in 2011 digital sales will account for over 10% of revenue. By 2018, about 50% of respondents said they believe more of their revenue will come from digital products than print.

The majority of responses came from Europe (74%), followed by the U.S. (11%) and Great Britain (4%). Trade houses accounted for 32% of respondents, with information publishers second at 20% and educational publisher third at 10%.

For more Frakfurt Book Fair 2009 coverage, from PW and BookBrunch, go here.