Thursday, May 17, 2012

Future of Publishing

I read a really interesting article in The Huffington Post. It was one person's (John B. Thompson) look into the future of publishing.

Here are his 7 trends in the future of publishing:

1. Amazon will continue to grow as a retail channel, while bricks-and-mortar booksellers (including the bookselling chains like Barnes and Noble) will find themselves squeezed further and further, leading to more bookstore closures and downsizing on the part of the chains.

2. … publishers with weak balance sheets and companies that are highly leveraged will face growing financial difficulties … leading to further consolidation in the hands of a small number of large corporations ….

3. … the decline of retail space in bookstores - the shop windows, front-of-store display tables and rows of bookshelves - and the decline of book review space in traditional print media … will make it harder for publishers to get their books noticed, … as publishers are forced to devote more and more of their marketing effort to the online environment ….

4. … income from e-books and other forms of electronic sale will become an increasingly significant part of publishers' revenues, though exactly how significant is, at this point in time, unknown - maybe 20 percent, maybe 30, maybe 50, maybe more, no one knows.

5.  … as more sales shift to digital and the sales of physical books decline, the large publishing houses will face growing downward pressure on their revenues ….

6. … the infrastructure supporting the traditional book supply chain - warehouses, sales forces, etc. - will come under increasing pressure, forcing publishers to scale back their operations ….

7. … small publishing operations and innovative start-ups will proliferate, as the costs and complexities associated with the book supply chain diminish ….

Tell us what you think. Then link over and read the full article.


  1. Pretty dismal...

    Guess we all need to get used to reading ebooks...


  2. ...I guess this is a positive sign for writers who have been trying for years to publish their work traditionally, and now have viable options to consider, but in a way its also sad. Just remembering those trips to the mall, always looking forward to visiting Waldenbooks, that new book smell, and being the first person to open a cover to see inside. That'll be missed...


  3. I do a lot of my reading on my iPad, and like reading that way. But it's not the same as a print book or going into a physical store filled with possibilities.

  4. Interesting, at the moment Amazon takes all my profit from my paperbacks as I'm an independent publisher, but I have hope of breaking even with my eBooks one day. :0)

  5. I wonder how secondhand bookstores will fare? Those are my favourite when it comes to actual, physical books.

  6. I can see most of it happening. I know from my royalty checks that eBooks make up a large portion of my sales. I wonder at what point the big publishers will start lowering the price of their eBooks? I'm sure I'm not the only one who won't pay over ten bucks for an eBook.

  7. I think the question isn't whether the big publishers will lower their ebook prices, but whether independent authors will be required to charge more for theirs.

  8. You pose an interesting question in the comment above, Helen. Will the indies have to charge more...and will the buying public go along? It's sad that readers will pay more for a cup of coffee than for a book. On the other hand, like Alex, I won't pay more than 9.99 for an ebook. I feel split in half between my author and reader personalities. :)

  9. I've completely given up on traditional print ... I've sold maybe two (yep, that's a '2' as in numero two-oh) print books in the past year ... digital, on the other hand, is showing signs of life ... weak, but there is a pulse, so that's where all my attention is now. The life of an indie author ain't easy, but the life of a traditional publisher must be pretty scary these days, too.

  10. I see ebooks in the future. I also see print books, but not as many of them and not as many authors.


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