The Future of Books

The past 20 years has brought many technology innovations into our work and home world. If we could travel back to 1992 you would experience the following:

  • Internet but no useful WWW
  • Cell Phones (if you even had one yet) but no Smart Phones
  • Tablets but not too good
  • No e-readers like Kindle or Nook
  • Google was not born until 1998; Facebook 2004; YouTube 2005; Twitter 2006
  • What is known as writing a blog today was just a diary back in 1991. Blogging would not become popular until the late 1990’s.
  • Car phones by this time were disappearing due to the cost, the weight in pounds, and reliability issues.
  • There were no web pages or email to use so information was transferred via disks that we carried around…ah yes, the piles of disks.

You already know how different today’s world is compared to the early 1990’s. What about the future? In 2032 will there be books we actually hold and turn the pages ourselves? Are we becoming a tech only world? Is the ride destined to become even bumpier for the publishing world?

A few predictions: The tech world moves at such a fast pace it will be quite expensive to keep up with the constant upgrades. By 2032 there will be no ‘iPhone 25’ or ‘Android 30’ but something with a new name. Instead of waiting for the next tablet, smartphone, or computer

I foresee one device that will encompass everything we do from watching television shows to talking, texting, working, playing, reading and anything else possible. Transfer speeds will be greater and flatscreens will fit to a wall like a poster. Our hand held devices will expand from being able to fit in our purse or pocket to uncoiling and expanding to a 14-inch screen when needed.

Books will not disappear. The feeling of opening the cover of a new book and feeling the pages will forever be a part of our lives. Passing your treasured hardcovers down to loved ones will continue. In 2012 the Association of American Publishers (AAP) show ebook sales taking 30% of the total market. Just three years ago it was less than 1%. Adult fiction is the genre driving the upward trend.

Yes, the digital world will take a bigger chunk of sales and will probably settle in around 50-60%. There will be some continued rough years as publishing firms try and sort out the changes. Getting a book to print the traditional way is going to become even more difficult but Print on Demand and electronic publishing will be more prevalent.  I especially see book publishers latching on to Print on Demand to keep costs down. Instead of rejecting a book on its marketability, they’ll test the waters out with POD. If it takes off then a larger order can be printed.

The benefit will be easier access to books whether you want a digital or print version. Authors will have more control over their product and book publishers can continue profiting.

About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...writing middle grade novels.
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