What’s happened in the publishing world during 2013?
What was the good news and what were the bad reports?
The good news, according to the Authors Guild (the largest membership organization of professional authors in the U.S.), is that more than 23 million “consumer accounts” are eligible to receive refunds from the $166 million pool of money put up by the defendant publishers who settled with the Department of Justice in the Apple e-book price-fixing case. Depending on the outcome of a trial to determine monetary damages Apple must pay, scheduled for May 2014, a second round of refunds may follow. Apple is appealing.
Some bad news is that sales in the “young adult” category went down by 23.5%; however the good news is that “adult trade” book sales were up by 8.4% last January.
Good news that there is a used e-book market and there is talk of cracking it.
Bad news is that a recent study revealed college students and professors don’t want e-textbooks.
Bad news in the e-book market is piracy, orphan works and poor royalties. However some good news: last year’s total revenue for e-book sales in the U.S. reached $3.04 billion, a 44.2% increase on 2011’s numbers.
Bad news: many editors have come out against self-publishing. Why? Too many choices for the market and you don’t have the professional editors reading it. Good news is that more people than ever are self-publishing. Lots of the stigma is now gone. Good news for self-publishing. It has increased over 300% since 2006. The bad is that few authors are really making big money from it.
Good news for people who want to self-publish. Amazon put out over 58,000 self-published titles last year. Smashwords put out over 40,000 e-book titles. You can also go to Penguin and Lulu. The bad news is that that these were the top companies in the field. The rest, taken together, account for less than 10%.
Good news is that digital publishing is looking for certain genres like sci-fi, fantasy, mystery and romance fiction. Bad news is that many of them feel that these genres indicate the future of e-books.
Good news: Publishers Weekly (PW), the magazine that is the bible of the publishing industry, is going to devote six times a year to PW Select, a supplement dedicated to covering the self-publishing industry that features interviews with authors, book announcements and listings, news, features, analysis, book reviews and more. PW has various PW select Programs, and they say they have helped launch a few writing careers. The bad (though it may be worth it) is that there is a fee for certain programs. Check with them.
Good news: this past summer Penguin and Random House merged. The mega-publisher is now known as Penguin Random House, and it is said that they will have strong negotiating leverage against bookselling giants such as Amazon. The bad news could be that many writers could have fewer options in a market that is already becoming smaller.
“Please help me, dear God, to be a good writer and to get something else accepted.” –From “A Young Writer’s Prayers” By Flannery O’Connor, in The New Yorker of Sept. 16, 2013.