From publishers to self-publishing: the effects of digitalization in the books industry

Morten Hviid, Sofia Izquierdo Sanchez, Sabine Jacques

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper explores the structure of the book publishing industry post digitalisation, analysing the choices of the publishers and authors. The introduction of successful e-book readers has belatedly given digitalisation the characteristics of a disruptive technology by making self-publishing a serious option for authors. This has been supported by the entry of new types of intermediaries and the strengthening of others. These changes have reduced the general requirements for an author to get a book self-published. As a result, a larger share of the surplus from the book industry is likely to go to authors, explaining the significant increase in the supply of books. The potential oversupply of books has created a new problem by increasing competition and making consumer searches more difficult. We argue that digitalisation has shifted the potential for market failure from an inadequate supply of books to asymmetric information about quality. It remains to be seen whether the market will provide appropriate intermediaries to solve the asymmetric information problem.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)355-381
Number of pages27
JournalInternational Journal of the Economics of Business
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jun 2019


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