Monday, January 4, 2010

Future of Publishing 2020

Tis the season of year-ahead prognostications from those of us crazy enough to believe our crystal balls speak to us.

I decided to partake in the annual holiday rite, but rather than look ahead one year, I'm looking ahead one decade. Why be wrong when I can be really wrong, right?

The idea for my ten year sagey oracleness came at the kind request of our friend Jeff Rivera over at GalleyCat.

GalleyCat is doing a series of "future of publishing" stories, gathering projections from different folks in publishing. For their first installment, they interviewed Seth Godin, and for their second they interviewed agent Richard Curtis (<-- click their names to read their insightful interviews!). They're both smart cookies.

For their third installment, published today, they ask me for my ten projections for 2020. Since we're working to build Smashwords for that future, it's something I think about quite often. And like all future projections, mine are not at all impartial so take them with a grain of salt and don't bet your business on them (you can leave that to me). Here are the first five:
1. 95% of all reading will be on screens
2. There will be fewer bookstores, though books will be more plentiful than ever before.
3. The entire book supply chain from author to customer will become atomized into its component bits. Value-adders will continue to find great success in publishing. Dinosaurs, leeches and parasites will be flushed out of new publishing ecosystems faster than ever before.
4. Most authors will be indie authors
5. Successful publishing companies will be those that put the most total profit in the author's pocket. No, not the highest per-unit royalty percentage.
For the next five predictions, gallivant on over to GalleyCat for their complete story, Smashwords: Book Publishing 10 Years in the Future

Thanks also to Jeff for not publishing my tongue-in-cheek prediction #11 which will most likely be proven completely delusional, though a nice dream nevertheless.

If you know of any other interesting publishing projections for the year ahead (even if you blogged them yourself), feel free to share a hyperlink in the comments section below. Join in the punditry.

Image source: Wikipedia

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great post, Mark. I only disagree with one point-- I'm not sure if most authors will be indie.

I think that someone or something is going to step in and control the whole show-- maybe Amazon?-- they are doing a good job trying to corner the market on everything so far.