Digital Shakespeare: To Be or Not To Be. IDC Helps Publishers Turn the Page on eBooks

FRAMINGHAM, MA – DECEMBER 19, 2000 – Emerging technologies are adding a new twist to the dynamics of the publishing industry. According to a new report from IDC, demand for digital books will build quickly over the next several years. From $9 million in 2000, U.S. consumer digital book revenue will leap to $414 million in 2004.


"Book publishing is the next big media industry to go digital. Numerous major industry players already embrace electronic publishing," said Malcolm Maclachlan, senior analyst for IDC's eMedia program. "Publishers are signing alliances with technology providers, and well-known authors are throwing their weight behind promotions offering their works in digital form."

Momentum will continue to build in 2001, but 2002 will be the year that digital books really make their presence felt across the industry. The strong and mature market for buying books online is and will remain a major driver behind digital books. The combination of greater standardization in formatting of digital books using Adobe's PDF and Microsoft Reader along with increased development of hybrid and multifunctional devices for reading electronic books will be the steps that give the market a push in 2002.

Publishing companies have very strong incentives to jump-start the market for digital books, such as lower distribution costs and the ability to offer a wider variety of content to reach more readers. These companies must become very proactive and lead the way in the development of sound business models to support online distribution strategies, including publishing as downloads, print-on-demand, and online reading. Endorsements by major online retailers, such as and, are a sign publishers are moving in the right direction.

IDC's eMedia program recently published Electronic Publishing Forecast and Analysis, 2000-2004: Digital Books and Print on Demand (IDC #B23208). This report examines the impact new technologies will have on the consumer market for books. It discusses how quickly consumers will adopt digital books, ebook devices, and print on demand. The report predicts what the dominant formats and reader devices will be for digital books. It also discusses the impact of these new technologies on the search for talent and the compensation mix between publishers and writers. To purchase the report, contact Demetra Georgakopoulos at 1-800-343-4952, extension 4496, or

About IDC

IDC is the foremost global market intelligence and advisory firm helping clients gain insight into technology and ebusiness trends to develop sound business strategies. Using a combination of rigorous primary research, in-depth analysis, and client interaction, IDC forecasts worldwide markets and trends to deliver dependable service and client advice. More than 700 analysts in 43 countries provide global research with local content. IDC's customers comprise the world's leading ebusiness companies, IT suppliers, IT organizations, and the financial community. Additional information can be found at

IDC is a division of IDG, the world's leading IT media, research and exposition company.

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