People, companies, and countries that don’t reinvent themselves every three-to-five years will get left behind.
–John Chambers, Chairman and CEO, Cisco Systems
The future of publishing is self-publishing.
–Editorial consultant Alan Rinzler
The one safe prediction you can make about the future is that you can’t predict it. Anyway, here goes: the three keys to the future of publishing in the next five years are mobile devices, social media, and self-publishing. Here are eight guesses about the industry’s future:
- Successful writers will be CEOs of one-person, multimedia, multinational conglomerates who crowdsource their needs with a community of collaborators and rely on word of mouse to make their work sell.
- Agents will be Executive VPs of their clients’ conglomerates, mentors who help them maximize their visibility and income.
- The Six Sisters who dominate trade publishing will be fewer in number and smaller in size, and will survive by empowering their writers and devoting themselves to what they do best.
- Because updating ebooks and integrating all media into them will be easy, enhanced ebooks will be huge, and readers will judge writers by their ability to tell a story so compellingly that awareness of medium and technique disappear.
- Fans will communicate with authors at teleconferences and receive personalized autographs they can print.
- Barnes & Noble will be gone, and a growing network independent booksellers around the country will thrive for four reasons:
–They will be community-supported nonprofits like other cultural institutions, such as libraries, museums, symphony orchestras, and dance and opera companies.
–They will always have the book you want because they will have EBMs, Espresso Book Machines that store books and print a book in a minute.
–They will be even more needed as community centers (and a respite from staring at a screen) that respond to their community’s needs and tastes, provide events and classes, and serve as a meeting place for reading groups and writer’s organizations.
–Readers will understand that a quarter of every dollar spent in a chain store leaves the community while indies spend that income in the community.
- Readers will again understand that when it comes to media, it’s not either/or, it’s both and. Books will continue to do what only they can. Concern about design will make books more beautiful than ever. In a high-tech, visual culture, the physical and literary pleasures they provide will be more needed and appreciated than ever.
- More than eight billion web-enabled devices will help unite the global village, and the potential they will create for communication, creativity, collaboration, and commerce will open endless possibilities for writers and publishers.
What did I leave out or get wrong?
The goal of the blog is to help you and me understand writing and publishing. Rants, comments, questions, and answers most appreciated.
The 4th San Francisco Writing for Change Conference / Writing to Make a Difference
September 15, 2012 / Unitarian Universalist Church / Geary & Franklin, San Francisco
The 10th San Francisco Writers Conference / A Celebration of Craft, Commerce & Community / February 14-17, 2013 / www.sfwriters.org / email@example.com / http://sfwriters.org/blog /@SFWC/ www.facebook.com/SanFranciscoWritersConference
415-673-0939 / 1029 Jones Street / San Francisco, 9410