What to Expect in the Book Publishing Space in 2019.
It feels like only last week when I was writing the predictions for 2018. Hard to believe another fantastic year of creativity has gone by. Looking back, these were the areas I felt would be the strong areas for the book publishing world in 2018;
Independent publishing would continue to grow. Well, this has certainly come to fruition. Not only was 2018 one of the most productive years I have seen personally, internationally we saw a rise in independently and self-published books.
Amazon will continue to make their systems for book publishing more efficient. With the growth of Kindle, there’s logic in presuming Createspace will disappear and print-on-demand through Amazon will happen through Kindle. Indecently the Createspace online store was closed last October. Watch IngramSpark further take a good stronghold of this market. This has been an interesting one. We were right that Kindle absorbed CreateSpace and from a publishers perspective, I can confirm that Ingram Spark have certainly taken a stronger foothold in the mainstream distribution space. However, Amazon continuing to make their systems for book publishing more efficient? That’s debatable. Not only have they marginalised the indie author and made it more difficult to build stronger awareness of our books on their site, they have done nothing about the click bait process to generate fake best sellers. This means we are competing against titles and authors that are prepared to pay for fake purchases. I think Amazon did one thing very well this year – piss off authors.
Online purchasing will continue to impact physical bookstore sales. Without a doubt, this is an ongoing concern and booksellers need to remain current and innovative to survive – which they have. We have seen more innovation in the bookselling space, particularly with independents. Love Your Book Shop Day in August generated a lot of loyal followers showing support behind their local bookstore and it was the independents that really shone through. The indie stores have been more supportive of the indie author and participated in more author encounters and signings along with taking a lot more stock in this space. In the last financial year, according to Nielsen, Australians bought 55 million books at a value of more than $1.1 billion, an increase on the previous year. Keep in mind that Nielsen base the majority of these figures on physical book shop sales.
Mobile access will continue to increase. No surprise that this was an absolute certainty. In 2018, 52.2% of all website traffic worldwide was generated through mobile phones, up from 50.3% in 2017. Whilst not a big increase it continues to lead from the front.
Video will continue to dominate online engagement. Again, no surprise here. 78% of marketers say their most effective SEO strategy has been creating more relevant video content with 43% of consumers preferring to see more video content from marketers. Nearly 50% of internet users look for videos related to a product or service before visiting a store. 100 million hours of video are watched each day on Facebook with 500 million hours on YouTube. I think it’s fair to say – video has dominated.
So whilst the expected book publishing trends continue to evolve, it’s important for indie authors to be aware of the new developments, especially considering the book-selling market is continuing to be highly competitive.
Creative Marketing Will Dominate 2019
Without a doubt, it has become even easier to publish, however with digital technology continuing to evolve, we are finding harder to maintain our promotional efforts, specifically in a traditional sense. Five years ago, it was estimated that a new book was published every five minutes, purely through online channels. Without doubt, that has increased. The critical element here is the marketing and distribution you have is just as innovative and creative as the digital marketing and developments of our time. We have to stand out and need to ensure that we are still focusing on bringing to life quality books with strong author platforms, marketing longevity and creative distribution. We saw this coming and it is a large part of the reason we have developed our marketing and distribution services. It isn’t enough to simply write a book and expect it to make its way to readers. Without strong marketing support and growth, you remain that tree…you know…that one falling in the woods? The one that no one is around to hear?
Print Books Still Lead The Way
For years I felt that the eBook movement was never going to end the life of the physical book, despite the industries panic over its rise. It comes as no surprise to know that eBooks are not even close to surpassing print books in terms of popularity. This year, over 60% of adults (in western countries) had confirmed they had read a physical book with less than 30% confirming they had read an eBook. This has actually decreased from two years earlier.
Audio Books On The Rise
Whilst still yet to surpass print or eBook numbers, audio book sales has risen steadily since 2010, with predictions that a quarter of all book sales will be audio by 2020. We have seen that percentage reflected in traditional arenas as well with HarperCollins confirming that 25% of their digital revenue was audio book sales; Simon & Schuster’s numbers rose by over 40% as did Audible’s revenue. Audio books are establishing a fantastic foothold in the book publishing space, with plenty more room to develop.
Assisted Independent Publishing
As the need to stand out in the increasingly crowded market becomes more critical in 2019, we can expect hybrid/collaborative publishing to continue its growth. Basically it is the model where you are utilising trained professionals to bring to life your creative expression and then with the support of their marketing knowledge and distribution networks, can then extend your market reach. With much greater success for authors than self-publishing, Assisted Independent Publishing allows authors to stay in charge while still being able to access mainstreams channels with a trade standard publication. With the increasing competition in the self-published industry, and the declining appeal of traditional publishing, Assisted Independent Publishing is positioned perfectly for further expansion. Higher quality marketing is increasingly crucial for the indie author and the veterans in the publishing space are aware they hold the key to the new era. Again, this is another reason why we increased our own services into audio books, distribution, literary agent representation overseas, and in our marketing mentorship. Being the most established assisted independent publisher in Australasia, we have done our research to know what we need to do to lead from the front.
Owning Your Marketing
You may be thinking, ‘hey, didn’t he go through this in the beginning?’ Not really. We spoke about the need to be creative and innovative in our marketing efforts, but with so much activity on online marketplaces, your book marketing will need to continue well-beyond your initial pre-sale campaign and launch in order to keep attracting readers. Building an organic following has always been the biggest challenge. Even for successful and topical books, 2019 will be the year where serious authors own their marketing to ensure they have a long-term strategy. To prevent your book from becoming irrelevant quickly and losing visibility under the wave of newer releases, we need to generate an ongoing marketing campaign to keep your books awareness in the eye line of the consumer. The book publishing industry continues to evolve and these changes will only pick up speed in 2019. Technology is permanently changing the way books are produced, sold, and read so we must stay aware of the trends so we can ensure we are making an impact. None of us can do this book marketing thing perfectly all the time. What we can do, is remember to be self-reflective and commit to learning, always learning. When your book isn’t doing well, there’s almost always something you can do and successful indie authors rise to the occasion and figure out what they need to change or do better.
In conclusion, remember the ABC of Author Success – take ACTION, BELIEVE in your creative expression, be COMMITTED to its success. After all, the author attitude could be the one factor that makes your book a bestseller or just another drop in an sea of published work that falls short of its full potential.
CEO - Ocean Reeve Publishing