Books, Bytes and Business: The Promise of Digital Publishing

Tiago Oliveira and Ana Maria R. Correia (Universidade Nova de Lisboa)

Online Information Review

ISSN: 1468-4527

Article publication date: 9 August 2011




Oliveira, T. and Correia, A.M.R. (2011), "Books, Bytes and Business: The Promise of Digital Publishing", Online Information Review, Vol. 35 No. 4, pp. 684-685.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

This book addresses three important contemporary topics: books, bytes and business. The connections among them are increasing in both scale and complexity across the networked economy of global markets. Juxtaposing these topics in the same book is made possible by the results of a three‐year Australian research project on the implications of digital technologies for book publishing.

In Books the authors look at key trends in book publishing, discussing the business of book publishing and book publishing in the digital age. Chapter 2 addresses publishing and the sector's economic structure, and raises the possibility of a book‐publishing crisis. Digitisation and digital publishing are the main concerns of Chapter 3, which examines the near future of book publishing in the digital age.

In the section titled “Bytes” attention focuses on digital technologies and book publishing, and Web 2.0 applications. Chapter 4 highlights the four stages of e‐book development; here the discussion is both interesting and informative. Chapter 5, Web 2.0 Applications, is perhaps the most interesting of all. In this chapter the authors categorise social media, tools and applications for the five eras of social networking services, comparing book publishing in Web 1.0 with a Web 2.0 environment.

The final section, “Business”, explores supply and value chains in knowledge‐intensive organisations and their business models, including business models for book publishing in Australia. Chapter 6 defines knowledge and book publishers as knowledge‐intensive organisations; it presents three case studies of knowledge‐intensive organisations. Chapter 7 presents an in‐depth comparison of supply chains in traditional and digital publishing. This is addressed in a way that captures the attention of the reader; it accurately defines the difference between the two supply chains brought about by the web. The value of networks in book publishing is also dealt with in this chapter. As expected, transformations in the book‐publishing sector have affected business models. Chapter 8 is concerned with the need for a better understanding of business models in knowledge‐intensive organisations. This chapter discusses relevant business models and business strategies. Chapter 9 presents a case study of business models for book publishing in Australia, including the five categories of book publishing and the traditional and current business models for each.

The final chapter looks at the future of book publishing and presents alternative publishing models, with 11 related case studies. Competition in the sector is fierce, and new opportunities are eagerly sought.

We recommend Books, Bytes and Business to a wide audience, not only to academics and practising managers from the book‐publishing sector but also to students and anyone interested in understanding the quickening evolution of the book publishing process in the digital environment.

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