By Kristen Joseph
Have you ever noticed that many books released during a certain time period all seem to have similar themes? There may be a multitude of books from one publisher that are all in the same genre, or a considerable amount of books across many genres that seem to deal with similar topics, like social justice, political reform, and identity crises, to name a few. That’s because book publishing, like any industry, is subject to trends. Some are predictable, and some have a tendency to appear out of the blue, but they all have an influence on the book world and on those who that work within it. Here are a few trends that are currently influencing authors and those who dedicate their lives to maintaining the book biz:
- Independent author sales are on the rise: Traditional publishers produce books on multiple platforms: hardcovers, paperbacks, audiobooks and ebooks. For indie and self-published authors, whose books aren’t affiliated with any big-name publishing company, ebooks have become the primary method of sale. Purchasing an ebook tends to be significantly cheaper than buying a physical copy of a book, and the prevalence of internet ads and the ease of internet purchasing allows authors to advertise their books to more potential buyers. Additionally, the internet allows authors to present their works to a more targeted demographic than they may have been able to reach if they had worked with a traditional publisher. In this way, ebooks allow indie and self-published authors to connect more directly to their readers.
- It’s ALL about Marketing: Of course, ebooks aren’t the only way for authors and publishers to connect to readers; they have to advertise! How else would anyone know what books are being released and when? Most authors and publishers have been using Facebook and Amazon advertisements to market their products, though many continue to use the typical methods of email marketing via newsletter. None of these marketing techniques are likely to disappear, though they are expected to experience changes that indie and traditional publishers alike will need to be ready to adequately respond to.
- Audiobooks are more popular than you’d think: Ebooks are a fairly new and popular method for reading books, but in the past few years, the digital branch of the publishing industry has seen a steady increase in audiobook sales that have actually managed to surpass the amount of sales received from ebooks. Many readers are saying that they have turned to this method because it allows them to read more books in a shorter amount of time. Others report that audiobooks are just a more efficient method of reading because they can multi-task, doing things like driving or housework while working their way through the latest book on their list. Audiobook sales are only expected to continue increasing in the future, especially with platforms like Amazon’s Audible and Kobo providing easy audiobook subscription services.
- Non-fiction is very important: With the prevalence of well-known social and political issues in the world right now, it’s no wonder that publishing companies are witnessing increased sales in their non-fiction departments. Non-fiction books allow people to better understand the world around them. And many people — adults, teens, and kids alike — want to read more real-life stories to educate themselves on all facets of this crazy thing we call life.
Reading still matters! In case you were wondering, the act of reading and the art of the novel are in no danger of becoming extinct. Whether their favorite format is ebook, audiobook, or physical book, there are still people who love to read and will continue to pass that love on for generations, provided they have material to read. That being said, the books they choose to read still need to be well-written, so proper editing is important if you’re thinking of writing your own book. It still needs to have a cohesive plot, be free of grammar errors and typos, etc etc. And no matter what the old saying is, a well-designed book cover has a significant impact on the reach and selling potential of the book.
Every publishing company and indie or self-publisher is subject to changes in industry trends. Mostly positive, and sometimes negative, these changes influence the book world as we know it. And the biggest factor that determines the outcomes of these changes is you, the reader, and all of the other readers around you. So keep on reading, keep on writing, and continue the cycle of reading so that the vibrant culture that we experience in the book world today can be present for generations to come.