Career Center | Print Page | Sign In | Register

One of BISG's core objectives is to conduct research to best inform the book industry. As an information hub for all stakeholders and interested parties, the BISG research archives are displayed in this section of the website. Read on for past projects and current initiatives.

Rights Management Solutions and Return on Investment

In June 2020, BISG engaged GiantSteps Media Technology Strategies and its principal, Bill Rosenblatt, to study the return on investment (ROI) for various rights management solutions. This study grew out of a survey where a majority of BISG members described rights management as “critical” or “very important” to their bottom line, and also indicated that improved rights management would lead to increased business opportunities with licensees. Yet, few respondents planned to make meaningful investments in the near term. It was clear that there was an opportunity to raise general awareness of rights management solutions and their potential ROI.

This study consists of three parts, the results of which will be featured in a white paper expected in September 2020. Results will also be presented via webinars and potential events following the release of the paper.

1) A market survey, including: a description of key stakeholders in rights management; a taxonomy of rights management services and solutions and business benefits of such solutions; and, to the extent possible, usage statistics of different solutions.

2) Interviews with stakeholders from both from different points in the value chain and different segments of the industry, with a view towards quantitative information that reflects business benefits outlined in the market survey. 

3) Case studies that illustrate a range of application types, solution types, and business benefits.

Anyone interested in participating or who has questions about the project should contact Jonathan Fiedler (


Consumer Research

Ebooks and other forms of digital content have now entered the mainstream. In the adult fiction category, for example, ebooks have become the most popular media format, selling more than hardcovers, softcovers, or mass paperbacks. Meanwhile, the way students learn and instructors teach is undergoing a radical shift, and the role of the traditional print "textbook" as the foundational tool for instruction is changing along with the traditional publishing model.

Publishers must understand how new technologies are changing the market and what opportunities will arise as a result of this transition. BISG's consumer, student, and faculty surveys provide trendable, actionable information for companies looking to refine their business strategies in the new digital marketplace.


  • Digital Content in Public Libraries
  • Student Attitudes Toward Content in Higher Education
  • Consumer Attitudes Toward Ebook Reading.

Industry Issues & Trends

Digital Books and the New Subscription Economy

Given the success of subscription services in the film, television, and music industries, publishing stakeholders have wondered how and when these services will affect book content distribution, and a survey of BISG members identified subscription models as the industry's next disruptive technology. This critical research project paints a clear picture of how content producers and others in the publishing value chain are reacting to new forces in the marketplace, and provides timely, relevant information to help answer questions such as:

  • Will there be a "Netflix of ebooks" or will more focused verticals develop?
  • Who are the major players in digital content subscription? What are the various business models they employ?
  • How have subscription services fared across different market segments (professional, scholarly, higher education, trade)?
  • What are the attitudes of agents, publishers, librarians, and others toward digital book subscription? What factors motivate or dissuade them from participating?

Results of Digital Books and the New Subscription Economy (2014) are available in the form of an Executive Summary or full 100-page PDF report.

The Development, Use, and Modification of Book Product Metadata

Success in book publishing continues to rely extensively on consistent preparation and use of product metadata.  As digital products grow and evolve, this is true now more than ever.  

The Development, Use, and Modification of Book Product Metadata (2012) illustrates critical metadata handoffs, documents how metadata is altered or discarded, and identifies the points at which changes and revisions occur (and, in some cases, don't occur). 

From Experimentation to Innovation in the Digital Age

Old practices, processes, and business models are rapidly giving way to the demands of digital publishing. Through 10 original case studies, From Experimentation to Innovation in the Digital Age (2008) describes how leading publishers like Hachette Book Group, Random House, and Harlequin created innovative responses to challenges posed by the digital world.

Environmental Trends and Climate Impacts: Findings from the US Book Industry

This pioneering research report provides an analysis of the book industry's environmental impact and assesses possible areas for improvement. It also makes specific recommendations for improving the book industry's carbon footprint.

Packed with nearly 40 charts and graphs, Environmental Trends and Climate Impacts: Findings from the US Book Industry ( 2008) contains statistics on companies with environmental policies, recycled paper usage, forestry certification preferences and energy usage throughout the industry. In addition, the report provides a unique carbon footprint and forest growth model for the US book industry, along with interesting case studies of companies making strides toward green business models.


  • International Marketplace: Brazil 

Publishers Sales Data


BookStats, a Joint Venture between the Book Industry Study Group (BISG) and the Association of American Publishers (AAP), provided the most comprehensive available view of the size and shape of the US book publishing industry, measured by publisher net unit and dollar sales.

This revolutionary data project carefully tracked transformational shifts in the sale of book content and provided US publisher net revenue and unit sales for 2008-2013 across three dimensions:

White Papers: Mobile Commerce for the Book Industry 

A new way to communicate with book buyers, other consumers, and the general public is spreading rapidly in North America. Consumers in the U.S. are joining their counterparts in Japan, other parts of Asia, and Europe in using mobile phones and other mobile devices to obtain information and even make purchases.

The practice is widely referred to as "mobile commerce," but this term is somewhat of a misnomer. While the purpose of many applications is an immediate commercial transaction, other applications focus on advertising or product descriptions that may or may not lead to future sales. Still other applications are purely informational and are not commercial in any respect. Nevertheless, no other term has a comparable span of acceptance, and BISG will use "mobile commerce" in its presentations.

Mobile commerce uses bar codes placed on posters, in print media, and on products as the starting point for communication with consumers. These bar codes are most frequently two-dimensional (2D), consisting of a matrix of tiny black and white squares rather than the more familiar one-dimensional (1D) bar codes consisting of bars and spaces. The QR Code®, a registered trademark of Denso Wave Incorporated, is one of the most widely used of these newer symbologies. A consumer can capture an image of the bar code with a mobile device that has an integrated camera and activate an application on the device. A URL stored in the bar code directs the application to a website that displays information or permits a wide variety of actions, including purchases. Companies in general retail are increasingly active with mobile commerce advertising and promotional campaigns, and new examples appear daily. Publishers and booksellers are also exploring uses. BISG is not promoting or advocating mobile commerce or any specific approach to implementing it. However, BISG is actively assembling information to help participants in the book industry consider this technology. The information will be updated and expanded as developments warrant.

Introduction (Download Here)

  • An overview of the mobile commerce process
  • A brief list of terms and their definitions
  • Sources of additional information or assistance

QR Codes and Other Symbologies (Download Here)

  • QR Codes and other frequently seen symbologies
  • The properties and typical applications of each symbology
  • Important points to consider in presenting symbols on display objects such as signs, posters, books, and magazine advertisements

Application Considerations (Download Here)

  • Important points to consider in planning mobile device applications and mobile commerce campaigns

Three Approaches to Mobile Commerce (Download Here)

  • Printed or Displayed Bar Code Symbol
  • Near Field Communication (NFC)
  • Direct Communication

Publisher Campaigns (Download Here)

  • Advertisement in The New York Times Book Review

Bookseller Campaigns (Download Here)

  • General information poster in store window
  • In-store display of hardcover titles



232 Madison Avenue, Suite 1400
New York, NY 10016
Phone: 646-336-7141 |