The Digital Revolution

Wharton School Publishing has gone digital.

By Tim Hyland

Wharton has launched Wharton Digital Press, a new all-digital publishing initiative that will publish its titles via all of the major e-book platforms available today—from the iPad to the Kindle to the Nook— instead of in print.

“We believe the digital revolution in publishing provides a very efficient way for the Wharton School to reach a much wider global audience,” says Stephen Kobrin, Executive Director of the new press and Wharton’s William H. Wurster Professor of Multinational Management.

Wharton appears to be jumping into the digital space at precisely the right time. In November, Forrester Research predicted that e-book sales would reach $966 million in 2010—and cross the $1 billion mark in 2011. According to the Association of American Publishers, total sales in 2009 were $170 million, up a whopping 176 percent from the previous year. And in July, Amazon.com announced that in the previous year it had sold 143 e-books for every 100 traditional books that came off the shelves.

Given the shifting dynamics of the book marketplace, Kobrin says, the shift to a digital format just seemed to make good business sense.

“We hope to take full advantage of all of the innovative technologies the digital revolution presents in communicating innovative, practical, useful knowledge to readers—knowledge that will enable them to deal with the problems of the present and the challenges of the future,” Kobrin says.

Wharton Digital Press is a collaborative effort with Knowledge@Wharton, the School’s online journal of research and business analysis. The first books from the new press should be available by this spring.

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