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2012 Publishing Predictions

1 January 2012

From Dear Author:

The following are my bold and not so bold predictions for publishing in 2012.  My boldest prediction will be that Amazon will buy Goodreads in 2012.  The most unlikely to happen prediction is Number 10.    What are your predictions for 2012?

1.  More authors will self publish than in 2011.  I suspect that nearly every author will try his or her hand at self publishing new and previously unpublished content, either in novella or full length book form.  After 2012, I suspect that there will be a retrenchment in self publishing and authors will look to digital first arms of traditional publishers or digital first only publishers as they realize that a) self publishing is difficult and b) they’d rather write than focus on the business aspect.  However, there will be a rise in the number of self publishing success stories and the quality of self publishing will increase as supply increases.  Along with this prediction, we will see the rise of publishing service companies and indie communities of publishing service providers akin to Penguin’s Book Country and HarperCollins’ Authonomy where editors, copy editors, graphic artists will be able to offer their services and be voted on by the community.

2.  In an effort to capture the attention of talented authors, the digital rate of books at the big six will rise to 30-35% off the net with higher figures being offered to backlist only titles in exchange for nominal to no advances.  And/or more tiered royalty structures will appear similar to the Avon Impulse and Samhain Retro Romance line.   The advances in 2012-2013 will be either very high or very low.  High advances cannot be sustained by sub $5.00 price points on books.

3.  Readers will gravitate to lower priced books, those priced 3.99 and under, so long as the book has a good hook and a decent cover.  These books will be substitutes for traditionally priced books.  In looking back at Bookscan, authors sold well if they had an established name.  Breaking out as a new author is more difficult than ever, particularly from traditional publishers.  I suspect the new books that readers will be talking about will come from the $3.99 and under price range and those books will be available to readers around the world.  That’s the discovery price range.

. . . .

9.  BN will continue to move toward offering non book content. BN will allow large store leases to expire and relocate into smaller locations. The larger locations will decrease the book content to half of the retail contents.  BN will begin to carry more toys, house ware goods (like cooking supplies to go with the cookbooks and craft supplies to go with the craft books), and other celebrity designed products ala Target’s pairing with Moschino and Jason Wu.  BN already has Vera Bradley paper goods.

Link to the rest at Dear Author

Passive Guy says the best thing that could happen to author/user experience at GoodReads would be for it to be acquired by Amazon then redesigned from the ground up by Amazon.

Bookstores, Ebooks, Pricing

12 Comments to “2012 Publishing Predictions”

  1. What would it benefit Amazon to own GoodReads, and what would it benefit GoodReads to be owned by Amazon?

    • I’m not sure, Patricia, other than GoodReads could use a tech upgrade which Amazon could provide.

  2. 9. BN will continue to move toward offering non book content.

    Which is to say: Print is dead, dead, dead. If there’s no place to buy it, where’s the point in producing it?

    I’m working toward a print copy of my first novel, and I’ll go ahead with that, but only because I’m a traditionalist.

    Patricia: PG didn’t say it would be good and/or useful to either Amazon or Goodreads. He said it would be good for authors and readers, and I’m in wholehearted agreement with that, but I don’t expect it to happen.


    • Yes, I know what PG said. I’m just trying to figure out whether there’s a benefit to the others in the equation.

  3. Doesn’t Amazon already own the similar Shelfari? From what I’ve seen, Goodreads is far better than Shelfari. If Amazon DOES acquire Goodreads, it will be so it can dump Shelfari. And I hope they don’t. I like the connection/friend capabilities on Goodreads that I don’t see at Amazon.

  4. While I have no idea if Amazon might want to acquire Goodreads, I disagree with PG that it would be good for Amazon to take it over or redesign it. Amazon is AWFUL at “communities.”

    What Amazon is brilliant at is lurking and observing — algorithms. The problem is that they like to control and manipulate only behind the scenes, and that’s fine for a retailer, where your customers are individuals.

    But it’s death for communities and groups. Either you’ve got to let it be the wild west (with a few clear cut ENFORCED rules — not secret rules you change ever few minutes) or you have to have real personal customer service (in the form of user/moderators). Amazon seems to always pick the worst of both worlds.

    Now, that doesn’t mean they can’t take it over and let the current folks continue to run it. I do know that as a user, I like what I’ve seen of Shelfari, but what I like are the “wiki” aspects. I have no idea what it’s like interacting.

  5. Part of me feels like Barnes and Noble is only living on borrowed time. I used to shop regularly at Barnes and Noble. I would spend hours there just for the atmosphere. You could smell the books when you walked in. My husband and I went into a Barnes and Noble the other day because we received some gift cards for Christmas (B&N gifts cards used to be our favorite gift, now I wish it was an Amazon gift card.) after not having been there since the previous Christmas. We left quickly without buying anything both because we couldn’t find what we were looking for and because the atmosphere had totally changed. It doesn’t feel like a bookstore anymore. The bookstore experience from Barnes and Noble is dead. Honestly, I think it’s only a matter of time for them.

  6. Back in the DotCom bubble days it seemed that the goal of many popular sites was to have an IPO. Now it seems the strategy is to be successful enough to be bought by one of the biggies.

    Over the years Amazon has bought an interest various companies because they something Amazon wanted. Aside from Shelfari, Amazon also owns a 40% interest in LibraryThing, so I’m not sure they need Goodreads as well.

  7. I’m not sure if Amazon taking over Goodreads is such a good idea. Goodreads is designed for the readers to classify, catalogue, and talk about books. It gives its members more freedom than Amazon would, I think, because Amazon is about making money. I don’t think the two things should cross. I think it would make it far too easy for Amazon to manipulate what happens to book reviews and ratings within Goodreads. That’s not a good thing if an organization has an ulterior motive, like making money. I am hoping this prediction doesn’t come true.

  8. Add me to the list of those who would rather amazon did NOT take over Goodreads. While its certainly true that Goodreads could benefit from some of amazon’s know how, and that if I owned Goodreads and amazon offered me gobs of cash for it I’d sell in a heartbeat, I think in the long run the benefits would be outweighed by the negatives. The negatives at present are rather vague and nebulous, but I am certain they are there.

    That’s not because of any anti amazon feeling either. I like and use both sites daily, and I like being able to make use of both separately. As an example, of a difference take writing reviews. If I write a full blown general audience review for amazon, I’ll generally post the same thing to Goodreads, but more often than not my Goodread reviews are casual, incomplete and directed mainly at friends. Things I would never consider posting on amazon. I also like the fact that I can use both of their rather different recommendation engines.

  9. Interesting how pretty much all the comments here are about Goodreads (which I find hard to use), and none commenting on this sad part of the prediction in the #1 spot:

    “Along with this prediction, we will see the rise of publishing service companies and indie communities of publishing service providers akin to Penguin’s Book Country and HarperCollins’ Authonomy where editors, copy editors, graphic artists will be able to offer their services and be voted on by the community.”


    Long live the vanity publishers. >.<

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