A LOOK AHEAD
Although this article talks about the big 5 publishers, it is still great news for the self-publishing author. If an author gets their book out there, they have a great chance of competing with the big guys? Which is exactly what we have told authors many times, eBooks are a must nowadays, not an add on.
“The large will become larger in 2015, as global competition drives more mergers and acquisitions in the publishing game. “Publishers are realizing that publishing physical books is, in a sense, only one aspect of their business,” Richard Bellis, senior editor at Digital Book World says. “As digital content becomes more the thing that publishers do, that also means a robust digital distribution network and rights and licensing. That all requires, in many ways, just being bigger.”
One author and book industry critic is hoping that a business makes it easier to find new authors-or any authors-in a virtual bookstore with unlimited titles. “I think discoverability is the big nut that everyone needs to crack,” says Dana Weinberg, author, sociologist, and full professor at Queens College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY). “I think it’s just getting harder and harder for authors to be found.”
Weinberg believes Apple could be that business, if it hasn’t lost too much ground after the ebook price-fixing lawsuit. “If Apple can make a run for it, I think we’ll see some really interesting changes in the market,” she says, noting Apple’s 2014 purchase of BookLamp, which makes it easier for readers to find books by looking at other book titles. With the technology from BookLamp, Apple “might be able to make really tailored recommendations; that would be a real advantage” over Amazon, according to Weinberg.
Self-publishing ebooks has become increasingly easier in the last few years, and Bellis thinks that trend will continue in 2015. Self-publishers are “becoming more accustomed to essentially becoming small biz owners and, in some cases, not so small biz owners,” he says. According to Bellis, a maturing market means that it’s easier than ever to “professionally produce and market self-published ebooks.”
Gazing a bit further into the future, Nash wonders if the future of digital publishing has to do with the “quantified self,” wherein readers track what they’ve read and get rewarded for it. Nash singled out Degreed-a company that is “Jailbreaking the Degree”-which allows users to get credit for reading The New Yorker articles or listening to TED talks, for example, making lifelong education a game. “I feel like the killer app around digital reading has something to do with allowing users to track their own reading as if it were a Fitbit,” he says. “You could call it Litbit.”
Bellis says there could be another Amazon versus Big 5 publisher dispute in 2015. Who knows whether Macmillan and the remaining Big 5 publishers will be able to adopt agency pricing with Amazon. “Penguin Random House is the world’s biggest trade publisher, and they’re on deck,” he says. “It will be interesting to see what they do. What’s interesting about this industry is that you don’t know what’s going to happen next.”