Friday, January 01, 2010

Mike Shatzkin offers predictions for 2010 in the book world

I'm not smart enough to know if any of these predictions for the world of books in 2010 are likely or not but Mike Shatzkin at the Idea Logical blog sure offers some interesting thoughts. To read the entire piece (and it's well worth reading) go here:

5. Big publishers start to match their offerings to their marketing capability. The rearrangement of the big publishers’ IP portfolios will begin in 2010 as they emphasize what they do best: deliver narrative-writing and children’s books to multiple outlets in large quantities. This reshuffle will only begin to be evident in 2010, but we will see small slices of big publishers’ lists sold or licensed to specialist small publishers and we will see the beginnings of genre consolidation among the big publishers, with some publishers beefing up and others exiting romance, science fiction, and mystery. In 2010 the latter will take the form of list growth or cutbacks, not the sale of whole lists to a competitor. We’ll see that in 2011 or 2012.

7. Circumstances will outrun the ebook “windowing” strategy. By the end of 2010, the experiment with “windowing” ebooks — withholding them from release when the hardcover comes out — will end as increasing evidence persuades publishers and agents that ebook sales (at any price) spur print book sales (at any price), not cannibalize or discourage them and, furthermore, that this withholding effort does nothing to restrain Amazon’s proclivity for discounting. (Amazon can’t quit with so many competitors joining them; see number 11 below.) There will also be steadily increasing evidence that most readers distinctly prefer either digital books or paper for their narrative reading and the real minority is the people who routinely read both.

9. Authors with clout start looking more like publishers. Some authors who have developed huge followings on Facebook and Twitter and their own blogs start to demonstrate that they can have a serious positive impact on the books of other authors they favor. This leads to a variation on the time-honored practice of getting blurbs and jacket quote-lines as savvy editors and agents suss who the new author-megaphones are and line up to get their support. The prediction for 2010 is that this will start to become obvious. The likely prediction for 2011 will be that this leads to authors becoming quasi-publishers or, perhaps, getting “imprint” deals from established houses to select and promote other people’s writing.

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