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Medical e-book boom doesn't compensate for print losses, says study

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Medical and healthcare e-books have seen double-digit growth, but this has not been enough to balance print book losses in the same fields, according to new research by Simba Information. The media and publishing intelligence firm has found that global sales in the medical publishing market fell 2.4 per cent to $10.1 billion in 2012. In particular, Simba estimates that medical book sales fell 2.5 per cent to $2.96 billion in 2012.

The latest report, Global Medical Publishing 2013-2014, concluded that the worldwide recession had a broad impact on the revenue streams of medical publishers. According to Simba, academic institutions faced budget pressure, which made subscription renewals difficult. In addition, corporate customers and advertisers also cut back their spending in light of the recession’s impact.

The report also found that, 'in response to the market’s challenges, leading medical publishers are developing and acquiring information-based products that are often accessed via mobile devices and can be integrated into the workflow within the healthcare system'.

As a result, says Simba, online services are the fastest growing activity in medical publishing —increasing by 3.8 per cent in 2012. The developed world and English language are said to be particularly important to this sector, but much of the growth comes from emerging markets like the Middle East and South East Asia where investments are being made in upgrading healthcare systems.