The future of publishing is one of the favorite dinner table talks for anyone related to the business of ink and white papers.
Today you cannot read a single interview of a big name author and not having seen the overly used question, “..according to you, what is the future of publishing? Where do you see it going by 2020?”
Print and Digital
Well, first of all, there is no denying that a great shift is happening towards digital publishing and the landscape of publishing is changing dramatically. But there is also another fact, that it is almost impossible to predict the future.
We can correctly guess a few things that are going to happen but we cannot say for sure if the printed books will die or if the printing business will change completely. After reading almost anything (and everything) on this subject matter, here is my short summary attempting to answer the million dollar question.
Also, below the bullet point summary, I also present the powerful tools from Amazon that you should use (if you are not already using it).
The Future of Publishing & Books
Besides the obvious things that we all can guess, here are my 29 specific observations on the future of ink, book, and publishing.
1. Self-publishing will continue to rise as the de-facto route to publishing new content.
2. We’ll see more highly specialized books mainly as eBooks (for example, a book dedicated to just one insect, or a book on “Sailing in the Bay of Bengal”, etc).
3. Book pre-orders (both print and eBook) will now determine the authors those who would hit the Bestseller Lists.
4. After a few years, once a lot of people have flooded the bestseller lists of some sort, bestseller lists and that tag will mean less and less. Consumers will buy books from authors they love or topics they want to explore or read about. Best seller name tag would mean somewhat but it will lose its charm.
5. eBook retailers will embrace self-published authors. (this is already happening)
6. Book Size (page, dimension, print run, etc) will no longer matter in the book publishing world. One size will, however, will matter most — the size of one’s audience.
7. Amazon’s power and reach will keep growing. Today, almost 70-80% of all eBooks sales happen on the Kindle platform. TheÂ more people read books in the electronic form, the bigger the Kindle and the Kindle app business will get.
8. Amazon will offer free books but will charge for the book recommendation. Amazon already knows a lot about its customers and what kind of books people buy. The recommending engine (and A.I) will be the key, notifying a customer when a new book by a favorite author comes out, and so on.
In an era where the consumer is the king, Amazon gets it and is clearly winning by a huge margin. Traditional publishers won’t even come close.
9. Audiobooks sales will increase. Audio books will become popular as more and more people have less time and more books to read. People are commuting long distances for work and as more and more people are getting into the gym, audio books are gaining big time. Plus, audio books (when produced well has its own charm).
10. Also, as more and more people grow tired of reading on screen and feel tired in their eyes they will switch to audio books. As you get older or during your peak years, you would like to spend the time building something instead of sitting with a thick book. People age between 25-45 will be the biggest Audio-book customers.
11. Podcast will see an increase (for the same reason as mentioned above). Most people listen to Podcast on their phone when they drive to work or at the gym.
12. Traditional publishers will begin building relationships with their loyal readers. They will start offering gifts, giveaways, and will lower the book prices to match up with the competition.
13. Traditional publishers (just like the Indie writers) will enter into Podcasting, TV, Blogging, and radio.
14. Hybrid self-publishing (or smaller vanity press) will be a whole new market. Although Vanity press has been in existence for as long as publishing has been flourishing. But the hybrid businesses we are talking about are the ones which will prove on-demand customized services, for example, help with marketing or help with cover design and artwork/illustrations only.
15. People will slowly, slowly being to think Piracy is good. Some piracy will be advocated and will be a sign of demand of a certain sincere voice. Authors will take piracy as testing the waters and as positive signals from the masses.
16. The print books will not die. They will sell less (because of the increase in eBooks and Audio books) but print will remain in demand.
17. College text books will become cheaper and more students will start publishing eBook format of guides, exam papers, text book solution guides, etc.
18. Big name authors will sell their books directly from their website. (Often as an eBook and Print-on-demand (POD).
19. Free books will no longer bring you new readers. There will be a ton of great free books already flooding the market. The number one thing for all writers will be developing a sincere authentic voice and building their platform (their tribe).
20. Many fiction writers will publish their novels as chapters first on their blog. If by chapters 4 or 5, readers show interest, the author might turn the rest of the book as an eBook and offer up for sale. If the readers are lukewarm, the writer may just publish his entire novel for free on his/her blog as a way to attract new visitors.
21. Developing countries and African countries will become a big market for books published in the English language – good fiction, self-help non-fiction, medicine, technology, business, etc will be the most in demand.
22. Smart writers will start taking advantage of the subscription model and this will drive more people to read more books in the years ahead.
23. New copyrights laws will be made regarding print and digital books or any content for that matter.
24. More books will be written as joint-projects involving two or more writers (including fiction). This will be mainly done to gain more exposure in order to sell more books. Multi-authorship will become the norm.
25. Word-of-mouth will become the only channel that will actually sell any book (in decent volume) as consumers get flooded with thousands of new books published every day.
26. More people will read. Contrary to the belief, more people will read and consume some sort of print or digital text. Whether you are reading a poem on Instagram or a micro-story on Twitter. People who never touched books will be consuming books in bits and pieces. This is good.
27. The biggest authors will have their most money made by selling the film rights and not from the author’s royalties. Similarly, the smaller writer will make the most money from speaking engagements and consulting than from their book sales.
28. Some of the new best selling authors will come from the countries we have not heard of before.
29. There will be a lot more great creative stories and overall the quality of literary fiction will improve.
The Power of Amazon
Amazon is the world’s largest book retailer. These are some simple hacks that you should already be taking advantage of.
1. Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial. Then after the free 30 days, join it. The amazon prime service cost $99 per year and it gives you five unique benefits.
a. Unlimited FREE two-day shipping (no minimum order size) – yes from a single book order to ordering your supplements or anything imaginable.
b. Borrow Kindle books for free (once per month)
c. Instant Film/Video – Prime members can watch over 40,000 movies (and the list is growing) thousands of movies and thousands of TV shows at no additional cost.
d. Music -Prime Music provides unlimited, ad-free access to Prime Playlists and more than a million songs and albums at no additional cost.
e. Photo Storage – Prime Photos provides unlimited photo storage in Amazon Cloud Drive with an additional 5GB of free storage space for active Prime members in the U.S.
One bonus benefit
If you tell your friends about Amazon Prime and if they join and make a $5 purchase, you’ll $5 towards your next purchase.
Once you join, you can refer to your friends via email or simply share on Facebook or social media.
Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial
2. Students Listen – Amazon Student FREE two-day shipping for college students.
Best of all try it for FREE for the first 30 days. Then move on to the paid membership. Your student membership program offers special benefits such as:
a. Unlimited FREE Two-Day Shipping (with no minimum order size)
b. Exclusive deals and promotions (month to month)
3. Try Audible 30 days FREE and Get Two Free Audiobooks
As mentioned above, these days more and more people are listening to Audio books. It is easy to read more and finish up books faster when you listen an audio book while you drive or cook or are exercising.
Switch between print books and audio version and read a lot of content faster. Also, we absorb information differently when it comes to visual vs. listening.
For maximum retention, it is great to listen to a book and then read it or vice-versa. For example, I loved listening to Stephen King’s book “On Writing” in his own voice. What a delight to listen to someone whom you admire.
Audible offers the world’s largest selection of digital audio-books and spoken word content. You can listen anytime and anywhere to professionally-narrated audio-books across a wide range of genres.
Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks
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