Mark Coker continues to be one of the smartest and most insightful thinkers on ebooks, what they mean and where they are going. His predictions post for 2014 is interesting but this point in particular strikes me as very relevant:
Ebook growth slows – Here comes the hangover. After a decade of exponential growth in ebooks with indies partying like it was 1999, growth is slowing. We all knew this day was coming. Year over year growth of 100% to 300% a year could not continue forever. The hazard of fast-growing market is that it can mask flaws in business models. It can cause players to misinterpret their success, and the assumptions upon which they credit their success. It can cause successful players to draw false correlations between cause and effect. Who are these players? I’m talking about authors, publishers, retailers, distributors and service providers – all of us. It’s easy to succeed when everything’s growing. It’s when things slow-down that your mettle is tested. The market is slowing. A normal cyclical shakeout is coming. Rather than fear the shakeout, embrace it. Let it spur you on to become a better, more competitive player in 2014. Players who survive shakeouts usually come out stronger the other end.
via Smashwords: 2014 Book Publishing Industry Predictions – Price Drops to Impact Competitive Dynamics.
Rakes of predictions about the publishing trade this week
First, I expect more change driven by M & A activity in 2008. Second, as more companies bound by traditional publishing models migrate online and join those already there, the application of technology in our industry will accelerate. Third, we will see a ‘squeezing’ of the value-chain (from author to publisher to consumer) driven by publishers looking to build community models around content and authors.
# Kate Swann will leave WH Smith to head up HMV Group.
# The eventual Man Booker winner will be a huge commercial success, outselling the Richard & Judy titles for the year.
# Haruki Murakami will win the Nobel Prize for Literature.
# An online retailer will offer weekly free book downloads for customers.
# But Amazon Kindle will make no real difference to sales of e-books.
Web 2.0 integration
User-generated content, such as blogs, wikis, and forums (not to mention YouTube), is on a collision course with “professional” content, such as user assistance and documentation created by technical writers. The complaints about the amateurs butting in where they don’t belong must be painfully familiar to those who remember the rise of desktop publishing software and the destruction of the vast majority of the professional typesetting business.
My prediction for what it’s worth is:
1) that we will all (Publishers that is) be doing much more of this:
Hoping to figure it out soon