The number of publisher-owned online communities is set to more than double over the next two years, according to research released by Publishing Technology at The London Book Fair. The study, conducted by Bowker Market Research, found that two thirds of responding publishers currently host reader communities, and that this is set to rise to over 90% over the next two years. A quarter expect to have seven or more networks up and running by 2015, with many respondents predicting a huge growth in the number of online communities for their company, from a current average of 2.1, to more than five over the next two years.
The survey included UK and US publishers across trade and academic sectors, and revealed that trade publishers are currently most engaged in this area with 86% of respondents owning an online community in some shape or form. 64% of publishers with online communities were convinced that their investment in this market is already paying off , and 73% of the publishers felt that online communities helped or would help them to engage better with their audiences.
Although currently only 16% of all respondents viewed online communities as viable direct sales channels, the formats that have benefited most from online community activity are e-books for trade publishers and online resources for academic publishers.
The full results are available now on publishingtechnology.com/blog