Shatzkin: Five Publishing Trends to Watch for in 2013

Amidst all the pre-2013 predictions and punditry on the future of digital publishing, publishing consultant and Digital Book World partner Mike Shatzkin has found five more trends that you should watch for in 2013:

1. Migration from print to digital will continue to slow. We’ve already seen the inflection point. When all is said and done, digital book growth in trade publishing will probably slow to about 30% to 50% in 2012 — still huge growth numbers but slower than the triple-digit growth years of 2011, 2010, 2009 and 2008.

2. Reference and illustrated books will continue to lag behind “immersive” reading books (novels and nonfiction) in the transition to digital. While some publishers have found success bringing reference and illustrated books to the 21st century, many have not and the adoption rate for digital reading of cookbooks and other illustrated titles has lagged behind novels and nonfiction. Will it continue in 2013? Shatzkin thinks so. Others think this will (finally) be the year of the enhanced ebook.

3. Mergers among publishers will become more common. Digital Book World also made this prediction — both in our Ten Bold Predictions for 2013 and in a story on the subject in March 2012.

4. Children’s ebook platforms will become powerful gatekeepers for digital reading. There has been a rise in the number of children’s ebook platforms — Storia, RRKidz and Ruckus Media are three good examples. In 2013, Shatzkin predicts, these portals — and perhaps those maintained by Nook and Amazon — will be a dominant force in children’s digital reading in 2013.

Learn more about the future of children’s digital publishing at Children’s Launch at DBW 2013.

5. Marketing will get dynamic for publishers and will be increasingly hard to separate from editorial. Shatzkin has predicted in the recent past a move to audience-drive marketing for publishers — much like the calendar- and topic-timed marketing employed by some start-up digital publishers like Open Road Media. Digital Book World went farther on Forbes to predict that some major publisher will form a back-list marketing department.