The Future of Books: VR, Augmented Reality, Self-Driving Cars and More

ebooks, publishers, virtual reality, vr, mobile, augmented reality, self-driving carsEbook sales for “traditional publishers” seem to have hit a plateau. In the latest quarterly report from Simon & Schuster, for example, digital sales (including digital audio) fell approximately 10 percent, and HarperCollins has reported drop in digital revenue, as well. In some sectors, this has become a cause for celebration: the book is not dead, kids and millennials prefer to read “real” books. Print has won!

I do not want to argue which formats are better than others, as that argument is long dead. There is going to be a place for both print and ebooks in the foreseeable future. It is not digital versus print, but rather digital and print.

The physical book is a great device, and for many purposes it will continue to be the best format. But if we believe the digital transformation in book publishing is almost complete, we will soon find out we are wrong.

There are many new technologies on the horizon that will impact what and how we read. At the recent F8 (Facebook Developer Conference), Mark Zuckerberg shared his 10-year plan, including many ideas about his vision for virtual reality (VR) and chatbots. Do publishers have a 10-year plan? Are publishers prepared for what is here or almost here?

Much more.

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Bookstore Sales Continue Hot Start (PW)
Boosted by a 10.7 percent increase in March, bookstore sales for the first quarter of 2016 were up 6.2 percent over the comparable period in 2015, according to preliminary estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau. Sales in March were $766 million, up from $692 million in March 2015.

National Readathon Day Campaign Now Includes Facebook Donate Option (DBW)
Penguin Random House announced today that readers can now donate to National Readathon Day through Facebook. The publisher is working with the American Library Association (ALA) on the community-building initiative.

Company Snapshots: Librios (DBW)
In “Company Snapshots,” we pose a series of questions to leading providers of digital products and services and let them speak for themselves about what their company does, how they benefit publishers, and what they believe the biggest trends in the industry are. In today’s entry, we have Librios.

BookCon 2016: Too Short for Readers, Just Right for Publishers (PW)
The biggest complaint from attendees at this year’s BookCon literary fanfest was that it was too short. Held the day after BEA in Chicago’s McCormick Place, on May 14, attendees were thrilled to be in Chicago, and very happy with the venue, the programming, and the show’s logistics, but disappointed that this year’s event had been downsized to one day from last year’s two-day event.

How iBooks Author Is Quietly Winning the Innovation Game (Bookseller)
Could Apple be stealing a quiet march on Amazon? Bradley Metrock, executive producer of the iBooks Author Conference, believes that the future of digital books is here – but not where you might think.

Maximize the Rights Impact of a Book (Pub Perspectives)
“Rights and permission revenue is a low-cost, high-margin business,” says Kris Kliemann, who speaks on June 13 at our rights conference in New York City.

Boopsie Releases Case Study on DC Library Collaboration (DBW)
Boopsie today released a case study on its collaboration with the DC Public Library. The platform-as-a-service provider worked with the library to develop a customized app that provides access to the library’s services.

Starting an Email Newsletter (Jane Friedman)
More and more authors now talk about the importance of growing an email list of readers. But I also hear from many people who are totally frustrated with email, from growing the list size to increasing open rates.

The UK’s New BAME in Publishing Network (Pub Perspectives)
“There never really seemed to be a change,” says one player in a new network aiming to provide support for UK publishing workers of black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds.

Put Me In The Story Partners with National Geographic Kids (DBW)
Personalized book site Put Me In The Story announced today that it has partnered with National Geographic Kids to create two personalized educational books for children: National Geographic Little Kids Book of Dinosaurs and National Geographic Little Kids Book of Animals.

OpenStax and Knewton Partner on Adaptive Learning (DBW)
OpenStax and Knewton announced today that they have partnered to introduce peer-reviewed digital textbooks that are personalized for each student.

Coloring Your Way Through Grief (NY Times)
There is no disputing the adage that “into each life, a little rain must fall,” and the occasional need for a protective umbrella, but what do you do when the shower becomes a downpour that doesn’t seem to quit?

Using Video Well (Seth Godin)
The web was built on words. And words, of course, are available to anyone who can type. They’re cheap, easy to edit and incredibly powerful when used well. Today’s internet, though, is built on video. Much more difficult to create well, far more impactful when it works.


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