What Is the Real Future of Publishing?

What Is the Real Future of Publishing?My seven-year-old is a voracious reader. Long gone are the days when I had to read something to him or hope that he missed the inappropriate language spray-painted on a street sign. Now I’m in the process of teaching him that not everything he reads is true or completely accurate. And the same can be said about much of what is written on the future of publishing.

Everything being said about the state of publishing is (relatively) true—but not everything that is true is being said, as there are data points and trends being left out of the broad discussion. I’d agree that ebook growth has slowed down for many of the major houses, and that it now accounts for 20-25 percent of their revenues. I’d also agree that the future of publishing is a world in which both print and digital live together, benefitting from each another and helping to drive overall sales.

If we are painting the landscape with a broad brush, there are some significant shifts that have gotten mysteriously little attention. A few worth noting include:

Much more.

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DBW Conference Publishes New White Paper on ‘Digital Transformation’ (DBW)
A newly published white paper from the Digital Book World Conference + Expo offers insights about some of the most important book business and digital content topics—from the book industry’s ongoing digital transformation, to “Big Tech” and publishing, to personalized content, new publishing revenue streams, audiobooks, copyright issues in a digital age, and how to capitalize on key opportunities, among other topics. The white paper, “Viewpoints on Publishing’s Digital Transformation,” is free and available to download now.

Here’s to Publishing: Perspectives with Context (Pub Perspectives)
In his first post as editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives, Porter Anderson writes: “Ever fond of the grape, I was drawn to Catavino founder Ryan Opaz’s recent piece at Medium, ‘On Wine. A Tragedy.’ The key message for winemakers, Opaz opines, is that ‘we in the industry are worried that the consumer is stressing over finding the right wine.’ There is, Opaz writes, no ‘right’ wine. Consumers need to feel empowered to drink whichever wines they like. And then Opaz writes: ‘Today wine consumers do not need help finding new wines. Wineries need help finding new consumers.’ Look at the parallels in what Opaz is describing about the wine industry and world publishing today.”

Spotlight7 Top Ebook Price Promotion Stats You Need to Know (BookBub)
Authors and book marketers are always looking for ways to increase discoverability and revenue of their backlist books, and price promotions are a known way to reach a high volume of readers. But how can you run the most effective promotion possible? Using data to determine what kind of price promotion you should run can help you achieve your goals more effectively, whether it’s to reach more readers or increase revenue for a particular book.

8 Ways Publishers Can Engage Their Super Fans Through Email (Book Business)
Pinterest, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram may be the marketing platforms that earn all the buzz, but here’s a fact: your email list is a more valuable direct-to-consumer marketing tool than all of those social media sites put together. The power of your community exists in your list—those people who have actively signed up to read what you write or listen to what you have to say.

Shepherding a Self-Published Picture Book to Success (Jane Friedman)
Given the high costs of producing picture books and the challenges of distributing them, self-publishing hasn’t yet taken off for picture book writers as it has for writers of other categories. But this past fall, two self-published picture books made headlines for their transition from independent to traditional publishing.

Share a Kindle Instant Preview (Chris McMullen)
Better than a link. Better than a cover. Visitors can now start reading your book immediately, without having to leave your website. It’s the new Kindle Instant Preview.

Report Finds $1 Billion Tax Gap Caused by Amazon (PW)
On Monday morning, the second full day of Winter Institute 11, the American Booksellers Association and Civic Economics, an organization headquartered in Chicago that studies the state of retailing in the U.S., released a report on the devastating impact of online retailing on American communities in terms of lost state and local tax revenues.

How Facebook Squashed Twitter (Stratechery)
The idea of a “smartphone” that could connect to the Internet and run applications was around long before 2007; Apple, though, was the first to put the entire package together, including the device, user interface and interaction paradigm, which is why the first iPhone is considered the start date of the mobile revolution. Similarly, the idea of a feed of information developed over many years; blogs were based on the format, and RSS allowed users to compile multiple news sources into a single stream. However, the introduction of Twitter in March of 2006, along with the Facebook News Feed, in September 2006, were the two seminal products that brought all the essential components together: users, content, and a place to read. I would argue it’s a date that is just as significant.


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