Indie books made regular, steady appearances in bestseller lists. Indie publishing workshops dominated the annual Romance Writers of America conference. Both indies and traditional publishers saw record e-book sales.
Here in the U.S., retailers saw a reversal of roles. Barnes & Noble paper sales are way down. Chairman Len Riggo has withdrawn his offer to buy the brick-and-mortar stores and dumped 2 million of his personal shares in the company. B&N itself is under an SEC investigation for misstatement of earnings. Half-Price Books is selling more recent releases in order to capitalize on B&N's reversal of fortune, while Books-a-Million has remained notoriously silent in the situation. On the other hand, more independent book stores are not only opening, but thriving, than since the heyday of Main Street.
In the meantime, trad publishers and agents are issuing more draconian contracts in an effort to tie up both writers and their rights.
The Kernel, a nasty little U.K. rag, launched a smear campaign against Amazon that only ended harming a ton of indie writers in the fall-out as other booksellers were dragged into the fray. As a result, most e-book retailers are cracking down on covers, descriptions and content, the terms of which are confusing and illogical.
For more thorough breakdown and predictions, check out:
Dean Wesley Smith has his run-down on the state of publishing at the end of 2013.
J.A. Konrath predicts what's on the horizon for 2014.
What do I think will happen?
- Barnes and Noble isn't going to survive much longer. They are showing the same penny wise/pound foolish behaviors that preceded Borders demise. The question is when they will go under. (Understand that I don't want to see them go under because I sell the most books through them.)
- Amazon and Kobo's over-reaction in the Kernel mess will come back to bite them in the ass and possible give Apple more market share.
- Since customers are getting away from e-reader devices and using more apps on their tablets and smart phones, we may see more e-book retailers spring up.
- More and more writers will jump into the indie publishing river. But just as many will leave based on their erroneous belief that one book flogged to death with marketing should make their career. By the same token, more writers will find they can make a living on their own.
- The trickle of agents leaving the business will turn into a tsunami when they find they can't make a living even by
So what do y'all think will happen in the craziness of the next year in publishing?