A Year in Review (Examining my 2013 Publishing Predictions)
At the beginning of every year, I make publishing predictions and next Sunday I’ll post by 2014 predictions but I thought it would be fun to take a look at how I did at the beginning of 2013. (Spoiler: Okay, but not great)
1) Nook Media will be fully divested from Barnes & Noble. (FALSE) I had no idea that nook was selling so poorly at the beginning of the year. The Nook Simple Touch and Nook Tablets ended up losing B&N Media a ton of money and while there is slow expansion internationally, it’s really through Microsoft’s efforts rather than anything B&N is doing.
2) B&N’s retail space devoted to books will continue to shrink. This one is probably true although I don’t have any firm numbers. More space seems to be given over to toys, games, and Nook devices.
3) Goodreads will be purchased by Random House & Penguin. (FALSE but kind of TRUE). I had predicted that Goodreads would be bought by Amazon in 2012 but it didn’t happen but I still saw Goodreads as a prime acquisition target and sure enough in March of 2013, Amazon announced it had purchased Goodreads.
4) Subscriptions will be offered by Random House & Penguin. (FALSE) But subscriptions were a big thing in 2013. Oyster, Scribd and a new service called eReatah now called Entitle.
5) More mergers. (FALSE) I still think there are more mergers to come. Simon & Schuster has spent crazy acquisition money in 2013 on a lot of books that haven’t panned out so it might be a good target for a buy out.
6) Ebook growth will be flat. (TRUE) Most reports say that ebook growth is flat which means it is growing but not at the same pace as it was before. Some people even believe that ebooks will only comprise about 30% of the market. I think that’s wishful thinking but according to Bowker (which seriously underestimates self published numbers), ebook growth is stagnant. Amazon reported that 150 of its KDP authors sold 100,000 copies or more. How many print authors sold that many units?
7) More self published “imprints”. I’m not sure how I’d quantify my success on this one. Box sets sold by coops were everywhere in 2013 and at the bargain price of 99c, who could resist? Some self published authors like Gemma Halliday have used their own name as a “publishing house.”
8) Romance covers will become less focused on the man titty. (TRUE) Absolutely yes. While the shaved manchest is still popular, Amazon has been increasingly intolerant of any kind of nudity on covers. Authors like Kit Rocha redid their covers to be more retailer friendly and mainstream publishers went with objects for their big books rather than people.
9) There will be more author events. (TRUE) There were indie author events seemingly in every city and every month. Events like Book Bash in Orlando and Naughty Mafia in Las Vegas were huge author/reader get togethers. There are more planned next year and not just in the US but in the UK and Australia. My sources say that authors most often lose money by attending these events but view them as important promotional opportunities.
10) Amazon predictions. (TRUE/FALSE) Kindle prices did get low this year and the Nook Simple Touch sold for $39 at one point but Amazon did not offer free Kindles with a Prime membership. It did introduce Kindle Countdown as a new way for indies publishing exclusively through Amazon to promote their books.
DRM stuck around and short fiction is a big deal.
My last prediction was that 40% of the NYTimes books would be self published. I would say that the true number is around 10%.
Overall, I think I did pretty well with my predictions which means for 2014, I really have to stretch and imagine some ridiculous things. If you made predictions about publishing in 2013, how did you do?