E-publishing (or electronic publishing) comprises the digital production of books, newspapers, magazines, textbooks and other published assets. With the growing popularity of mobile devices such as tablets and e-readers, consumers can now engage with e-publications in ways similar to that of traditional printed products.

With the maturing of the e-publishing market, the potential opportunities and pitfalls have become increasingly complex. They span, for example, from conflicting platforms, increased device capabilities, new business models in the age of digital distribution, the fragmented mobile device market and the powerful hold that Apple, Google and Amazon have over the e-publishing industry. Whether you are a startup developing software or a publisher looking to leverage e-publishing, this Startup Library page will provide valuable market information.

This page consists of the following sections:

I. E-Publishing Business Models

II. E-Book Trends and Statistics

III. News and Magazines Trends and Statistics

IV. Tracking Latest Developments in E-Publishing


For information on the Education Publishing Industry, visit our Education technology page.

I. E-Publishing business models

The newspaper and magazine industry has struggled to find viable business models in the digital age. Several revenue-generating models have been implemented to varying degrees of success, but they have achieved no significant inroads. These models have included digital distribution, online advertising, open access and subscription. The resources below take a deeper look at these models.

Online Publishers Association (OPA): This non-profit organization is dedicated to representing high-quality online content providers and is committed to upholding standards of editorial quality, integrity, credibility and accountability. The OPA conducts and publishes research on online advertising and media consumption, with the aim to demonstrate the value of advertising in high-quality content channels.

6 Pillars of a Revenue-Generating Business Model for Digital Journalism (INMA, 2015): This article discusses a potential business model for digital news companies that involves reinventing, developing a strategic relationship with consumers, investing in technology, capturing millennials, embracing superdistribution, and offering new products and services.

II. E-Book trends and statistics

E-books have been growing steadily in popularity. Sales of e-books now rival those of their paper counterparts. With established digital reading devices, robust distribution from vendors such as Amazon and Apple, and consumer attitudes that e-books are worth paying for, the e-book industry has seen the greatest success within the e-publishing market. The following section has been divided into three segments that spotlight e-book trends and statistics:

E-Book publishing

Association of American Publishers: Although the Association of American Publishers places most of their resources behind a paywall, the report summaries are free of charge and are informative.

Digital Book World (DBW): The DBW website covers a broad range of topics concerning e-books. It offers free resources, including articles on topics such as business models, marketing and technology, and the latest industry news. Archived links to relevant news sources and blogs are also provided. DBW houses select white papers for download (free registration is required).
Other resources from Digital Book World (including video from annual conferences, webcasts and its industry directory) require a subscription. Individual memberships cost $99. Information on DBW’s annual conference can be found in the Events section below.

The EBW (Electric Book Works) Knowledge Base: This site provides a step-by-step guide for publishers navigating the world of e-publishing.

EBOUND Canada was created by the Association of Canadian Publishers to support the advancement of the country’s publishers’ in the digital marketplace. It offers resources and reports related to digital asset management, e-production, marketing and metadata. However, some of the tutorials and webinars are only accessible to eBOUND clients. Publications include:

International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF): The International Digital Publishing Forum is a global trade and standards organization dedicated to the development and promotion of electronic publishing and content consumption. They hold an annual conference called the IDPF Digital Book where entrepreneurs can learn about the latest business and technical developments in e-publishing.

BookNet Canada develops technology, standards and education to serve the Canadian book industry. It has a number of resources, including events, a blog, a newsletter and webinars. The organization also puts together an annual report that surveys Canadian publishers about their digital publishing programs:

E-Reading (consumer)

Book Reading 2016 (Pew Research Center): This report provides a detailed look at American reading habits regarding print, e-books and audiobooks.

Return to the top

III. News and magazines trends and statistics

Unlike the e-book market, the news and magazine markets have struggled to find sustainable revenue models in the digital age. The resources listed below survey the news and magazine trade and how it has been affected by the surge of digital technology.


Canadian Media Directors’ Council: The Canadian Media Directors’ Council (CMDC) collects statistics on newspaper and magazine distribution and market share, and produces company profiles. It compiles the information in an annual publication, CMDC Media Digest:

Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC): OMDC is an agency of the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, which provides support to various Ontario-based media companies through advocacy, funding, tax credits and innovation. Their extensive online library offers many reports on the magazine industries in Ontario and in Canada. OMDC also offers funding support to digital magazines that focus on Canadian content.

United States

Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute (RJI): The mission of RJI is to strengthen journalism in the service of democracy by engaging media professionals and scholars with ideas, studies and advocacy. Its research aims to test innovations in journalism to find viable business models.

Nieman Journalism Lab: This project from the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University attempts to redefine the role of journalism and its future in the digital age. The Lab focuses on finding innovation and areas of growth and opportunity in order for professional journalism to survive.

The State of the News Media 2016 (Pew Research Center, 2016): This annual report on the status of American journalism analyzes technology, demographics, ownership, economics and other issues that affect journalism within a given medium, including newspapers and magazines.


The New Normal for News: Have Global Media Changed Forever? (Oriella PR Network, 2013) (PDF) : This annual study surveys journalists from around the world about how digital technology has affected their profession and industry.

Proof of Performance v2: Making the Case for Magazine Media (FIPP, 2014): FIPP, a global magazine media association, has compiled this report from studies from across the world and argues that magazine media can survive on digital platforms.

IV. Tracking latest developments in E-Publishing

These blogs, websites and events help keep entrepreneurs up to date with the latest developments in e-publishing.

E-Publishing news sites and blogs

Columbia Journalism Review: The Columbia Journalism Review is an online magazine published by Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. It covers news, media industry trends, analysis, issues concerning professional ethics and the stories behind the news. Its resources include a Who Owns What directory and a Guide to Online News Startups.

The Idea Logical Company (blog by Mike Shatzkin): This blog from digital-publishing thought leader, Mike Shatzkin, offers anecdotes and advice for those in the e-publishing industry. Topics include Shatzkin’s seasoned perspective on industry events, e-books, rights management and new business models.

Book Business: This publishing resource provides the latest news on technology and trends, information on digital publishing, and business advice for the industry.

Publishers Weekly: This trade news magazine attracts publishers, librarians, booksellers and literary agents. Along with book reviews and best-seller lists, it also reports on digital technologies including e-books and apps.

FutureBook (blog from The Bookseller): Covering the latest developments in e-publishing, this blog features many posts on Amazon, Google, Apple, digital marketing, e-books and mobile.


Digital Book World Conference + Expo: Held yearly in New York City, the Digital Book World Conference + Expo zeroes in on the business of e-publishing. It holds workshops and panel discussions on developing business models, training staff, improving discoverability and publishing content for children.

PePcon: The Print + ePublishing Conference takes place annually. It focuses on the technology of e-publishing, with sessions on topics such as:

    • Learning new features of Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, HTML5 integration, and Photoshop
    • Tablet publishing
    • Using ePub and Kindle formats
    • Developing interactive content

BookNet Canada: Tech Forum is an annual conference on digital developments in the book publishing industry. Book industry professionals are provided with the chance to learn, debate, network and help determine the industry’s future.

BookNet Canada: Ebookcraft is a conference for the e-book production community, bringing together e-book developers to engage in conversation about design, standards and best practices.

Return to the top