Publishing Research Quarterly

, Volume 30, Issue 1, pp 63–76 | Cite as

German Book Publishers’ Barriers to Disruptive Innovations: The Case of E-Book Adoption

  • Christopher BuschowEmail author
  • Isabelle Nölle
  • Beate Schneider


To succeed in a period of change, German book publishers need to adopt innovations, e.g., implement e-books into their product portfolio. Yet, in the book industry, the adoption of new technologies is not commonplace: Despite being the second biggest book market worldwide, only 1.2 % of all published books in Germany are available as e-books. This problem leads us to investigate the factors that determine whether publishing companies decide in favor or against entering the e-book market. Based on a standardized survey of more than 240 German publishing houses, barriers to innovation adoption are examined from a micro, meso and macro perspective. Our main findings show that individual characteristics of management and the company’s corporate culture strongly predict adoption. Also, organizational communication seems to be critical. Taking this into account, the key resource to enable innovation seems to be information underlining the necessity of communities of practice.


Adoption Corporate culture Creative disruption German book publishing industry E-books Innovation Management survey Organizational structure 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher Buschow
    • 1
    Email author
  • Isabelle Nölle
    • 2
  • Beate Schneider
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Journalism and Communication ResearchHanover University of Music, Drama and MediaHanoverGermany
  2. 2.Ullstein Buchverlage GmbHBerlinGermany

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