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

Abstract

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.

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Fig. 1

Notes

  1. Depending on the source, the total of book publishers in Germany ranges between 1.800 (members of the German Publisher Association Börsenverein) and 2.840 (VAT-registered) companies [72].

  2. Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

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Buschow, C., Nölle, I. & Schneider, B. German Book Publishers’ Barriers to Disruptive Innovations: The Case of E-Book Adoption. Pub Res Q 30, 63–76 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12109-014-9342-y

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Keywords

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