Monday, December 5, 2011
A Few Publishing Predictions: 2012 - 2017
1. Books will have advertisements in them. E-books will have them first.
2. Books will eventually cost more. Right now there is deflation, caused mainly by Amazon and e-book retailers looking to undercut everyone. But we’ll move away from the Wal-mart model after it bottoms out.
3. The traditional publishers will merge with one another and/or acquire smaller presses. Further, more conglomerates, such as entertainment, dot-com, or news media companies will acquire several publishers.
4. Dedicated e-readers will fall out of favor in five years, as consumers opt for the device that can do everything, more like an iPad tablet.
5. Publishers may eventually boycott Amazon. Why feed your executioner?
6. Publishers will begin to vary their distribution means. For some titles they’ll do only ebooks; for others they may sell books only through book stores and not with Amazon. There will be new branding deals, where a big publisher aligns itself with say, the Democratic Party, Alcoholics Anonymous, or the ASPCA, and exclusively publishes books by members and uses the organizations to buy back copies and sell or give books away to its members.
7. Books will get shorter, perhaps by half or more.
8. More books will be enhanced with extra material-photos, audio, video, documents and resources – for additional fees.
9. Some publishers will ”rent” their books, with Netflix-type subscriptions.
10. A push will be made to convert the illiterate, in the U.S. and globally into becoming literate, so that a bigger pool of reading consumers can be created.
11. No one knows for sure as to what will happen in the book industry. It does seem clear that trends of any kind continue until a saturation point is reached and then a new shift occurs. So, for instance, e-books will continue to skyrocket but are also due to stagnate down the road. Then what? Something new will happen And then we’ll lament the loss of the e-book, just as some lament the downfall of paper books.
12. We will continue to see a significant increase in the number of books published, but future increases will tend to be for self-published, print-on-demand and e-only books. Traditional publishers will also expand their title offerings but on a smaller scale than they used to. They now release about six times the number of books annually they did 20 years ago, but they will not grow anywhere by that much 20 years forward.
Everything is cyclical and all trends eventually die out. If only we could clearly see what the next big thing will be.
Interview With Parisian Author Claire Merle
1. You call your upcoming book, The Glimpse, a “young adult dystopian thriller.” Why? I guess the word dystopian is being thrown around quite a lot these days and not always in the right context. I’ll define it the way I see it : A dystopian fiction takes place in an imaginary future that comments on our own society and which most of us would fear to live in. It’s etymology basically means ‘away from utopia’, though a dystopia often comes about by society’s efforts towards a utopia, or making the world ‘a better place’ to live in. ‘The Glimpse’ is a dystopia because it’s set in a near future where people are genetically tested to see if they’ll become mentally ill at some point in their lives. While it’s possible to see why some people might advocate the advantages of such a test, in The Glimpse the reality is disastrous.
2. What inspired you to write this book? The idea started brewing around ten years ago when I went to a talk on the state of mental health in the US and UK. I was alarmed to learn about the rapidly increasing number of children being prescribed psychiatric medication such as Ritalin (an addictive amphetamine-like stimulant which the US government classifies alongside cocaine and morphine) for behavioral problems. At the time I didn’t have kids, but I still found this deeply disturbing. I began researching further and asking myself a basic question: if mental health continues to progress in the direction it’s headed on, what kind of future will our children live in? The Glimpse was my rather disturbing answer.
3. What do you love about being a published author? I’m not really published yet! My book doesn’t come out until June 2012. But so far what I’ve loved about getting a publishing deal is having people read my book and feel as passionate about my characters and story as I am, and making lots of new friends – established authors, debut authors, aspiring writers and people who just love reading.
4. What advice do you have for struggling authors? Becoming published has EVERYTHING to do with persistence. You don’t fail unless you stop trying. While I was writing The Glimpse, I also found an online writer’s forum very helpful and supportive. Other aspiring writers can assist with honing your query letter and those all important first three chapters. I’ve made a lot of friends this way, and many of us are continuing to support each other through the next step of the publishing journey. (Shout out to everyone at QT!) And of course there’s no substitute for reading a lot and writing a lot.
5. Where do you think the book industry is heading? I have no idea! But I’m an optimist so I’m sure it’s all going to work out fine. Actually, I’ve always loved books, real paper books and five years ago if you asked me whether I’d consider using an e-Reader I’d have said ‘not a chance’. Now, I’m hoping someone will buy me one for Christmas! So things change. It seems to me if books become more accessible to your average person by being readily available online then that’s a good thing. Though one thing I’ve really come to value going through the publishing process is all the editorial stages – editorial revisions, copy edits, proofs. I think as long as we don’t lose the quality of the work being produced and the skills of all those involved in the process then whatever happens, it’ll be OK!
For more information, consult: www.clairemerle.com
Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person.