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10 Trends Shaping the Future of Publishing


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This presentation was given by Mark Coker at the Edinburgh Publishing Conference held June 12, 2013 at the University of Edinburgh business school in Scotland. The conference examined the innovation, disruption and new business models that are helping to shape the future of publishing. In this presentation, Mark Coker, the founder of Smashwords (a global ebook distributor serving over 60,000 indie authors and small publishers), examined ten trends that are shaping the future of publishing.

Published in: Education, Business, Technology

10 Trends Shaping the Future of Publishing

  1. 1. 10 Trends Driving the Future of BookPublishingPUBLISHING: EVOLUTION, DISRUPTION & THE FUTUREJune 12, 2013Mark CokerFounder, SmashwordsTwitter: @markcoker
  2. 2. My Backstory
  3. 3. Publishers Said “No”• Despite the great efforts ofour agent, every major NewYork publisher said NO(TWICE!)
  4. 4. I evaluated our options1. The rational option Accept failure, give up and cry1. The irrational option Believe in ourselves Fix the problem
  5. 5. I Contemplated the Problem
  6. 6. I imagined millions of other writersjust like usSilenced
  7. 7. I Concluded…• The old model of printpublishing was broken• Print publishing had becomeharmful to… Writers Readers Publishers Books
  8. 8. The Culture of “NO”• Risk mitigation leads to a “Cultureof NO”• Most authors rejected• Publishers unable to take a risk on everyauthor• Publishers rejecting “Black Swans,” booksthat would have become hits and classics
  9. 9. I contemplated the opportunity• What would happen if someonecould say YES to EVERY writer?
  10. 10. My Answer: SmashwordsLaunched in 2008• FREE ebook publishing platform• FREE ebook printing press• Distribution to major ebook stores• Share best practices secrets
  11. 11. How Smashwords Works1. UPLOAD• Upload a Microsoft Word file, formatted toour Smashwords Style Guide• Ready for immediate sale online1. DISTRIBUTE• Distribution to major retailers1. GET PAID• Author receives 85% of net
  12. 12. 050,000100,000150,000200,000250,0002008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013Ebooks published at Smashwords1406,00028,80092,000191,000230,000June 2013
  13. 13. Enough about me.Let’s talk about your future as an author orpublisher
  17. 17. Let’s examine the forces of change, andwhat these changes mean for your future
  19. 19. TREND ONE:The Rise of Ebooks
  20. 20. Screens are the new paper
  21. 21. A blast from the past: US ebookmarket share in 2008Source: Association of American Publishers, 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
  22. 22. Ebooks as a percentage of USwholesale trade marketSource: Association of American Publishers, 2012 Smashwords estimate0510152025302002 2004 2006 2008 2010 2012
  23. 23. Ebooks to overtake printPrint booksEbooksUnitsDollarsPrint booksEbooks
  24. 24. Why ebooks are hot• Screens offer better reading experience thanpaper•Changeable font size A B C D• Ebooks offer better consumption experience• Lower cost than print• Convenient sampling and purchasing• Huge selection
  25. 25. TREND TWOBookselling moving to theWeb
  26. 26. US Percentage of book purchasesmade online vs B&M, Print and E-Brick &MortarWebToday?
  27. 27. Bookselling moves to the Web• Brick and mortar storesdisappearing• Decline of print• Consumer drivers:• Price• Convenience• Selection• Implications for publishers…
  28. 28. TREND THREEDemocratization of Publishing
  29. 29. Publishers Once ControlledPublishing• Publishers controlled the…• Printing press• Access to retail distribution• The knowledge necessary forprofessional publishing
  30. 30. Today, authors have free tools toe-publish• FREE ebook printing press• Ebook distribution available to all• The knowledge of professionalbest practices is free andavailable to all
  31. 31. Publishers losing their monopoly• Writers no longer need publishers topublish, distribute and sell• Writers asking two dangerousquestions:1. Do I need a publisher?2. Will a publisher harm my ability to reachreaders?
  32. 32. TREND FOURSelf Published Ebook AuthorsGaining Competitive Advantageover Publishers
  33. 33. Benefits of Indie Authorship• Indie ebook author advantages• faster time to market• greater creative control• lower expenses• better distribution to global market• immortal ebooks never go out of print• lower prices to consumers• earn more per book
  34. 34. QUADRUPLE +
  35. 35. Indie Ebook Authors Earn HigherPercentage of List Price• Indies earn more at lower prices• At $2.99, indies earn ~$2.00. Trad. authorwould have to price at $10-$15.00• Lower price = reach more readers = moresales at higher profits per sale• Higher price = reach fewer readers60-80% 12-17%Indie Traditional
  36. 36. TREND FIVETraditionally published authorssuffering from high prices
  37. 37. Book buyers are price sensitive
  38. 38. Authors Yield Two Benefits fromEvery Sale1. Money from the sale• Unit sales X royalty per unit = profit1. Gain a reader• Readers lead to more readers Pricing strategy essential to maximizeboth
  39. 39. How Price Impacts Units Sold
  40. 40. What Price Yields the GreatestAuthor Earnings?
  41. 41. TREND SIXPrint is Dead for Most Self-Published Authors(and will become less and lessimportant to traditionally publishedauthors)
  42. 42. Print is Dead• Brick and mortar bookstores disappearing• Most self-pubbed authors don’t have accessto brick and mortar distribution• Customers choosing low cost ebooks overhigh-priced print books• Exceptions:• Face to face print sales will continue• Some books are meant for print (for now)• Specialty souvenir books sold in non-traditionaloutlets
  43. 43. TREND SEVENEbooks are going global
  44. 44. The Global Ebook Opportunity• Countries outside the US are entering theexponential growth phase of their ebookmarkets• Ebook retailers going global• Apple iBookstore (51 countries), Amazon (12), Kobo(14+), B&N (US, U.K.+)• 44% of Smashwords/iBookstore sales global
  45. 45. TREND EIGHTBig NY Publishers getting into selfpublishing
  46. 46. In July 2012, the parent company ofPenguin acquired Author SolutionsAuthor Solutions earns over 2/3 of itsincome selling over-priced services toauthors$25,000 publishing packages!Blood sucking parasites
  47. 47. TREND NINEThe Previous Stigma of Self-Publishing is Disappearing
  48. 48. Stigmas to reverseAspireTraditionalAspireIndieToday?AspireIndieAspireTraditional5 yrs ago Future?
  49. 49. TREND TENIndie Authors Are Beginning toOutsell Traditionally PublishedAuthors
  50. 50. Indies are Now Out-PublishingBig Publishers• Self-published ebooks scaling allthe bestseller lists• Every week, indie ebooks in retailerbestseller lists of every retailer• Multiple Smashwords authors havehit New York Times bestseller list inthe last year• Prediction: Within three years, mostbestselling ebooks will be self-published ebooks
  51. 51. June 11, 2013 at AppleiBookstore• Abbi Glines withForever Too Far• #1 Worldwide today
  52. 52. The Plan Forward
  53. 53. The 10 Trends Create a Future thatBenefits Self-Published Authors and…Disadvantages Publishers
  54. 54. The Plan Forward for Writers• You’re in charge now• You decide when you graduatefrom writer to published author• Honor your readers• You have the opportunity topublish…• Faster• Smarter• More profitably• at lower prices
  55. 55. The Plan Forward for Publishers• The good news: You’re still needed• Not all writers want to self-publish• The bad news: It’ll get more difficult toadd value in excess of your toll• Do for authors what they cannot andwill not do for themselves• Abandon culture of NO
  56. 56. Final Thoughts• There’s never been a better time toreach readers with the magic of books• Traditional Publishing vs. Indie is notan either/or• There’s never been a better time to bein publishing• Add value!
  57. 57. Thanks for considering the future.
  58. 58. Free Ebook Publishing Resources• Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success (best practices ofsuccessful authors)• Smashwords Book Marketing Guide (how to market anybook)• Smashwords Style Guide (how to format an ebook)
  59. 59. Thank you for considering thefuture!Q&AConnect with Mark Coker and Smashwords:Web: www.smashwords.comBlog: blog.smashwords.comLinkedIn: @markcoker