The traditional print publishing industry has been faced with significant change over the past decade. Advances in technology have led to the increased digitisation of business processes, and have debatably brought e-books to the brink of the mainstream market. With the growing popularity of e-books in the trade market come several opportunities for publishers to expand, improve and differentiate their businesses. But publishers also face a very challenging time ahead to successfully implement digital publishing in their business processes.
This study examines the implications of digitisation and digital publishing on publishing business processes in the traditional print publishing environment. The research considers digital publishing as a disruptive technology in the publishing industry, and draws on the context and predictive value of disruptive technology theory. Disruptive technology theory examines why, when faced with a disruptive technology, some firms succeed in the marketplace, and others fail. The research applied
the principles and predictions of disruptive technology theory to the publishing industry to develop a set of recommendations for publishers implementing digital publishing processes.
The research employed a mixed methodology design that included an extensive literature review and an online survey of South African book publishers. The literature provided an overview of the issues surrounding digital publishing, and the opportunities and challenges that publishers are faced with. Literature on disruptive technology theory served to establish trends in industries faced with disruptive technology, and uncovered recommendations for its successful implementation.
The researcher made use of an online survey that was sent to South African trade publishers that had already started experimenting with digital publishing in 2010 or 2011, or had plans to do so during the course of 2011 and 2012. The survey was designed to uncover the current state of digital publishing in the South African trade publishing industry, to discover the approaches that publishers are currently taking, and the barriers to implementation that they are experiencing.
The research confirmed that the current state of digital publishing in South Africa, and the problems that publishers are experiencing, are characteristic of industries faced with disruptive technology.
The principles of disruptive technology can therefore be applied to develop recommendations and suggest strategies for publishers planning to venture into digital publishing.
Although the focus of the research was on South African trade publishers, the results and recommendations that emerged from the research can be applied to the wider international publishing industry.
Mostert, Aleta(University of Pretoria, 2005-12-06)
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