Like many other creative industries, the book publishing industry is experiencing a shift away from the physical into the digital. This fundamental change impels firms to examine their products and competences, and look at how they stand in relation to the new technology. Through a case study of Norway’s three largest book publishers; Gyldendal, Aschehoug and CappelenDamm, this thesis investigates how the Norwegian publishing industry think of, and respond to, the internet paradigm, high uncertainty and digitalisation. The data collection is based on semi-structured interviews with managers from both educational and general departments, and so reflects on both these markets, and their relation.
The thesis finds that publishers in Norway have come relatively far in developing digital pilot products and distribution-systems. However, this technology-push approach is hindered by the lack of a dominant design. Diverging formats and aims have created an uneven knowledge uptake, and resulted in a split between educational and general literature markets. This divergence is enhanced by the educational system, which has taken on a lead user role. In addition, the internet technology imposes social and cultural values that go against the grain of existing business models and established industry networks, and as such still represents a significant challenge for individual firms and the industry.