Friday, February 1, 2013

What do you think?



Thursday, April 19, 2012

What Books & The Publishing Landscape Will Look Like In 2016

One question – 30 answers!
I recently asked dozens of authors and members of the book publishing community to present their thoughts on the state of books for the future. I figured if presidential elections are every four years, why not ask about 2016 for publishing? Below are the diverse responses I received – unedited. In the near future I will reveal my own view of the future of book publishing.
“The future will continue to be about the power switch from publisher to author. This is a very exciting time in publishing. We have more options than ever before for publishing our titles and authors have the ability to go it alone in ways they never could. As time goes on, I see the larger publishers finding their way and continuing to add value to an author’s work through editorial, production and marketing efforts. They seem to be adapting to the e-book landscape very well and probably don’t get enough credit for that. As long as they continue to add this kind of value they will thrive. But authors will never need them the way they did to get published so the pressure to remain relevant will not go away. At the end of the day, the best books will rise to the top, whether they are self-published or released by a larger corporation, and that will be the way it is decades from now.”
--Scott Waxman, Founder of Diversion Books www.diversionbooks.com
 
“Just as a boomer found the transformation from black & white TV to color remarkable, the book world in 2016 will be very different. Publishers will provide content but books will be one (probably small) part of the way the content is delivered. People will read on laptops, phones, Ipads, Kindles, Nooks, etc...those of us who like to turn pages will be part of a distinct minority.”
--Debra Englander, Editorial Director, John Wiley & Sons

“What a great question. It seems like our industry is always trying to guess what the landscape will look like in a few years. Would anyone have guessed Navy SEAL memoirs would be a hot four years ago? I think we need to be prepared to adjust and change to the new technology formats that will appear. When I started in the industry, publishing was old-fashioned and resistant to change. Now, publishing is adaptable and looking for the cutting-edge new ideas . We all have to be open-minded and keep abreast of the tech world which used to be separate from the book world. To be out-of-date is career suicide.”
--Kim Bouchard, Sales, Operation and Event Manager, Macmillan Speakers Bureau, www.macmillanspeakersbureau.com

“It’s been said that all good things come to an end. I can only hope that’s not true for paperbacks and hardcover books. While eBooks have become popular and the way to go, they definitely have a place, however, I don’t see them replacing the traditional way completely. There’s something about holding a book in my hands that is all part of the excitement of getting lost in a great story. Grasping it in my hands and holding that corner of the next page waiting until I reach the final word on the one before so I can hurriedly flip it over and see what happens is the soul of reading a book. Another part in all this is that some people can’t afford the Kindle or Nook or Sony eReader or the others that are out there. That’s where the original books come in even further than just the phenomenal feeling of holding the book. This feeling is something that people who are around thirty-five years old and older can relate to. Here’s hoping that we can pass the feeling along to the younger generations to keep it where it belongs, front and center, the soul of any great story. 


“EBooks are great because they’re instant gratification and much more inexpensive than regular books. You can carry hundreds of bestsellers on one small tablet. And since you can carry it with you everywhere you go, you can sneak a peek at any book you’d like at every and any free moment. There’s something to be said for that. They are here to stay, but I don’t see them being all that’s available now, or ever.”
--Terri Ann Armstrong, author of seven books and executive editor at www.suspensemagazine.com
 
“The economics of publishing will continue their trend of the past few years, as self-publishing becomes a less expensive and more attractive option for authors. If publishers want to remain relevant, they will have to show that their distribution and marketing capabilities will lead to stronger sales than self-publishing can deliver, or otherwise demonstrate their value-add.”
--Randall Bolten, Author Of Painting with Numbers: Presenting Financials and Other Numbers So People Will Understand You

“I believe that ebooks will sweep the market and more and more people will own an eReader or iPad in some form or another. Print publishers will cave to the pressure of environmentally conscious readers and begin selling more ebooks than print. Given that books stores, even big name stores are shutting down now due to an overwhelming need for ebooks over print, I think the days of traditional bookstores will be a thing of the past and ebook stores will take over.”
--Author Shiela Stewart www.shielasbooks.ca

From the (optimistic) viewpoint of an editor for children’s literature, I believe that there will always be a demand for hardcopy picture books. Young children enjoy hearing the turn of a page, touching the page, and exploring the page especially when the book is printed in large format. I believe that the uncertainty of the publishing market will diminish and that publishers will grow their (hardcopy) lists again. I also feel however, that ebooks may exceed the sale of print books because they cost less than print books.
--Randi Lynn Mrvos, Blogger and children’s magazine nonfiction editor

“Books will still look like books, though the majority of them will be primarily in ebook format by the year 2016. The pace of digital domination in books will only increase in the next four years, and it will continue to reshape the way people read books and the way publishing houses and book retailers do business.

“Publishers will see their revenues decline--and, if they're doing things right, their profit margins will somewhat ironically increase. This won't happen without some pain. Sales forces will be slashed, warehouses and other fulfillment and back office functions will be shut down or severely curtailed, and marketing efforts and dollars will shift their focus almost exclusively to the ebook marketplace. Editors and designers will continue to make most of the commercially successful books while working at or for publishing houses. And authors will continue to fight for higher royalties, as they feel the continual squeeze of tighter margins forced upon them by the overall market.


“The retail sector in 2016 will be largely shaped by the outcome of the Justice Department suit against publishers who have allegedly colluded to fix retail prices. If the JD prevails, Barnes and Noble will be crippled in its ebook retailing strategy, which may be enough to knock them out of the book business altogether. Their bricks and mortar stores will either morph into instant printing centers or revert back to the B. Dalton model of narrow selections of bestsellers in smaller physical spaces. In this scenario, Amazon could become a totally dominant force as a retailer and a publisher, controlling both what gets published and how it is sold.

“More likely, however, some sort of settlement or compromise will be reached that keeps publishers in the publishing business and Amazon primarily in the retailing business. Once Amazon experiences firsthand the thin gruel of profits to be made from the chancey and time-consuming business of book publishing, it will abandon its publishing efforts and focus on its retailing and digital expertise instead.

“All this is not bad for the book publishing world, nor for the reading public. It's the dawn of a new age that will reshape, yet not destroy, the centuries-old traditions of reading and writing book-length material.”
--Mike Urban, www.mikeurban.net

“I expect by 2016 that 50% of the books sold will be trade paperbacks and 50% ebooks, with hardcovers reserved for 'coffee table' outsized special books, or a handful of well-known writers for collectors of first editions. There are too many e-readers with increasing popularity and ease of publishing for that not to continue to rise. Those of us who still wish to hold a book in our hot little hands will be content with trade paperback sizes. I'm probably representative of the average middle-aged reader: I want that book to hold when I'm home reading, but will use my iPad for travel and vacation reading, for ease of packing.”
--MK Graff writes a weekly crime review blog on www.auntiemwrites.wordpress.com and is the author of a mystery series, set in the UK: Thhe Green Remains debuts this month (www.bridlepathpress.com

“In 1985 Spielberg showed his vision of the world in Back to the Future 2 as futuristic with flying cars, and his projected year was 2015. I think people expect these levels of dramatic changes in book publishing with holograms for readers and everything electronic, but as we quickly approach the future the world is only partially different and the realism is a bummer.

“Book publishing and it’s landscape will still have the same ingredients 2016 because you cannot replace human networking with new technology entirely. There will still be industry leaders who run large publishing houses that have personal networks that can get books in readers hands on a big scale, and no matter how good an indie book is indies cannot compete at that level. Great indie books can still win the lottery when they get found, but they most likely will get lost in the plethora of books that increase every year because technology enables people like me to publish a book with only little help. Therefore in 2016 there will still be major publishers producing high-profile books AND the number of indie and self-publishers will continue to increase since profits are not always their main goal. Technology makes going at it alone much easier. In this pool of self-produced art is where the great indie books will tread without having a chance of getting noticed.

“Notice I didn’t quote an indie movie because my audience wouldn’t get the metaphor, so we will always need majors and minors so we have standards to compare our art too.”
--Dane Batty is the author and publisher of the biography Wanted: Gentleman Bank Robber. www.nishpublishing.com

“By 2016 I think we will see many more people buying electronic readers (Kindle, iPad, Nook) and a continued rise in ebook sales. I also think that book marketing will depend even more on online platforms and promotions. It is also likely we'll continue to see continued erosion in middle range sales performers--the few bestsellers will do even better and the rest will have to compete for whatever leftover attention they can get. That said, as a book lover myself I always prefer print over ebooks. Therefore, I believe that the migration to ebooks will stabalize at some point, albeit I doubt that would happen by 2016.”
--Guy Winch Ph.D., Author: The Squeaky Wheel and http://www.guywinch.com

“Publishing in 2016: What I’m afraid of is a much greater problem with books that are not vetted well, or not at all, whether they are self-published or put out by small or large presses. Already today we have too many titles that are not balanced reports, are full of inaccuracies (even in fiction), and are poorly written, edited, copy-edited and designed. “
--Linda Carlson, author, “Company Towns of the Pacific Northwest,” www.lindacarlson.com
 
“I have no clue. Seriously, the longer I've been writing, the less I understand about how it all works and what will happen next. I'm just hoping that there will be plenty bookstores and websites for me to browse, and that my books will still be being published. “
--Toni L.P. Kelner co-editor of HOME IMPROVEMENT: UNDEAD EDTION

“More and more Indie publishers and authors will continue to pop up. We now live in a techno-savvy world where the intelligent author can take matters into his/her own hands and make things happen for themselves. We authors are no longer at the mercy of a handful of big publishing houses, but now have OPTIONS! Yay! I think things will get easier in some ways, but the market will also become flooded with books—some will be sub-par. Just the way it has to be. But we all learn and grow and get better by doing. More power to the struggling author. That’s cause for a resounding virtual high-five!”


Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s leading book publicity firm. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person

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