The Future Of Publishing
The Future Of Publishing
Derek Johns (Managing Director - AP Watt Literary Agency) gives expert video advice on: What's the next 'big thing' in publishing?; Is it a good idea to post my writing online?; What do you predict for the publishing industry in the next couple of years? and more...
What's the next 'big thing' in publishing?
The next big thing in publishing is the digital revolution. We've seen it in music with downloads. We're going to see it in books. We are getting electronic readers that will make it possible to take a reader on holidays (instead of six books) and download six books onto it. It's going to be very interesting to see how many people will want to read books on a screen rather than on a page. There will be machines in book shops within the next few years that will print books on demand. You won't have to order them from the book seller anymore. You will key in a code and the machine will print the book while you're waiting. You'll then simply pay for it and walk out with it. A lot is going to change in publishing in the next few years.
What do you predict for the publishing industry in the next couple of years?
In the next several years we'll see increasing consolidation of publishers, publishers merging and taking over other publishers. We will see increasing worldwide publications of certain books; the same publisher will publish a book in many different countries. But I think the most interesting thing that will happen is that we will see the print-on-demand revolution. We will see books that otherwise can't be kept in print being printed because one person wants to buy them.
What do you predict for the publishing industry in the long term?
Prediction is a mug's game, and it's very difficult to say, in the long term, what will happen in publishing. There is no question that young people, children, growing up today, being so comfortable with digital media, will experience their entertainment and their information in a different way. And we're just going to have to see the extent to which people read electronically in the future. At the moment, it's very hard to say.
Is it going to get easier or harder to get published in the future?
I think paradoxically it is going to be easier to post your work somewhere and have it exist on the net but harder to find a large readership. I think we will see an increasing polarity between the successful authors who earn a lot of money and the rest who find it very difficult to earn a living.
How has the internet affected the publishing industry?
The affect of the internet at the moment is mainly retail. Amazon, the dominant internet book seller, has made it much easier to order books. Especially books that are hard to find that would not normally be stocked in book shops. In the longer term, we'll have to see whether the net actually influences the form of books, but it's too early to tell about that.
Is 'blogging' a viable route to getting published?
Blogging can be a way to get published, but of course, like everything else on the net, you need to lead people to your blog. The kind of blogs that have led to books generally are by people who have found an outlet through newspapers or magazines or traditional publishing media.
How can a writer protect their copyright when publishing work online?
Copyright is one of the big questions that the Net has posed, and we've seen this in music, we see it in illegal downloads, and so on. If you post material on the web, you simply cannot protect it, unless you are prepared to hire lawyers, in the case of piracy. The question is, who is going to pirate your work, and how? And it's unlikely to be pirated--unless, of course, it's a success, in which case it will be published by a large publisher who will protect the copyright.
How have audio downloads affected the publishing industry?
One of the most interesting developments recently has been audio downloads to iPods and to MP3 players and so on. The audio book market has always been a very small one but it has tremendous potential, and downloads are going to revolutionize the audio market and grow it considerably.