From Anne Allen’s Blog:
By Laurie McLean, Founding Partner of Fuse Literary Agency
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Diversity Continues its Dominance
One of the unforeseen yet marvelous results of the democratization of publishing is the emergence of #ownvoices authors and the increasing desire for marginalized voices to be heard and read. Top Ten and Best Books of the Year lists are crammed with nearly unpronounceable author names and stories about people and places foreign to most readers.
Publishing is slowly becoming more reflective of our society as a whole and that is a very good thing. We Need Diverse Books. In 2017 only 9% of children’s books featured African or African-America characters. We obviously have a large upside to explore.
Editors and agents are hungry for well-written books written by non-Caucasian authors. And I think that trend will accelerate in 2019.
Resurgence of Indie Bookstores as Destinations
When Borders Books went bankrupt and consumers began buying more and more of their books (and everything) from Amazon, things looked bleak for publishing’s beloved retail channel.
But something wonderful has happened. Indie bookstores, whose demise has often been predicted but has not happened, began to flourish. They added complementary items to their stores. They added cafes or partnered with good ones. Some added the capability to print books instantly through technology.
But the heart of indie bookstores was what really saved them. They are filled with book lovers as staff who can help you find the exact book you want for yourself or as a gift. Bookstores, with their bestselling author visits, workshops and conferences, classes, parties and other events, have finally become the destination book lovers craved.
Through smart expense management, good solid marketing, and really knowing their customers, indie bookstores are thriving across America. Let’s hope this trend continues (and it will if you buy books there!)
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Audiobooks and Podcasts are More Popular Than Ever
The sales numbers continue to accelerate. More people are listening to podcasts and books in commute traffic, at home while relaxing, pretty much anywhere they have a mobile phone or mp3 audio system. And it doesn’t look like they’re going to put the brakes on anytime soon.
Because they’re so popular (and profitable) audiobooks have joined ebooks and print books as “must have” rights traditional publishers won’t do a deal without. Audible continues to innovate in this space with subscription-based services, original audio stories, and “all you can absorb” genre titles (romance for now) for a monthly fee.
Podcasts are getting more and more professional and interesting. If you haven’t listened to a podcast ever, there’s a new year’s resolution you’ll be happy you made.
Link to the rest at Anne Allen’s Blog
With due respect to the author of the OP, if Barnes & Noble goes under during 2019 (PG says that’s a 90% certainty), indie bookstores will experience increased sales from people who formerly shopped at BN and Amazon will experience increased book sales from the same source.
However, after this false economic dawn, indie bookstores will continue their long decline.
For one thing, with BN gone, big publishers will not order printed books in quantities that allow book printers to put their presses on cruise control whenever a big new book is released. Printing costs will increase. Some printers will get out of the book business to focus on more profitable printing markets.
Will traditional publishers eat the increased production costs of printed books to help keep sales up?
As PG has mentioned here before, in a former life, he had extensive business dealings with large European publishers (which own all but one of the big US trade publishers). Based upon that and some other experiences, PG predicts the European publishers will increase prices for printed books in order to maintain profitability. There is also a possibility that large publishers will squeeze advances and author royalties to help make ends meet.
If PG is correct, Big Publishing will bestow yet another growth stimulus upon Amazon.
Amazon can afford to cut book prices to maintain or increase sales volume and gross revenues much, much more easily than any indie bookstore can. Amazon will need to be careful about violating U.S. antitrust laws because of its increasing market power, but, in another of PG’s personal experiences, Amazon employs some very smart and savvy lawyers. So long as management listens to legal counsel, Amazon should be able to avoid any encounters with the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.
Is smart money going into the bookstore business any more? Is a big investment in a chain of bookstores going to generate a better return than buying and holding yet more Amazon stock or buying Facebook or Apple stock on the dip?