Publishing is one of the rare modern industries that can boast roots reaching back to the 15th century. Although print media flourished for hundreds of years, technological advances within the past century have radically transformed the industry. In the 1940s, radio and television began chipping away at print readership by offering new formats for consuming content. More recently, the arrival of the public internet provided access to free global news sources and videos. Mobile technology then delivered on-the-go access to real-time breaking news and entertainment via text, streaming video and audio.
Dwindling print subscriptions and the subsequent loss of advertising revenue coupled with the rising costs of paper, printing and postage had many heralding the end for newspapers and magazines. However, the lack of self-regulation by many blogs and websites has contributed to widespread misinformation, copyright infringement, unsourced and unreliable content, and “fake news.” In recent years, there has been a spiraling distrust of online news, and readers are increasingly willing to pay for high-quality, credible content from trustworthy sources. Publishers are responding with new revenue models designed to drive subscriber retention through paywalls with multiple access levels, customized content and other perks.
Book publishing likewise has faced far-reaching change in recent years. Unlike news and magazine articles, though, print is still the preferred medium for the long format. Many readers simply enjoy the tactile experience of holding a physical book in their hands. According to Pew Research, 67% of Americans reported having read a print book in the past year compared to just 26% for ebooks.
Still, digital formats continue to evolve and provide a broader audience for book publishers, as well as innovative ways to combine and package content. Audiobooks, in particular, have been quickly rising in popularity. In fact, according to the Association of American Publishers, downloaded audio is the fastest-growing format with a 28.8% year-over-year growth from 2016 to 2017, and 146.2% growth between 2013 and 2017.
Traditional book publishers have been shifting their business models away from the long-held transactional approach based on unit sales from new releases. Publishing companies have recognized that loyal customers drive recurring revenue and help to distinguish the brand from the competition. Customer loyalty programs offer readers perks like advance copies of new titles, free shipping, personalized book recommendations and special events, as well as rewards programs that allow customers to earn points for purchases that can be redeemed for free books or other products.
Modern publishers have become hyper-focused on driving customer loyalty and retention. The competition for readers’ attention is no longer limited to providers of similar types of products. With virtually unlimited resources for news and entertainment at their fingertips, the customer experience is likely to be the differentiating factor in determining where to spend or subscribe.
For publishers, producing and delivering content in a variety of formats requires a more sophisticated customer service model, as well as trained staff who can provide support for a wide range of audio, video and ebook platforms across devices.
Customer service challenges for the publishing industry include:
CustomerServ’s contact center outsourcing providers are well-versed in delivering a high-quality end-to-end customer experience for newspapers, magazines, book publishers and digital media providers. CustomerServ’s publishing and media call center vendors are experts in: