I greet each New Year with excitement and a bit of trepidation; it’s a fresh start and the possibilities are endless. I have a similar feeling of anticipation when I turn the first page of a new book and the story begins to unfold.
However, I’m the type of person who reads a few chapters of a mystery then has to peek at the ending to find out whodunit. Likewise, I want to know in advance what will take place this year, especially in the turbulent publishing field.
Since 2012 doesn’t have an ending that I can flip to and read, I searched the internet for predictions of what the future holds for this quickly changing industry. Here’s a sampling:
• Large publishers as well as media conglomerates will acquire small publishers. With rising e-book sales and declining print sales, traditional publishing firms will need to restructure.
• More literary agents will set up as publishers, taking on mid-list authors that were passed over by large publishers.
• Authors will become dissatisfied with the rights they sign away to publishers. Shorter and more flexible copyright terms will become more appealing.
• The standard e-book royalty from major publishing houses will climb with increased sales. Currently, authors usually receive a flat 25% of take with e-books regardless of how many are sold whereas print royalties pay a higher percentage of suggested retail price as more copies are sold.
• There will be continuing modifications to e-books and how they are read. They will begin to be in color and contain advertisements. For extra fees, some will allow you to purchase access to photos, videos, documents etc. Both traditional and e-books will become shorter. E-reader sales will decrease as more people choose to read their books on tablets like the iPad. Also, publishers will begin renting their books using a Netflix type subscription model.
• Backlash will continue against Amazon’s business practices that some people see as leading to more brick-and-mortar bookstore closings.
• Pre-pub reviews will eventually disappear. Without actual stores there isn’t the need for advance notice of books.
• The line will blur as to what is defined as an e-book and a book app. There will be more interactivity and digital goodies added to products like e-books.
• Publishing companies are already considering intellectual property and seeing how they can extend it over many media platforms. A “book” may become a movie, television series, video game etc. One example of this is how Random House launched Random House Worlds, a transmedia partnership with a gaming software company, in 2011. This trend will continue.
What can we take away from these predictions? I see three major themes for 2012. The first is that publishing companies, agents and writers will continue to jockey for position and struggle to find their place in this quickly changing environment.
The second is push back against policies that are already in place. Authors will push publishers for more equitable rights and royalties. Also, small and mid-size bookstores will push back against the megalith of Amazon and its business practices. Perhaps lawsuits will settle some of these issues.
Finally, technology will continue to be a major change agent for the publishing industry with additional innovations in e-books and merging of books with the entertainment industry.
While the unknown can be scary, the good news is that there is opportunity in change: opportunity to be creative, entrepreneurial and to find or make your own niche.
Wishing you much happiness and success in the New Year!
WWK Blogger Paula Gail Benson has two short stories running in Kings River Life Magazine this weekend, "Pelican Spring" and "The Mama Factor." Both are Mother's Day short stories. You can read them by going to: http://kingsriverlife.com/category/kings-river-reviewers/terrific-tales/
Linda Rodriguez is a finalist in two categories for the International Latino Book Awards (given out at BEA the end of May)--one for Every Last Secret and one for editing Woven Voices: 3 Generations of Puertorriquena Poets Look at Their American Lives (with Gloria Vando, Anika Paris, and Anita Velez-Mitchell). Congratulations, Linda!
The second SinC Guppy anthology, Fish Nets, has been released by Wildside Press. WWK authors, Gloria Alden, Warren Bull, Kara Cerise and E. B. Davis have short stories in this volume, which can be bought at Wildside Press, the usual retailers and will be available at the Malice Domestic Conference. Look for "the story behind the stories" on May 1 here!
Upcoming Salad Bowl Saturdays include authors Sasscer Hill on 5/18 and Carolyn Mulford on 5/25. If you are interested in being a guest blogger, send a message to Jim Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org.