Ten predictable trends and six revolutionary predictions for the future of publishing
Thursday, January 12, 2012
Posted by: Sheri Toomb
Israel, Director of Global Marketing, Content Solutions, SPi
These ten common denominators come together as a general
consensus as we head into 2012:
1. Brick and mortar
stores will continue to close. This includes bookstores. Their downtown rents
are higher than for online stores
2. eBook publishing and
reading will continue to grow. Printed books will still be needed for
3. More and more
established authors will abandon their New York publishers when their contracts
4. Ads will begin to
appear in eBooks. Unlike pBooks, the ads can be added at any time and charged
for by the book.
5. More books will be
made into Apps but only the interactive App will be viable. Static, one-use
Apps offer no advantage over an eBook.
6. Pre-Pub reviews will
disappear. Without brick and mortar stores and the three selling seasons, there
is no need for advance notice of books.
7. More magazines and
newspapers will close. Advertisers are following eyeballs from print to online.
8. Books in Print become
irrelevant. There is more bibliographic information at Amazon and the
information is free.
9. The future of
nonfiction publishing is eBooks. The future of eBooks is color.
10. The future of reading
is on a screen. The future of authoring is multimedia.
By now, these points seem to go without saying. However, Kevin
Kelly, former Editor and now Senior Maverick at Wired magazine, had a
further interesting outlook and discusses six trends that will revolutionize
the publishing industry. Here are
his six trends:
1. Screening. Screens are
everywhere. We are moving from being people of the book to people of the
Every flat surface will eventually have a screen on it. We have not yet begun
to see the extent to which screens will permeate the culture. You cannot tell in
advance what is going to be shown on a sctreen–a web page, movie, book…. We are
moving from an oral culture to a visual one.
2. Interacting. We now interact not
only with our fingertips, but with gestures (for example on smartphones), and
even with our whole body. Reading will expand to a bodily conversation. We also
interact with our voices. You can have a Kindle read to you. Audiobook sales
are rising 5% per year. Who would have imagined that this would become a major
way to read? In 2011, 2 billion camera phones are in the hands of users.
Eyetracking is becoming a viable way to interact. Soon we will have adaptive
text, in which books look back at us. Although interactive media failed in a
previous era, technology has allowed it to return and be successful. Now we
have nonlinear narratives–alternate endings–to books. There is far more reading
going on than we realize.
3. Sharing. Everything is
looking in the cloud for information, and the cloud is looking back at us,
which is the basis for all sorts of social engagement. Reading is becoming much
more social. Wikipedia is a single book with 27 million pages. (Each page can
be thought of a little book.) Eventually all text will be in blue, i.e.
hyperlinked, and all books will be linked into one large text–a library. We
read socially, and we must write socially. We are only at the beginning of
sharing. Everything increases in value by being shared.
4. Accessing. We gain much more
value by accessing information rather than owning it. Why own something if you
have instant all time access? This is huge shift and a fundamental difference
in this economy. For $20,000 you can store every book on the planet. We will
soon see everything available–why will anybody own it?
5. Flowing. Files flow into
pages, which flow into streams. Some well known flows are Twitter, RSS, and
Facebook streams. Books will operate in the same environment. Flows go through
in streams, which are constantly updated and amended. Our own lives will be a
stream of chronological data. Streams go everywhere and are never finished;
they are constantly in flux.
6. Generating (not copying). Today
we have more selection, more quality, and more access–a complete renaissance
for reading. There is no better time for readers than now. Everybody is
benefiting except the producers, and everything is moving towards free.
Publishers are not ready for the idea that books will sell for 99 cents. The
Internet is the world’s largest copying machine. Everything will be copied. The
only value will be in generatives, which must be generated in context and
cannot be copied, for example:
Immediacy. You can get anything for free if you wait long
Findability. Amazon is selling the findability of a book.
Embodiment. Music is free but its physical embodiment (such
as in a performance) is not.
Interpretation. Software is free, but a manual often is not.
(O’Reilly’s Missing Manual series has been very successful.)
His trends provide a more in depth understanding of where
the publishing industry is right now! Generally speaking, until now, there have
been three elements to publishing: The Author, The Publisher, and The Reader. The publisher has
been part of this formula because it has been the critical link between the
author and the reader; however, the Internet and Social Media tools like blogs
have bypassed the publisher.
industry has become irrelevant in the Social Media age. However, in world of
publishing, change can equal opportunity! With the explosion in new
communication technology—and the corresponding shift in consumer behavior—comes
a once-in-a-lifetime chance for publishers to reinvent themselves. This is the
time for publishers moving in to 2012 – will they be able to do it?
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