Wednesday, January 02, 2013

MediaWeek (V5, N52): 2013 Predictions

A round-up of some of the prognostications about publishing in 2013.

From Forbes (Jeremy Greenfield) Three predictions for Book Publishing:
This year, for the second time in a row, I spoke with about a dozen ebook and book-publishing experts to get their predictions on what would happen in book publishing in 2013. I compiled the information and published this: Ten Bold Predictions for Ebooks and Digital Publishing in 2013.

The thing is, while I think these are solid predictions and will probably be more accurate than our predictions from last year (which have turned out to be really accurate — but more on that in the new year), it doesn’t really scratch my personal itch for making predictions. These, of course, are the predictions of experts that I merely filtered and compiled. When do I get to make predictions?
From The Literary Platform:
In a year of dramatic digital publishing developments, we’ve asked publishers, writers, agents, developers, academics, literary organisations and others working in digital publishing here and in the US, to give us their thoughts on the biggest stories and themes to come out of 2012 – and to tell us what they think is on the horizon for 2013.

Contributions from Michael Bhaskar (Profile), Thad McIlroy (Future of Publishing), Richard Nash (Small Demons), Bill Thompson, Peter Collingridge (Safari Books Online), Tim Wright (writer/producer), James Long (Pan Macmillan), Jeff Norton (Awesome), Joanna Ellis (The Literary Platform), Chris Meade (if:book), Helen Bagnall (Salon-London), Dean Johnson (Brandwidth), Patrick Uden (Heuristic), Joshua Cohen (Ganxy), Julian McCrea (Portal Entertainment), Neal Hoskins (Winged Chariot), Stephen Page (Faber & Faber), Jim Thompson (Edinburgh City Libraries)
From Digital Book World 10 Bold Predictions for 2013:
Another exciting year for the publishing industry is in the books, so to speak. The ebook and digital publishing landscape changed drastically yet again. In 2012, Amazon and other retailers gained control over ebook pricing at three major publishers, ebook revenue growth hit an inflection point, and a parade of non-book-publishing companies entered the ebook business.

Nobody saw it coming. Well, almost nobody. A team of publishing experts predicted in late 2011 some of the astounding developments we saw in 2012 for Digital Book World. See their original predictions here.

Seeing as though 2012 is just about over, we’ve gathered more publishing experts to predict what extraordinary events are to come in book publishing in 2013.

— For more insights into the ebook and digital publishing future, attend Digital Book World Conference + Expo in New York, Jan. 15 – 18 —
And from GigaOM their 'Roadmap 2012':
Watch a series of interviews with the leading creators building the technologies, platforms and visually stunning experiences for the connected consumer.

Speakers include:
Yves Behar, CEO, fuseproject and CCO, Jawbone
Katie Beauchamp, Co-Founder, Birchbox
Perry Chen, CEO, Kickstarter
David Karp, Founder and CEO, Tumblr
Ben Silbermann, Co-Founder and CEO, Pinterest
Kevin Systrom, Founder and CEO, Instagram
George Blankenship, VP, Worldwide Sales and Ownership Experience, Tesla Motors
John Maeda, President, Rhode Island School of Design
BusinessNews Daily: 25 Trends, Tips and Predictions 2013: Not specifically publishing/media but some interesting thoughts in a round-up from a variety of places (BN):
Brands will become publishers — "In 2013, brands will take a (Web) page from publishers' books and start creating 'content' in earnest. Content will help brands get 'found' (via search) and improves brands credibility. How-to guides, quick tips and additional product usage ideas — in the form of blog posts, newsletters and SMS — are starting points for great content. Content also allows brands to start and continue conversations with their target markets — giving them reasons to stay in touch — and opportunities to stay top of mind. Finally, content is a great way to tap into social media marketing: Great content gets shared much more often than static Web pages — for example, a personal quiz gets shared nine times more than a static Web page and customers who engage with brands are more likely to recommend a brand." Seth Lieberman, SnapApp
Finally Mark Coker goes expansive on his thoughts for 2013 (HuffPo):
It's that time of year when book people polish their crystal balls and make predictions for the year ahead. I bring you, my dear reader, my epic predictions for 2013.

I say "epic" tongue in cheek, because I went a bit overboard this year. When I sat down to write this, I was thinking of maybe eight or ten predictions with short narratives. I'm bringing you 21 predictions with expansive narratives. Skim the headlines then read what grabs you.

All of us in this business, from writers to readers and everyone in between, have a vision for where things are going.

Vision is an odd thing. To see something which doesn't exist either makes one a prophetic seer or a delusional nut. At the wonderful Pikes Peak conference in Colorado Springs earlier this year, I had the pleasure to meet Donald Maass, an author and top tier literary agent for whom I have much respect. I attended a surprising session in which he trashed self-publishing. The mood in the room changed from optimism to dejection when he spoke words to the effect of, "If you don't care to reach readers, then by all means self-publish." I was floored by his comment, because it's not what I expected from someone of his smarts. I've met with dozens of literary agents over the last 18 months, and 95% of them see things differently than Donald Maass.

When I saw him later that night at a dinner, I told him I thought he was underestimating the transformative impact self-published authors will have on book publishing. He looked me in the eye, smiled, and said, "and I think you're delusional." Touché! I think it was one of my favorite moments of the year. One of us will come to our senses eventually.

We are all on a journey. None of us know with absolute certainty what happens next. All we can do is position ourselves for the future we prophetically or delusionally imagine. History will judge us all. Those who position correctly will be rewarded. Those who aren't prepared will face the harsh realities of the future marketplace.

Every one of us holds the power to change the course of history by taking actions today that enable the future we desire. Our actions mirror our aspirations, which means the future of publishing will be determined by our collective and sometimes competing aspirations. Readers are our gatekeepers.
Also from PaidContnet (GigaOm):
1. Remaining book publishers will settle with the DOJ in the ebook pricing lawsuit:. HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster and Hachette have already settled, while Macmillan and Penguin are still fighting. To be clear, I don’t believe publishers and Apple conspired to set ebook prices, as the DOJ alleges. But with Random House and Penguin preparing to merge, a drawn-out trial seems like a drag on moving forward, and Macmillan (smallest of the big-six publishers) doesn’t have the funds for a long trial. I’m not going to try to predict what Apple will do — maybe they’ll keep fighting. (I hope I’m wrong about the settlement because reporting on the trial from court would be extremely interesting.)

2. A well-known author will turn down a seven-figure deal to self-publish: I think 2013 is the year we will see a famous author turn down their long-time traditional publisher and self-publish their new book — even just as an experiment. This author would likely be someone with a very large fan base and social media presence and the ability to reach readers directly across platforms. I don’t believe this person would sign an exclusive deal with Amazon; rather, I see him or her selling directly through a website and other retailers. Authors who would be capable of doing this include Neil Gaiman, Jennifer Weiner, Jodi Picoult and Lee Child.

3. Barnes & Noble will drastically cut back its Nook product line: In 2012, Nook released a new glow-in-the-dark e-reader and two new Nook HD tablets, which means that B&N now sells two e-readers, one super-low-end e-reader/tablet, two low-end tablets, and two HD tablets. Why? Who is buying them? B&N’s share of the ebook market has been stuck around 25 percent for months, and there are plenty of other low-priced tablets on the market. Microsoft has invested $300 million in the Nook business, but that doesn’t have to mean more Nook devices: instead, it should mean developing better Windows 8 reading apps and trying to spread Nook business internationally with the devices it already has.
From Inside Higher Ed:

Around this time of year, we’re inundated with lists of the most significant happenings of the current year (e.g., best books, celebrities we’ve lost) and predictions for the future, and the world of higher education is no exception.

We recently came across an interesting article in Forbes, “5 Ways Technology Will Impact Higher Ed in 2013,” by Chris Proulx, President and CEO of eCornell.
Mike Shatzkin:

Although “digital change in publishing” has a year that lags the calendar year and this year won’t “end” until we have a read on how post-Christmas ebook sales were affected by the new devices consumers got for Christmas, the dropping of the ball in Times Square is the signal most of us respond to when timing our look ahead.

The signals about what to expect when the “digital year” ends are mixed, but not wildly encouraging. There are anecdotal reports of strong sales by US indies selling Kobo devices and Amazon has bragged about their Kindle Fire sales. On the other hand, B&N does not seem to be meeting its targets on the digital side and we’re learning that we don’t get the ebook sales surge from replacement devices that we get when a consumer first switches over from print. Most of the devices being sold now are replacements. And we’re also seeing tablet sales surging past ereaders. Prior analysis has told us that people spend more time reading books on ereaders than they do on tablets.

But quite aside from precisely where Digital Year 2012 ended up, there are five trends I think will be increasingly noticeable and important in trade publishing that are worth keeping an eye on in 2013.

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