UK Parliament Launches ‘Publishing in the Digital Age’ Review

Higher Ways Publishing reports on news that the All Parliamentary Group on Publishing has launched a review to determine how the UK government can support the industry in the digital age.

Lucrative industry

Over the centuries, publishing has proved one of the UK’s most lucrative exports. Figures released by The Publishers Association, an industry body, showed that the UK publishing sector continued to flourish in 2014. The Association valued the UK publishing industry at £4.3 billion (bn). Export sales accounted for 44% of sector revenue in 2014, while digital products accounted for 35%.

Commenting on these figures The Association’s Chief Executive, Richard Mollet, said: “The big debate for publishing is no longer about electronic versus print, because the clear answer is ‘both’; but the real question now is about demonstrating the strength and value of publishers’ curated and valuable content, in a world where unfiltered information is becoming more and more widespread.”

Publishing review

Responding to challenges the industry faces, the All Parliamentary Group on Publishing recently launched an investigation into “UK Publishing in the Modern Digital Age.” This review is designed, according to The Book Seller, a sector publication, to ensure that publishing is “properly developed and supported” by Whitehall. The first part of the investigation will feature a roundtable on “what the global cultural landscape [would] look like without a successful UK publishing sector.”

Scheduled for 25th April, the roundtable will feature a number of speakers including individual publishers, parliamentarians and representatives from organisations such as the International Publishers Association, the UK Film Council and the British Council. They will discuss publishing’s contribution to the British economy and society, as well as examine whether the government is “doing enough to reap the benefits the sector has to offer.”

The second element of the All Parliamentary Group’s investigation will examine how the UK’s digital publishing landscape is evolving in the post-modern era. Specifically, they will assess whether British publishing is cultivating innovative means of ensuring all readers can experience accessible and engaging content, in an age where books are readily available in a wide range of digital formats.

Harnessing success

Speaking out, the Chair of the All Parliamentary Group on Publishing, MP Iain Wright, said: “The UK publishing industry is undoubtedly an international success story. From Bond to Harry Potter, from Matilda to War Horse, via the entire works of Shakespeare and Jane Austen, UK literary works have a long history of transcending the written word on the page and reaching audiences around the world.

“Our scientific research community punches well-above its weight and when students overseas wish to study English, they more often than not use UK-produced books to do so.  What the All Party Group is keen to uncover is whether this success is being properly harnessed. Is there more that the government could be doing? Or indeed the publishing community and its partners? We want to challenge both the industry and our lawmakers in order to ensure that the UK’s global success is properly developed and supported.”

The launch of this investigation highlights how digital formats are influencing the global publishing sector. The rise of e-reader technologies, such as the Kindle, have provided consumers with more efficient means of engaging with content. As digital publishing’s capabilities expand, the international sector will have to follow the UK’s example and develop strategies to address new challenges, to ensure it can connect with consumers and turn a profit in the 21st Century.

About Higher Ways Publishing

Established in 2003 by Hayim Oshky and Mike Walden, Higher Ways Publishing helps authors and publishers transform brilliant ideas into commercial success. Headquartered in Tel Aviv Israel and California, they are a market leader in digital and hard-cover publishing for the health, fitness and relationship industries. Higher Ways Publishing have assisted many authors in expanding their online presence in the growing digital marketing world.

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