Dr. Sven Fund is the Managing Director of De Gruyter, and a lecturer at Humboldt University. He has published on open access as well as the digital transformation of the publishing industry, and can look back to an outstanding career in several large publishing houses.

Hybrid Publishing Lab: Will New Media decide the fate of publishers, or will the printed book stay predominant?

Sven Fund: The advent of digital media for the first time ever show, how diverse the use of books is and in fact has always been. For sure, printed books will not disappear, as vinyl has not disappeared from music lovers’ collections. I would estimate that depending on the type of title ebooks will saturate at around 40%-50%, printed books making up for the rest.

HPL: What challenges are publishing houses facing today in an international environment?

Fund: Digitization changes publishing fundamentally, but neither synchronous nor homogenous. There are very different market conditions even within Europe, let alone in the world. Publishers are challenged to offer their content – and that is what our business is still very much about – much more different formats than only a few years ago. This drives cost and increases investment risks. Additionally, the role of services around the content offered is rapidly gaining importance. Both on the users’ as well as on the authors’ side, demand for additional services as well as transparency in pricing are new to our industry.

HPL: What role does open access play in the publishing strategy of De Gruyter? What obstacles do you see for open access, in which area do you think something should happen?

Fund: Since 2009, Open Access really became a core element of our strategy. Not only because it is one of the few growth segments in scientific publishing. It also drives what we do in our traditional business lines into a more service-orientated way of working with authors. This fall, we have also been starting to actively convert journals from subscription based to Open Access. And it also works for books! Long term, I expect to see around 20% of the scholarly publishing market to convert into Open Access.

HPL: Which book will you always have as an analogue copy in your bookshelf?

Fund: My childrens‘ books and a the nightly novel I am reading – I am afraid it will be more than one book ;).

Our upcoming Conference on Publishing between Open Access, Piracy and Public Spheres is up for registration now. You can read all Interviews here.
The next interview with Cornelius Puschmann, professor of communication science at Zeppelin University Friedrichshafen will be published on thursday!

Julia Rehfeldt


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