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Weekly News Digest

April 18, 2013 — In addition to this week's NewsBreaks article and the monthly NewsLink Spotlight, Information Today, Inc. (ITI) offers Weekly News Digests that feature recent product news and company announcements. Watch for additional coverage to appear in the next print issue of Information Today. For other up-to-the-minute news, check out ITI’s Twitter account: @ITINewsBreaks.

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Publishers’ Online Communities to Double by 2015

The number of publisher-owned online communities is set to more than double over the next 2 years, according to new research released April 17, 2013 by Publishing Technology at The London Book Fair. The study, conducted by Bowker Market Research, a service of ProQuest affiliate Bowker, found that two-thirds of responding publishers currently host reader communities, and that this is set to rise to more than 90% over the next 2 years. One-quarter expect to have seven or more networks up and running by 2015, with many respondents predicting a huge growth in the number of online communities for their companies, from a current average of 2.1, to more than five over the next 2 years. The survey revealed that trade publishers are currently most engaged in this area with 86% of respondents owning an online community in some shape or form.

The study also investigated the rationale and perceived benefits for publishers moving into this arena, revealing that:

  • 84% of publishers felt their spending on online communities would increase in the next 2 years with only 14% envisaging expenditure remaining stagnant
  • 64% of publishers with online communities were convinced that their investment in this market is already paying off and a further 24% believed it would do so in the short term
  • 73% of all the publishers interviewed felt that online communities helped or would help them to engage better with their audiences
  • 72% of trade publishers said they helped or would help to increase direct relationships with customers and 45% claimed they provided or would provide good marketing support to sales channels
  • 40% of academic and professional publishers said that increasing knowledge and understanding of customers was a key benefit, whilst 40% felt increasing content usage was a priority

Although currently only 16% of all respondents viewed online communities as viable direct sales channels, the formats that have benefited most from online community activity are ebooks for trade publishers (40%) and online resources for academic publishers (67%).

Overall, the results of this study tell us that online communities are far more than a channel for selling books or journals. They send a clear message that both trade and academic publishers want to use these platforms to establish closer relationships with their core readers, be it to communicate with them directly or to better understand their needs.

Source: Publishing Technology



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