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IBPA-Supported “Immersive Media & Reading 2020” Consumer Research to Launch in September

Monday, August 31, 2020   (1 Comments)
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Cross-publishing industry initiative to measure engagement and buying behaviors across print and digital formats—before and during the pandemic

(New York, NY - August 31, 2020) — The Panorama Project’s Immersive Media & Reading 2020 consumer survey, in partnership with Portland State University, will officially launch in mid-September 2020. The cross-industry research initiative will help establish books’ place in the broader media ecosystem by understanding how readers discovered, accessed, and consumed books in all formats—before and during the COVID-19 pandemic—and how that engagement compares to other immersive media, specifically film, TV, and gaming.

"Portland State University is proud to be working with Panorama Project, BISG, the Authors Guild, ALA, IBPA, and PubWest to bring forward this important study that will broaden our understanding of book engagement and consumption within the wider media ecosystem,” said Dr. Rachel Noorda, Director of Book Publishing & Assistant Professor at Portland State University (PSU). “Working together with the committee, we have designed a study to address concerns across the book industry, and we are looking forward to analyzing the results."

The survey and methodology were developed by the Panorama Project’s Consumer Research Committee which was chaired by Dr. Noorda, and included representatives from the Book Industry Study Group (BISG), Authors Guild, American Library Association (ALA), Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), and PubWest. It will be fielded in two waves (mid-September and late-October); the data will be analyzed by Dr. Noorda and her colleague, Dr. Kathi Inman Berens, Assistant Professor of English and Book Publishing, PSU, and their report will be published by the Panorama Project in December.

“The ongoing pandemic’s uneven impact on the publishing industry and its various stakeholders obviously forced us to revamp our approach to this research, and I’m sincerely thankful for each committee member’s invaluable contributions throughout the process,” said Panorama Project lead and committee secretary, Guy LeCharles Gonzalez. “One of Panorama Project’s primary goals is to establish a foundation for cross-industry collaboration that can produce useful and transparent data that can be widely shared and analyzed. The committee’s collective insights and expertise ensured we’ll not only capture useful data this year, but we’ve also established a strong foundation for ongoing and deeper research.”

"Conducting relevant industry research is one of BISG's four primary objectives,” said Brian O'Leary, Executive Director, BISG. “The industry needs a longitudinal study of how consumers view books in the broader media landscape, and Portland State is well-positioned to conduct this survey and interpret the data coming from it."

In addition to aligning engagement with books to other immersive media, another key goal of Immersive Media & Reading 2020 is to understand public libraries' role in the discovery, consumption, and purchasing behaviors of readers who use libraries for more than just books.

"There is a paucity of data about how libraries operate within and positively influence the larger media ecosystem—which includes ebooks but also other media,” said Alan S. Inouye, Senior Director, Public Policy & Government Relations, ALA. “The collection and analysis of such data is a challenging endeavor, as longitudinal data are needed to answer many of the most important questions. ALA thanks the Panorama Project for undertaking this ambitious and needed study."

Funding for Immersive Media & Reading 2020 was generously provided by the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), Book Industry Study Group (BISG), American Library Association (ALA), and OverDrive.

About Portland State University

The graduate program in Book Publishing at Portland State University—Oregon's most affordable public research university—is at the forefront of publishing education nationally. In fact, Publishers Weekly described the program as a place where “publishing education gets innovative.” Founded in 2001 with the intent to combine traditional academic study and hands-on experiential learning, it is the only graduate program in book publishing in the western United States and the only program in the US that has a trade publishing house staffed by students, Ooligan Press.

Dr. Rachel Noorda is Director of Publishing and Assistant Professor of English at Portland State University. Dr. Noorda holds a PhD degree in Publishing Studies from the University of Stirling and has published peer-reviewed research on various book publishing projects including book subscription boxes, independent publisher mission statements, the Portland Book Festival, and online book blurbs. She is currently writing a book (contracted with Cambridge University Press) about entrepreneurship in twenty-first century US book publishing. She has been very involved with the industry, including analyzing data and writing industry reports for PubWest, the Independent Book Publishers Association, the Book Industry Study Group, Literary Arts, and Publishing Scotland.

Dr. Kathi Inman Berens, Assistant Professor of English at Portland State University, has published peer-reviewed research about digital humanities, book publishing, and digital literature. A Ph.D. from UC Berkeley, Dr. Berens conducted grant-supported research for IBM when she was faculty and a Fellow of the Annenberg Innovation Lab at the University of Southern California. Dr. Berens studies immersive environments and transmedia experiences, consulting with Portland companies on VR medical therapies, immersive storytelling, and mobile web interface design. In her book publishing consulting and scholarship, two years of survey work provide foundational data for insights about consumer behavior at the Portland Book Festival. She is advisory council for arts non-profits Literary Arts, NW Film Center, and Oregon Storyboard.

About the Panorama Project

The Panorama Project is a cross-industry, data-informed research initiative focused on understanding the impact of library holdings on book discovery, author brand development, and sales. It is guided by an Advisory Council including representatives from Penguin Random House, Sourcebooks, Open Road Media, American Library Association, Audio Publishers Association, NISO, OverDrive, and Ingram Content Group.

The Advisory Council helps guide the Project’s research activities and nurtures the development of the supporting organization. Initial funding is being provided by OverDrive, Inc.

The Panorama Project is an open membership initiative. Learn more at

About the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA)

Founded in 1983 to support independent publishers nationwide, the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) leads and serves the independent publishing community through advocacy, education, and tools for success. With over 3,600 members, IBPA is the largest publishing association in the U.S. Its vision is a world where every independent publisher has the access, knowledge, and tools needed to professionally engage in all aspects of an inclusive publishing industryFor more information, visit


RICHARD V. RUPP, Richard V. Rupp, Author says...
Posted Thursday, September 3, 2020
I'm looking forward to seeing the results of this project. My launch of a book during the pandemic has been an interesting challenge.

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