1. Small epublishing companies will provide serious competition to the big publishers.
Smaller companies can innovate and respond to change more quickly than the larger, more established publishing companies. Smaller publishing companies will only deal with a limited number of authors and will therefore be able to provide close editorial support. We predict (and hope!) that well-known authors will be increasingly likely to sign contracts with small, niche publishers. Self-publishing will be easier in 2013 than ever before. This will mean that it will be more difficult for self-published authors to sell their books (Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords, also makes this point in his article published in the Huffington Post). As a result of this, forward-thinking authors will prefer to publish with well-connected, independent publishing companies to ensure that their work receives editorial attention and is marketed well.
2. There will be a growing number of new academic books released only in ebook format.
Mark Coker predicts that 2013 will be the year when more books will be read on screens than on paper. Given the rise in sales of ebook readers and tablet devices, it makes sense for academic publishers to consider publishing only in ebook format.
3. There will continue to be an increase in ebook sales.
Mark Coker predicts in that in the US, ebooks sales will form 45% of the book market. Just like the music industry, consumers will become accustomed to paying for electronic content and epublishing will become a viable business.
4. Print on demand (POD) will become cheaper and quicker.
Publishers will partner with POD companies to offer consumers the option to produce print copies of their ebooks. This will appeal to readers who prefer print versions and libraries who want to make books accessible as reference texts for browsing.
5. New academic books released only in ebook format will be substantially cheaper than books that have paperback, hardback and ebook versions.
It is not unusual to see academic textbooks costing 50 dollars or more. This model has been largely unchallenged until now. As ebooks cost less to produce, 2013 will see the rise in availability of reasonably priced academic books. However, academic ebooks will be priced higher than general fiction and non-fiction ebooks due to the thorough editorial and review processes involved.
6. Producing only ebook versions of academic texts will change the way books are read.
We predict that ebooks will change the way in which readers engage with a text. For example, readers can use hyperlinks to move between different sections of a book and access additional multimodal material online. Additional examples can be provided at relevant points throughout the text instead of as appendices. The reader will always have the option to read the text in a linear way, but we predict that reading habits will change due to the opportunities embedded within ebooks.
7. Consumers buying print books will be given a free copy of the ebook version.
Consumers have become accustomed to being able to access their movies and music from wherever they are and they will expect the same from their reading material. Although consumers like the accessibility of an ebook, they still like the look and feel of a physical book and enjoy seeing their book collections displayed on their own shelves. In order to solve the reader’s dilemma of whether to purchase an ebook version or a print version of a title, publishers still dealing predominantly in print books will provide the ebook version free. Some publications such as the Economist already offer all online content free with a print subscription.
8. New academic ebooks will be written with interactivity in mind.
Publishers of ebooks will create books with a community of readers in mind. Instead of delivering facts in a top down way, new academic ebooks will invite readers to interact with the ideas and share their thoughts with the author and with other readers. Readers will contribute to online discussions and ideas can be incorporated into future editions of ebooks (with the writers’ permission, of course). Trends indicate that sales of ebook readers will decline in 2013 (see the recent article by Next Web and a report by iSuppli) as multi-functioning tablet devices become more sought after. Tablet devices increase the ease of interactivity.
9. Publishers will sign deals with device manufacturers so that consumers can buy devices pre-loaded with content.
We wrote this prediction before hearing the news that Longman have just invested in Nook. We predict that in the future (probably later than 2013), instead of recommending a textbook, a professor can provide an ebook reader or tablet device pre-loaded with the appropriate texts for a given course.
10. Libraries will increase access to academic ebooks.
Books available via elibraries will continue to rise rapidly. Students will have free access to required texts in ebook format through their institution’s library. This will reduce the likelihood of excessive photocopying and book piracy.
11. Previously published work will be reformatted and repackaged and sold in ebook format.
We predict three ways in which previously published academic work will be made available: (1) Previously published print books will be relaunched as ebooks; (2) Out-of-print books will be republished as ebooks for new audiences; (3) Collections of previously published articles will be bundled together and sold as ebooks. Idea number 3 has already been introduced by the New York Times and Harvard Business Review, but will become popular in academic publishing from 2013.
12. eBooks will be offered to readers in cost-saving formats.
Although the cost of an ebook will be less than a print book, consumers will still be looking for economical ways to access the academic texts they need. Readers will access texts freely or cheaply in 2013 in at least three ways: (1) Through institutional access to an elibrary; (2) Via a subscription to an academic ebook provider such as EBSCO; (3) By purchasing only the relevant chapter in a pay-as-you-go approach such as the one being offered by ValoBox.