Technology is reshaping how books are produced, marketed and consumed. It’s remaking the publishing industry and changing how we consume information. Self-publishing businesses must adapt to the changes and anticipate future developments to succeed. It’s the only way to manage and thrive in this competitive and ever-changing environment.
Here are some of the trends likely to affect the self-publishing space in 2019 and how to stay ahead of the curve.
1. Collaborative and Hybrid Publishing
Authors and self-publishing businesses are increasingly enlisting the help and expertise of professionals to improve production quality and marketing efforts. Technology isn’t just altering how we consume content; it’s changing our expectations on quality.
Self-publishers need to adopt a more collaborative or hybrid publishing process. It entails paying for needed expert services while retaining the creative oversight.
2. Continuous Marketing
In the recent past, a book could climb to the bestseller list with minimal initial marketing. Not any more. Organic growth is currently a challenge for most self-publishing businesses hence the need for a continuous and multifaceted marketing strategy.
Authors and self-publishers must embrace new marketing channels to remain visible in the midst of a barrage of new releases. Savvy book publishers like Ryan Nivakoff are using blogging to reach a wider audience. Other potential marketing channels include social media, book review platforms etc.
3. The Shrinking Book
Our attention spans keep on shrinking. Readers are being lured away from reading by gaming apps, social media or even streaming services like Netflix. The short attention span means that the reader wants to get to the last page faster and focus on something else.
The last few years have seen the publishing of shorter books – roughly 200 pages or about 50,000 words. Larger books can be split into a series to accommodate this changing reality.
4. The Rise of the Audiobook
More people are gravitating towards audiobooks, perhaps during their commute or downtime. Audiobook consumption has seen steady growth rising from 14% in 2016 to over 18%. Publishers like HarperCollins reported an increase in revenue from digital audio which accounted for 25% of digital income in the first quarter of 2018.
Audiobooks may prove an exception to the decline in leisure reading and a counter to the shrinking attention span. Self-publishing businesses need to plug into this growing segment to boost both readership and revenues.
5. Print Still Trumps Digital
According to one survey, 67% of American adults read a print book in 2016 compared to just 28% who had read an ebook. Physical books seem to trump digital copies making it a trend that any self-publishing business ought to note in 2019.
The rise of print-on-demand services means that publishers can tap into this trend offering print books in addition to digital copies. Doing so will increase access to readers who still consume books on paper while leveraging technology to keep production costs down.
6. A Decline in Pleasure Reading
Despite the increase in books published through digital, print etc., pleasure reading in the United States has plummeted by almost a third since 2004. While a book was published every five minutes on Amazon in 2014, readership numbers have been going in the opposite direction.
Self-publishing businesses need awareness of how people consume books and align the design, marketing and distribution to capitalize on channels that work.
Staying ahead of the trend gives your self-publishing business a chance to succeed in 2019 and beyond.