2012 Predictions

I came across an interesting article at Digital Book World about their predictions for the publishing industry during 2012.  I don’t agree with all ten of them, but there’s a lot here worth mulling.

1 — We will see more self-published bestsellers next year with an exponential rise in the number of million-selling authors.

I agree.  More power to ’em.

2 — Large publishing companies will go through major restructuring, creating new positions and redundancies of all shapes and sizes.

Meaning duck and cover as more pinkslips rain from the sky.  Today’s aquisitions director is tomorrow’s freelance editor.

3 — Amazon will come out with a larger tablet with an 8.9-inch screen and it will be priced at $299 or lower.

I’ve heard these same rumors.  I hope they’re true, because this is the only reason I didn’t buy myself a Kindle Fire for Christmas.

4 — Apple will come out with a smaller iPad at a reduced price.

I don’t like Apple products, so this one doesn’t matter much to me.

5 — Sony will get a second life in the e-reader game when Pottermore lands in the spring.

I don’t think this will prove out.  Sony’s dug itself too large a hole and pinning all its hopes on J.K. Rowling seems like a desperate gamble.  This move will only encourage piracy.  Besides, most Harry Potter fans already own the print books.

6 — Literary agencies will engage in a campaign to communicate the value of their services in the book industry.

They’ll have to, or else writers will realize they’re better off having an entertainment attorney do their legal paperwork.

7 — Authors will become disenchanted with the rights they sign away to publishers.  Shorter and more flexible copyright terms will become more attractive to authors.

Note how this doesn’t predict that publishers will offer shorter and more flexible terms, just that authors would prefer them.  I think we’re going to see a new era of smaller (if not nonexistent) advances and far more terms and conditions that benefit the Big Six.

8 — The standard e-book royalty from a major publishing house will rise next year and will escalate with increased sales.

I don’t know about that second part, but I do see royalties improving on a sliding scale.  Keep in mind a fifty/fifty split on net profits equals approximately thirty-five percent of the retail price.  Why would I settle for that when I can make sixty-five to seventy percent royalties off retail on my own?  At best you’re making half as much in the long run.

9 — Standards of what an app and what a book is will change, and apps will eventually be sold in the iBookstore.

I agree the line will blur between book and app.  Perhaps one day I’ll sell my own books in the iBookstore.  The only reason I don’t already is because Apple makes the process unnecessarily complicated in comparison to other retailers. 

10 — More publishing companies will form in-house transmedia groups.

Great, more corrupting Hollywood influence.  Publishers will demand more rights for less money and for longer periods.  Eventually they’ll expect inherent screen rights for any manuscript they purchase, become your copyright co-owner, or retain rights to your individual characters and the fictional worlds you create.  Better have your literary agent entertainment attorney go over the contracts with a fine-tooth comb.

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