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Richard Curtis: Book Publishing 10 Years in the Future

Veteran literary agent, e-book publisher and industry blogger, Richard Curtis is not known for keeping mum on what is going right or what is wrong in the book publishing. That is why we were grateful to ask him what he foresees as happening to the book publishing industry in the next 10 Years.

Richard Curtis: What Changes Do You See for Book Publishing in the Next 10 Years?

“1. First and foremost I predict that the size and price of Espresso print on demand will come down to the point where POD kiosks will be installed in non-bookstores like supermarkets, libraries, pharmacies and the like. Which means that…

2. The grip of Barnes & Noble as the go-to bookseller will be loosened. You’ll be able to buy a book at Publix, Duane Reade, or Starbucks. You’ll have a selection of millions of titles, not just what can be packed into the shelves and tables of a brick and mortar bookstore.


3. At least one major publishing company will be acquired by a retailer. For instance (and this is NOT a prediction, just a for-instance), Amazon could acquire Random House or Apple could buy Simon & Schuster. A combined publisher/retailer solves many problems for both. The retailer owns the content and doesn’t have to pay a premium for it. The publisher does not have to pay a premium to distribute its books. There would be huge efficiencies of manufacturing and distribution.

4. Amazon, now a de facto publisher, would throw off the cloak and come out as a full competitor with traditional publishers.

5. Sales volume of printed books will rise as a reaction to screen-reading sets in. Many now enamored of e-books will return to print.

6. An independent marketplace for e-book rights will be created, offering authors and agents an alternative to simply throwing e-rights into the deal when they sell their books to publishers. A byproduct of this is that…

7. E-book publishers will begin offering advances for e-rights, going into competition with book publishers.”

8. College students will begin using tablet PCs in the fall 2010 semester for their school work. By 2011 or 2012 tablets will replace laptops on campuses across the nation.

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