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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Trending in publishing

Mergers and eBooks

In a most interesting blog post on Digital Book World, literary agent Richard Curtis lists predictions of what is to come in the publishing world, with intriguing pros and cons.

  • Trend: The large publishing houses will continue to reduce overhead as profits shrink in the years ahead.
  • Counter trend: Publishers will be looking for mergers and acquisitions to compensate for those shrinking profits. The Big Six could be the Big Three within five years.
  • Trend: These companies will continue to focus more resources on fewer titles…Title count at the largest houses could drop by as much as fifty percent over the next five years.
  • Counter trend: Self-publishing will grow exponentially.
  • Trend: In terms of advances, the amounts paid for brand-names will continue to increase, with seven-figure or eight-figure acquisitions commonplace among authors with established track records.
  • Counter trend: The six-figure advance…will become a rare species within the decade.
  • Trend: Within five years, half of all reading will be done electronically.
  • Counter trend: There will be a resurgence of appreciation for well-designed physical books, as keepsakes, gifts, etc
  • Trend: As more consumers become e-book readers, demand will increase for the availability of e-books simultaneously with p-books.
  • Counter trend: Within five years, it will be common practice to give every p-book purchaser a “free” e-book version of that book at time of purchase.
  • Trend: Fewer and fewer books will be sold to publishers at “auction,” and that practice will disappear completely within five years.
  • Counter trend: Instead of auctions for the highest advance, there will be auctions in which a basic advance is established by the agent, with the auction winner being the publisher who bids the most in marketing committed to the book.
  • Trend: The agent of the future will become more of a business manager who handles every aspect of an author’s career.
  • Counter trend: Publishers will create free-standing departments whose services can be purchased a la carte by authors.
  • Trend: As the Boomers lose their eyesight and their children become teenagers, demographics will favor books for young adults over books for adults.
  • Counter trend: While auctions and advances diminish for adult titles, they could heat up for young adult material as publishers bet big in search of the next Stephenie Meyer.

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