Five Digital Publishing Questions for Steven Zacharius

Expert publishing blog opinions are solely those of the blogger and not necessarily endorsed by DBW.

digital publishing kensington steven zachariusThe Digital Book World Conference + Expo, kicking off on January 13, 2015 is packed with an incredible amount of information and ideas about the digital publishing landscape at a time of remarkable transformations. To help attendees make the most out of those three days, Digital Book World is sitting down with conference speakers to help lay the groundwork for conversations that will take place at the conference and continue for many weeks and months afterward.

This is the fourteenth installment in our “Digital Publishing Questions” blog series, featuring Steven Zacharius, Chairman, President and CEO of Kensington Publishing Corp.

What do you think has been the most newsworthy event for authors in the past year around publishing and digital change?

Clearly the Hachette-Amazon negotiation was the biggest and most newsworthy event of the year. In addition to this were the clear battle lines drawn between traditionally published authors and indie authors over the issues it raised. Now we can hopefully go back to trying to sell more books.

Related: How Is the Business of Being an Author Evolving?

What are you anticipating as the big change we will see in 2015?

I’m not expecting any major changes in 2015. I think we’re going to see a continuing flattening of the growth in ebooks and a leveling off of print sales. Hopefully we won’t see a decrease in print accounts.

What is the most important thing publishers need to accomplish in 2015?

Publishers have to reverse the trend of decreasing shelf space for books. We’ve gotten into a cycle in which retailers are taking away book space and giving it to other items, and this creates a vicious cycle in decreasing space and sales.

Will Amazon’s ebook market share grow in 2015, or will this be the year that Apple, Kobo, Google and Nook (or someone else) push them back?

I don’t see Amazon’s market share decreasing. For companies operating on the wholesale model, I think there will still be an increase in business from Kindle Unlimited sales.

Related: Kindle Unlimited a Mixed Blessing for Authors

Are there any companies (start-up or otherwise) now flying below the radar that you think may break out in 2015?

I believe the key companies that we have to watch this year are those that are developing clever ways for marketing on social media. There are a number of firms that we’re testing now, and we’re optimistic we’ll see positive results.

Steven Zacharius is Chairman, President and CEO of Kensington Publishing Corp. He’ll be speaking on a panel at Digital Book World 2015 called “Subscriptions for Ebooks: How Is It Working Out?” investigating the relative successes and obstacles for the leading ebook subscription services and evaluating common concerns within the industry based on current evidence from the market.



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