E-books: the publishers’ dilemma

Tom D. Wilson

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15291/libellarium.v8i1.210


This paper reports on a study of publishers’ attitudes towards e-books in the context of the global situation of e-book publishing. Comparative data are drawn from a replication of a survey carried out in Sweden, in Lithuania and in Croatia. The great contrast between the rise of the e-book in English speaking countries (and those with significant English speaking readers) is shown and contrasted with that in ‘small language markets’. This three country survey reveals a number of similar responses from publishers on several key issues, i.e., self-publishing, the future role of bookshops, and relationships with public libraries. The results also reveal that publishers have certain ambivalence on these issues. The overall conclusion is that there is a marked difference in the growth of e-book publishing in small language markets compared with the English language market.


e-books; publishers; small e-book markets; Sweden; Lithuania; Croatia.

Full Text:



Agular, L., and B. Martens. 2013. Digital music consumption on the Internet: evidence from clickstream data. Luxembourg: European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Institute for Prospective Technological Studies.

American Library Association. 2013. "The state of America's libraries". American Libraries, (Special issue). Accessed December 1, 2014. http://www.ala.org/news/sites/ala.org.news/files/content/2013-State-of-Americas-Libraries-Report.pdf

Bowker. 2012. "Bowker releases results of global ebook research." [Press release, March 27]. Accessed December 1, 2014. http://bit.ly/1ip0L21 (Archived by WebCite® at http://www.webcitation.org/6OVlFHLON)

Christensen, C. M. 1997. The innovator's dilemma: when new technologies cause great firms to fail. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.

eBook sales growth – where it's really coming from (an analysis of author earnings). 2014. Publishing Technology, February 14. Accessed December 1, 2014. http://www.publishingtechnology.com/2014/02/ebook-sales-growth-where-its-really-coming-from-an-analysis-of-author-earnings/

Flood, A. 2013. "Self-publishing boom lifts sales by 79% in a year." The Guardian, June 13. Accessed December 1, 2014. http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/jun/13/self-publishing-boom-lifts-sales-18m-titles-300m

Hart, M. 1992. "The history and philosophy of Project Gutenberg." Accessed December 1, 2014. http://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Gutenberg:The_History_and_Philosophy_of_Project_Gutenberg_by_Michael_Hart (Archived by WebCite® at http://www.webcitation.org/6SYPBTTdp

Misener, D. 2011. "E-book piracy may have unexpected benefits for publishers." CBC News, Technology and Science, April 19. Accessed December 1, 2014. http://bit.ly/1BOBogF (Archived by WebCite® at http://www.webcitation.org/6S2w4au8M)

Nordic book statistics report. 2012. Accessed December 1, 2014. http://www.forlaggare.se/sites/default/files/Nordic%20Book%20Statistics%20Report%202012.pdf

Statistics about reading habits in Croatia. 2012. Culturenet, February 16. Accessed December 1, 2014. http://www.culturenet.hr/default.aspx?id=43252

Sullivan, M. 2012. "An open letter to America's publishers from ALA President Maureen Sullivan." American Library Association, September 28 2012. Accessed December 1, 2014. http://www.ala.org/news/2012/09/open-letter-america%E2%80%99s-publishers-ala-president-maureen-sullivan

Vinjamuri, D. 2012. "The wrong war over ebooks: publishers vs. libraries." Forbes, December 11. Accessed December 1, 2014. http://www.forbes.com/sites/davidvinjamuri/2012/12/11/the-wrong-war-over-ebooks-publishers-vs-libraries/

Vyas, H. 2014. "India's ebook industry shows great potential." Digital Book World, September 11. Accessed December 1, 2014. http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2014/indias-ebook-industry-shows-great-potential/ (Archived by WebCite® at http://www.webcitation.org/6SYp7cON8)

Weinberg, D.B. 2013. "The self-publishing debate: a social scientist separates fact from fiction. (Part 3 of 3)." Digital Book World, December 4. Accessed December 1, 2014. http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2013/self-publishing-debate-part3/

World Bank. 2014. Data: countries and economies. Washington, DC: The World Bank. Accessed December 1, 2014. http://data.worldbank.org/data-catalog/population-projection-tables (Archived by WebCite® at http://www.webcitation.org/6SZ3JSajk) http://dx.doi.org/10.1596/978-1-4648-0165-5

Young, S. 2014. Me, myself, I: revaluing self-publishing in the electronic age. In John Potts, (Ed.). The future of writing. (pp. 33-45). Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan. http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/9781137440402.0008

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15291/libellarium.v8i1.210

Article Metrics

Metrics Loading ...

Metrics powered by PLOS ALM


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Libellarium (Online). ISSN 1846-9213 © 2008


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.