A Big Wake-Up Call

From Publishing Perspectives:

In our January 6 interview with the Brazilian publisher Karine Pansa—who this month has begun her two-year term as president of the International Publishers Association (IPA)—she stressed the challenge faced by the world publishing industry to generate and analyze coherent data among international markets.

On Monday (January 16), in giving a keynote address at the Digital Book World conference in New York, Pansa expanded on the case for her emphasis on getting past an apples-and-oranges juggling act when it comes to collecting and interpreting data across the international spectrum of the book business.

As she put it, the issue “demonstrates both how many opportunities there are in the digital publishing market but also how we have to work harder to build a compelling external narrative about the innovation in our sector.”

Pansa noted that in putting together her presentation, she and IPA have had the support of IPA’s partner in Geneva, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), as well as Nielsen BookData, and some of the 92 national publishers’ caucuses that are member-associations of the 76-nation program she leads. She and IPA have shared with Publishing Perspectives (we are IPA’s global media partner) Pansa’s presentation for our report today (January 17).

What Pansa had come to say on Monday, was, “We know market data of some type exists for about 40 countries. That means there is a lot of data darkness.”

. . . .

Turning first to an example she had mentioned in our interview—incompatible datasets from markets in Latin America—Pansa presented to her audience illustrations of how in her region, data is available “for just three markets”: Brazil—where she directs publishing at Girassol Brasil in São Paulo—as well as Colombia and Mexico.

In terms of digital books, Pansa pointed out, Colombia surprisingly appears to lead, available data showing a 15-percent share of market for digital books over 4 percent in Mexico and 6 percent in Brazil.

The reason? “In Colombia,” she said, “the digital book is not just an ebook or audiobook but also educational platforms. Obviously boosted by the pandemic, these platforms have a real impact on the numbers in Colombia where audiobooks are almost negligible. In Mexico, audiobooks are even less present, and print is very much still king.

“Across these three markets,” she said, “we have different definitions of digital books, we are at least comparing revenues, but we have vastly different degrees of granularity.”

And perhaps most important relative to these three Latin American markets, she made the point that “Developing countries still struggle to grow their markets because there is a structural barrier for their demand. Aspects like reading habits and reading skills are top difficulties and are only part of the discussion.

Link to the rest at Publishing Perspectives

While PG was reading the OP, he realized that he didn’t have a good (or even mediocre) sense of how the various English-speaking book markets differ from each other.

Feel free to share information or opinions in the comments.

In passing, PG wondered how many different times he had heard/read the term, “wake-up call.”

In his experience, the term is immensely overused at least in the United States to the point at which it has moved beyond cliché into some sort of noise word or noise phrase.