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All Things Writing & Publishing > Rundown on 2017 book publishing trends

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message 1: by Alex (last edited Dec 20, 2017 11:53PM) (new)

Alex (asato) Although a thorough article well worth reading in its entirety, I've noted a few of its highlights.

Even though KU has its faults, it's still a market mover.

Anyone tried PublishDrive or StreetLib?

How about Indigo as a distributor? Maybe a few gift or lifestyle swag items to accompany your books?

How about giving Wattpad a go for your YA title? You might even have an in on a Wattpad Studio production.

What's been your experience in 2017?

Other thoughts?
Successful Canadian bookseller Indigo has plans to expand into the US next year, and its emphasis is distinctly not on bookselling; Indigo calls itself “a cultural department store, offering a “joyful, addictive omni-channel experience as well as the ultimate community for book lovers.” That means the stores sell a variety of gift and lifestyle merchandise; about 40 percent of their store sales are non-book items, and those sales have been increasing by the double digits. (Print book sales have been falling.)
Smaller trade presses would be hurt worse by a B&N collapse, since they have fewer mass-merchant outlets (such as big-box stores, which trade mostly in bestsellers) for their books. Big publishers would find it less efficient but doable to launch trade books only through the disparate network of indie bookshops; smaller presses would have a harder time. Should Amazon Books (Amazon’s physical stores) keep ramping up quickly, then all publishing roads would, finally, lead to Seattle.
Fortunately, self-publishing authors have other major reputable distribution services to choose from—including Smashwords, Draft2Digital, PublishDrive, and StreetLib. While none offer the same incomparable deal as Pronoun, they offer fair terms and solid functionality; the first two options have a strong presence in the US market and appear very stable.
CreateSpace now has nearly 80% of the market—and they continue to grow. They issued more than 18% more ISBNs in 2016. I often hear speculation in the indie author community that Amazon will push indie authors using CreateSpace to the new KDP Print service. The sheer size of the CreateSpace business, along with its continued growth, make that unlikely, but we’ll see.
CreateSpace’s competitors are down. After several years of growth, Lulu’s 2016 count was down about 12% to around 75,000 ISBNs, compared to CreateSpace’s 500,000 or so. After growing significantly from 2010 to 2015, Blurb is down by 31% and issued about 23,000 ISBNs in 2016. Also, while not a CreateSpace competitor, Smashwords issued 8% fewer ebook ISBNs than in 2015 (about 90,000 total).
This year involved a series of important developments for Wattpad, including:

A partnership with one of the Big Five publishers, Hachette, to produce 50 audiobooks based on Wattpad stories. The first titles became available in summer 2017.
A pay-to-play option that removes advertising from the website and apps. Wattpad Premium charges $5.99/month or $59.99/year, but free access remains for all—just with ads.
Chinese online retail giant Tencent invested $40 million in Wattpad as part of a $50 million venture capital deal, valuing Wattpad at $400 million.

Wattpad generates $20 million per year in revenue in advertising and licensing, a figure that’s growing by some 100 percent each year.
it involves partnerships (where publishers offer book contracts to platform authors), Wattpad Studios (which continues to roll out new Hollywood development deals)
The absence of a traditional publishing blockbuster can be keenly felt and observed in financial results; for example, when Scholastic didn’t have a Harry Potter book in the first quarter of fiscal 2017, as it did in 2016, total revenue at the company declined 33 percent during that quarter. And of course the effect of such titles isn’t limited to publishers’ bottom lines; bookstore sales declined nearly 11 percent in August (compared to the prior year) because of the absence of a Potter book.
Cader writes of Amazon’s proprietary e-reading programs, “[They] could be moving more units than all of the competitive stores together. It also means that Amazon Publishing … is on its own close to the size of the entire non-Amazon market.”

Kindle Unlimited is becoming an increasingly important and contentious platform in the author community, as scammers continue to find ways to game the rankings and thus the page-read payout system. In a series of posts throughout 2017, indie author David Gaughran detailed his frustration with scam operations that impact the free-book charts at Amazon, plus click-farming schemes that can send a title from the depths of anonymity to the number-one spot in paid Kindle rankings—thus increasing its visibility and KU page-read payouts.

The effect these hacks can have on Amazon’s system are tantamount to security breaches; they’re not taken lightly or discussed by Amazon in public. A big question yet to be answered is how well Amazon can prevent fraudulent and unethical activity while not mistakenly taking down honest authors in the process.


message 2: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9745 comments Amazon will never eliminate those gaming the system. What they should try to do is to delete the effects of clicks and rely on sales. Sales are harder to game because someone has to come up with dosh.

I have often puzzled over Wattled, and in the end, I have more or less ignored it. Has anyone benefited? If so, how?

message 3: by J.N. (new)

J.N. Bedout (jndebedout) | 104 comments Eye-opening, but not that unexpected. Thanks for sharing that!

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