by Mark Coker
If you could see into the future, what would you do to change it?
Each year I polish off my imaginary crystal ball and attempt to divine how the boiling crosscurrents of technology, competitive intrigue, author aspirations, and reader tastes will shape the opportunities facing authors, publishers and retailers for the year ahead.
As I caution each year, the prediction game is fraught with folly. No one really knows what will happen tomorrow, though there are plenty of clues.
Book publishing is in the grip of multiple long-term macro trends. Like strong trade winds, these forces will fill the sails of those who can harness them while swamping those who don’t.
2017 will mark a special milestone for the ebook industry. It marks the ten year anniversary of the Kindle. It’s also the ten year anniversary of Smashwords’ incorporation. In early 2007, after three years of crafting our business plan, I hired our first programmer and began active development on the Smashwords platform which we launched in early 2008.
Although my prediction track record has been pretty good over the years (see the end of this post for a complete list of my past predictions), my overarching objective is not to be correct. Instead, these predictions are meant to spark conversation and contemplation.
From conversation comes insight. From insight comes the opportunity for all of us to make course corrections to our publishing strategies so we can take full advantage of the exciting opportunities of tomorrow.
YOU are the captain of this wonderful industry’s destiny. Your decisions and actions matter, because it’s the collective publishing decisions of today’s authors and publishers that will shape the future of publishing.
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