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Let me start the new year with my The Predictions for Book Publishing in 2016…
- We’re going to see more rights sales. I think both traditional and indie publishers are going to push for more global sales, push for more audio books, and push for more variety projects (like coloring books) in 2016, which is good news for authors. It means there are more opportunities to make some income.
- We’re going to see more of iBooks. While Amazon is the 800-lb gorilla of ebooks, their shopping experience has always left a lot to be desired. I think this is the year Apple figures out how to improve the shopping experience and makes iBooks a destination spot for readers.
- We’re going to see more people reading on mobile devices. I know we keep hearing about the growth of print in 2015, but I think that was tied to the fact that the Big Five simply started charging so much more for ebooks, readers fell back to buying print. I think we’re going to see new technology and new interest from readers who want to go mobile.
- We’re going to see more short works. People who like USA Today like short pieces. And if people are reading on their phone or pad, they want short books. I think the rise of the 40k-to-45k novel is upon us.
- We’re going to see more interest in China. The country is opening up, and publishers are just now starting to figure out how to get books in front of the billion readers in the People’s Republic. I see dollar signs for publishers and authors.
- We’re going to see more convergence discussed between publishers and authors. When the publisher buys the book, the importance of coming up with apps, TV Shows, films, merchandise, and other derivatives is going to become far more important as publishers embrace other ways of making money.
- We’re going to see more backlash to subscription services that don’t earn authors any money. Authors see the value of the occasional perma-free title to start a series… but the notion of barely getting paid so that Amazon can rake in more dough has gotten old.
- We’re going to see the ebook universe mirror the print universe — with more domination by a few well-known names. Book publishing now has two separate systems: one for largely traditional authors, another for largely digital authors. The traditional system gets more press from mainstream media, but there are thousands of authors making good money via indie publishing. This year that’s going to start to become tougher, as the ebook market will do what print has done, and move toward the rule of the 80/20 (the Pareto Principle, where 80% of the income comes from 20% of the books).
- We’re going to see more libraries figure out how to work better with indie-published books. This has been a slow (and often stupid) debate, where libraries have been reluctant to embrace self-pubbed titles, even as they’ve moved away from print and toward a digital world. But this year, probably through the efforts of Amazon and Smashwords, they’re going to figure out a way to make this work… and the make a lot of authors very happy.
- We’re going to see more diversity in legacy publishing. Okay, I don’t know if this is really going to happen or not, but frankly, we should all be appalled at the fact that there are barely any people of color working in publishing. (A recent study suggested that less than 2% of those working in editorial roles are black.) So here’s hoping we see more change happening in 2016.
Those are my predictions. What do YOU think happens in 2016?