Magazine article Information Today

Open eBook Forum Releases Industry Report

Magazine article Information Today

Open eBook Forum Releases Industry Report

Article excerpt

Since January, the Open eBook Forum (OeBF; http://www.openebook .org), a nonprofit trade and standards organization, has been promoting its "Open an eBook" campaign (http://www.openan ebook.org), which was launched to foster the acceptance of e-books and further literacy and accessibility. From August 5-12, the campaign featured "Open an eBook Week," which showcased the launch of new e-book titles and special promotional discounts. OeBF members include businesses that publish and sell e-books, as well as technology companies that offer e-book software, such as Adobe Systems, Microsoft, and OverDrive. Obviously, these companies all stand to benefit greatly from a campaign that furthers the adoption of ebooks. Wisely, the OeBF urged libraries, schools, and educators to join the campaign, as its members include educational and government agencies, such as the Library of Congress, the American Foundation for the Blind, and the Maryland State Department of Education.

In late July, the Open eBook Forum released a report that provides industry statistics, which the organization says show solid growth in electronic publishing and a significant shift in the perception of electronic book publishing. The report's results were announced by Nicholas Bogaty, the OeBF's executive director. "The initial hype that surrounded the early days of e-books has overshadowed the steady growth of a burgeoning industry," he said. "By providing concrete numbers on the solid growth of this market, we're able to tangibly assess its impacts on the traditional publishing world and on consumers."

The statistics and analyses in the report focused on the number of users who are adopting e-books and related software, the creation of new technologies, and the increasing use of e-books by publishers as marketing tools that work in tandem with traditional book sales efforts. The OeBF members that contributed data include Adobe Systems, AOL Time Warner Book Group, HarperCollins, Microsoft, OverDrive, Random House, Simon & Schuster, Palm Digital Media, and McGraw-Hill.

New Customers

The following statistics were cited in the report as demonstrating significant growth in the e-books customer base:

* Random House reported that during the latest quarter ending in March, its e-book revenues were the highest since the company began selling them in 1998.

* PerfectBound, HarperCollins' e-book imprint, sold more e-books in the first 5 months of 2002 than in all of 2001.

* The average monthly downloads of Adobe Acrobat eBook Reader increased by approximately 70 percent from 2001 to 2002.

* In the first half of this year, Simon & Schuster saw double-digit growth in e-book sales over the same period in 2001.

* Over 5 million copies of Microsoft Reader have been distributed for use on desktop, notebook, and Pocket PC systems.

* Palm Digital Media reports that nearly 180,000 e-books were sold in 2001, a more than 40-percent increase from 2000.

* This year McGraw-Hill Professional's e-book sales are up 55 percent over the same period last year.

New Technologies, Products

To highlight the vitality and activity in the industry, the report also pointed to recent technological developments and OeBF members' new-product announcements. For example, Random House has coordinated with its compositors and other print partners to standardize e-book production and create print and e-book formats simultaneously. …

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