(3 Dec 2020) During the pandemic, the Chinese publishing industry has seen a huge increase in E-book export sales. School lockdowns have forced librarians to mainly purchase E-books instead of printed versions. The increasing demand of digital content has also driven the publishers to explore new sales and service models to better serve customers during this pandemic.
According to China National Publications Import and Export (Group) Corporation (CNPIEC), one of the leading publications exporters in China and the developer of “China E-book Hub”, since February 2020, the export sales of digital content has increased dramatically. Total digital sales have grown over 10 times and E-book sales to institution customers has grown over 20 times. Base on the E-book sales data of “China E-book Hub”, the most growth comes from libraries of top universities, such as Stanford University, Columbia University, and Harvard University. “The pandemic forced bookstores and libraries to close across the world. Professors and students are mostly restricted to E-learning, and have no access or limited access to libraries. Such circumstances have driven up the demand for digital academic content. More and more academic institutions are looking for stable digital platforms to supply quality academic content. With the massive digital content selection we have built up over the years, ‘China E-book Hub’ has become a favorable choice for school librarians,” said Jason Yuan, director of Digital Export Sales Department of CNPIEC.
During a recent online conference between East-Asian librarians and Chinese publishers, Stephen Qiao, librarian of University of Toronto stated that digital resource has become more vital during the pandemic. Libraries need to work together with publishers and booksellers to create new service models for digital resource acquisition. Jidong Yang, Director of East Asia Library, Stanford University, also expressed his expectation of better quality and “faster print to digital transition” academic content, and maintaining regular communications with overseas library associations.
Challenges also arise for publishers and digital distributors. Books published before 2012 rarely have digital versions available. Publishers’ digital rights normally revert to authors after three years. Also the cost of digitization is on the rise. To fit the requirements of different platforms, PDF, E-pub, and Html files are often needed, thus further increasing the cost of digitalization. CNPIEC’s “China E-Book Hub” has an in-house digitalization department helping publishers to convert the necessaries files. CEPIEC also provides personalized services, aggregating E-book resources on demand. With the massive publisher network and dedicated content aggregation team, CNPIEC’s “China E-book Hub” can fulfill librarian’s request as soon as five business days. The on-demand service will be the important “next step” for better severing the institution customers from CNPIEC.
The original press release is here.