Smashwords: Book Publishing 10 Years in the Future

By Jeff Rivera 


Last week we discovered what industry insiders, Seth Godin and Richard Curtis foresee as the future of Book Publishing. This week we will explore these predictions further as we ask others who are known as advocates of change what their thoughts are. Today, we had the opportunity to ask Mark Coker of Smashwords what his predictions are for the year 2020.

Mark Coker: What Do You See Happening to the Book Publishing Industry 10 Years from today?

1. 95% of all reading will be on screens
2. There will be fewer bookstores, though books will be more plentiful than ever before.
3. The entire book supply chain from author to customer will become atomized into its component bits. Value-adders will continue to find great success in publishing. Dinosaurs, leeches and parasites will be flushed out of new publishing ecosystems faster than ever before.

4. Most authors will be indie authors
5. Successful publishing companies will be those that put the most net profit in the author’s pocket. No, not the highest per-unit royalty percentage.
6. If the big six NY book publishers (the fat head) today publish 50% of what’s sold, and the long tail of thousands of indie publishers comprise the rest, then 10 years from now the fat head will shrink to 10% and the long tail will get both taller and longer. There will be more published authors than ever before, and collectively they will earn record revenues, yet individually the average “published” author 10 years from now will earn less than the average “commercially published” author today. Advantage will go to those with best ability to reach their audience.
7. 10 years from now, we will all be authors, publishers and booksellers
8. Digital books will most commonly be referred to as “books,” not ebooks.
9. For those who still call books ebooks, it’ll be spelled “ebook,” not E-Book or e-book. Who today still calls email E-Mail?
10. Authors will write for a global market