Publishing in this century is a tech driven industry which makes it evolve rapidly, as we put a fresh start to everything in the beginning of the year let’s have a look at which way the publishing industry is swaying, which new trends will emerge and which will stand their ground in publishing industry.
There’s a visible and steady decline in interest in traditional publishing while self publishing is on rise. Indie publishers have control over creatives and their revenues, however successful publishing needs robust marketing and post production. Hybrid publishing provides a middle ground approach. Authors stay in charge of the activities and pay only for the services they take, and there are veterans and experts in the industry ready to lend a helping hand and good guidance. Hybrid publishing, already in vogue will establish itself as a norm in future, where only the required services are obtained while authors retain control over finances and creatives while earning bigger royalty.
Publishing is a crowded marketplace, millions of titles fight to stay afloat in the crowded sea of books. Successes in self publishing have resulted in millions of titles being released every year, even a great piece of work can quickly get buried if marketing is not concurrent with book release and beyond. Successful authors and publishers in 2019 will invest in marketing, with their ads in the right place and right medium, keeping the audience engaged through social media and ads in bookstores. An ongoing market campaign is a necessary investment, more so for lesser known authors.
Audiobooks Keep Rising
Revenues from audiobooks have been growing at striking rates of 30 and 40 percents in past years, it has kept digital revenues afloat for several publishers. With revenues in 2018 at $2.5 billion, audiobooks could be the glorious book of the future. Audible UK grew its revenue by 45% in 2017. Audiobooks are a great way of listening to stories, while you are exercising, lying on your bed with lights off, or travelling. Audiobooks are the only segment growing substantially when the reading habit is on decline. Improvements in devices, listening accessories and smart home speakers will help the rise of audiobooks.
Creating an audiobook is costlier than print or an ebook but it seems the investment pays off, in fact some popular authors are completely skipping the print route. 2019 will see further rise of audiobooks, and there are all those books which a half-hearted reader never found the time and motivation to read, which don’t yet have an audio version, there are millions of them.
Involving readers in the journey of story development foments a relationship between author and her readers. Encouraging fans to build a piece of story or give their version of conclusion, engaging with them through social media or podcasts, creating discussion and fan forums, this helps build author loyalty which goes beyond format while keeping readers waiting for the next announcement. We will also see rising collaborations among authors, and those between authors and bloggers, vloggers and influencers. They will support each other in ways like reviews and recommendations
Publishing is becoming an increasingly segmented industry, successful authors are often creating a niche – instead of trying to be everything to everyone – and dominating there. Readers of particular interests attach their loyalty to authors in their segments, this loyalty goes beyond format and has wide international reaches. In 2019 and hereafter authors who create their own niche, excel in cultivating community and loyalty will be the most successful.
AI and Blockchain
We had listed Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain as trends in book publishing industry in 2018, these are technologies which will impact many industries in future, they will remain trends for many years to come. At the current stage publishers can leverage AI in analytics and marketing, finding the right audience for a title, or a reader discovering what she needs. Online book recommendation in many of the retailer sites currently uses some form of AI which guesses recommendations based on past purchases and browsing.
Blockchain has the potential to unleash a new reality for the publishing ecosphere. Since transparency is blockchain’s key usp a potential application is in intellectual property (IP) ownership, with blockchain it is possible to trace and equip every IP with a digital ‘fingerprint’ that always changes and evolves as the licensing and ownership status of the IP changes. Blockchain can enable efficient micro payments that go straight to authors, optimized distribution and better copyright protection.
Technology continually alters industries and trends keep emerging, publishing is one industry which has been nearly consistent for centuries vis-a-vis technology, but it can’t remain same forever. Machine dominated future will change human behaviors, there will be various sources of knowledge and entertainment and the book needs to evolve to catch up. What we are seeing today is just a glimpse at the future, we need to stay ahead of the trends and be a pioneer in conservation of an industry which has been the bedrock of human civilization and social progress for centuries.