Worldwide trends in CDROM publishing

Publication Date01 Apr 1993
AuthorGeoffrey Stoneman
SubjectInformation & knowledge management,Library & information science
Worldwide trends in
CDROM publishing
Geoffrey Stoneman
Barley Mow
London W4
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. My paper today is on
the subject of worldwide trends in CDROM publishing and I
wish to present this within the framework of the industry
Identifying the structure of the CDROM publishing indus-
try together with the process and the players will assist us in
recognising and examining these trends (Figure 1).
SilverPlatter is a publisher, and in some countries a pub-
lisher/distributor, so my conclusions outside of this are
based on less intimate knowledge. I realise that I stand before
a group of active librarians, so if my conclusions are less than
appropriate, I would be grateful if you could point this out.
The whole structure is situated in the technological envi-
ronment, although the CDROM publisher is usually thought
of as the harnesser and adapter of technology. This interface
with technology and the changing interrelationships with
each other will help us understand how trends originate, what
effect they may have and how we might predict them.
Indeed I would go further and say that the progress of the
industry is directly proportional to this structure's ability to
communicate and to learn and change, both with technologi-
cal background and amongst
So let's have some trends. Figure 2 shows the growth in
CDROM and multimedia titles over the last six years. A
spectacular growth curve which, if extrapolated using clas-
sic product life cycle behaviour patterns, would probably
indicate a peak at about the end of this century. CDROM
production tools and services have increased in availability
and have dropped in price, reducing the barriers to entry;
this and the strong growth should increase the attractiveness
to new players.
However, when we look at the number of companies in-
volved in CDROM (Figure
find that the
growth is declining; in fact it looks as though it has reached a
peak. Some CDROM publishers have steadily expanded the
number of titles they publish, like SilverPlatter for example.
Additionally, some of the CDROM pioneers, also like Silver-
Platter, have been publishing for up to seven
now and
although sometimes it may not seem it are beginning to
know how to do
These economies of scale and experi-
ence factors will continue to reduce operating costs and affect
the price / quality balance and profit margins.
It's true that the biggest increase in the price range of
CDROM titles has been at the sub $100 range (Figure 4). A
very significant additional factor here
the higher proportion
of discs now being marketed directly to the end-user. I am
indebted to TFPL for gathering these statistics and allowing
me to reproduce them.
The Electronic Library, Vol.
No. 4/5, August/October 1993 299

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