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Publetariat Dispatch: The Next 10 Ebook Trends

Publetariat: For People Who Publish!

In today’s Publetariat Dispatch, we reprint one of the most popular articles on the site from 2011.

This post originally appeared on the Online Colleges site and is reprinted here in its entirety with that site’s permission.

No matter one’s opinion of ebooks and ebook readers, it’s highly  doubtful they’re going to just up and disappear anytime soon. Since  they’ve already started infiltrating bookstores, libraries and schools,  now makes for a great opportunity to start evolving and better meeting  various consumer needs. Exactly how this comes about remains to be seen,  obviously, but gadget gurus and digital enthusiasts certainly have some  interesting ideas about what ebook trends might start cropping up soon.


1. Bundles Whether packaging a print edition along with the ebook, blending digital  versions of an author’s entire oeuvre or organizing reads thematically,  many ebook enthusiasts think bundles will inspire quite the popularity  surge. The added incentives might very well sway individuals and  institutions unsure about whether or not they want to embrace the  admittedly expensive technology.

2. Social reading sessions Online book clubs are actually quite common these days, but ebooks have  yet to really seize upon their potential. Beyond offering up discussion  questions, readers themselves could include ways for members to  communicate with one another via audio or video, or promote even better  integration with some of the technologies and organizations already  available.

3. Greater interactivity Ebook users don’t have to set up a book club to enjoy a greatly  enhanced reading experience! The digital format allows a far higher  degree of interactivity than the traditional paperback, and the  potential is limited only by an author’s or programmer’s imagination.  Books aimed at young children might especially benefit from this trend —  think of how the audience might respond to animations of their favorite  illustrations!

4. Authors go straight to ebook publishers Rather than waiting on their publishing houses to transfer  their works over to ebook format, more and more authors are bypassing  the traditional system altogether and submitting straight to the  producers themselves. And for those looking into self-publishing,  pursuing such opportunities may very well mean the difference between  floundering in obscurity and hitting the ebook bestseller list.

5. Monetized content Not everyone will necessarily dig embedded ads in their ebooks,  even unobtrusive ones, but that doesn’t mean publishers and companies  won’t try to cash in on the technology. All the same, though, monetized  content doesn’t have to mean staring down “CLICK HERE!” in the middle of  Cat’s Cradle. It could be anything from downloadable content — along  the lines of many video games — to subscription services.

6. Different formats for different genres As ebook readers gain popularity and become more sophisticated,  it may come to pass that different genres might end up housed in  different technologies. The computerized equivalent of hardcovers versus  softcovers, in other words. Kindles and Nooks are excellent for  converted novels and nonfiction, but prove a bit too small for  textbooks. Larger, more specialized devices could easily come about in  order to house “heavier” content.

7. More indie epublishers With plenty of authors heading straight for ebook publishers  and bypassing the usual mainstream channels, now’s an incredible time to  be (or even launch) an independent “label.” So many talented  individuals have excellent stories to tell and research to share,  tech-savvy entrepreneurs and editors probably won’t have a difficult  time finding viable content. Because if this, it makes perfect sense  that more and more digital publishing — and even self-publishing —  houses will start springing up.

8. A greater decline in traditional bookstores Even those without a business degree see Borders’ recent  bankruptcy and closing as the death knell for traditional bookstores.  Although it may be a bit premature to declare such a thing, the format  certainly needs to adapt and change if it hopes to survive. So while the  familiar setup might not “die” like Borders, over time it’s going to  start looking a lot different. Barnes and Noble, for example, released  the Nook in order to compete with the evolving market. As ebooks  continue climbing, it and other book carries will have to find new ways  to pick up the slack.

9. Increased royalties from ebook sales Since ebooks are becoming more profitable, authors (not to  mention their agents!) will probably want to see more royalties coming  in from their availability. Understandably so! If publishers wish to  retain their talent — not to mention attract some awesome new names —  they’ll have to start paying up for more than just the bound books.

10. Free ereaders?! It probably sounds insane right now, but the declining cost of  ebook readers mean more can be handed out for promotional purposes. Book  clubs, publishers and other businesses or organizations might charge  consumers a membership or subscription fee, providing the device  completely gratis. No different than cell providers receiving money in  exchange for air time and comping the phone as an added incentive to  sign up, really.


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