Five Digital Publishing Predictions for 2014
- Some things will change. Some things won’t change.
- New fads will replace old fads.
- One in four of 2013’s rumors will turn out to be true, while the rest will be forgotten.
- 10% of the rumors which first circulated in 2012 will come true. The rest have already been forgotten.
- Everything that happens in 2014 will become 2015 predictions. (h\t to @willentrekin)
Snarkyness aside, I can’t actually make many predictions that wouldn’t be obvious as soon as I wrote them down. (Mark Coker, on the other hand, did a fairly good job on identifying how current trends will be reinforced.)
Here are the three of my predictions that I think are worth repeating:
One: Amazon will announce a program, buy a startup, or launch a product that will surprise everyone at the time but will be an obvious expansion on what they have done before.
Sunday deliveries, buying Goodreads, and Kindle Matchbook all could have been predicted had someone phrased the right question. Launch a smartphone / set-top-box? This will almost certainly happen; it makes too much sense for Amazon not to follow through.
My (un)surprising prediction for Amazon for 2014 is that they will buy an indie ebookstore/platform. I don’t know the name, but this store will probably outsell Amazon in certain markets or with certain types of content. The company will be acqui-hired less for its market share and more for its technical skills. (This prediction is not a surprise because I already made a similar prediction months ago.)
My other (un)surprising prediction is that Amazon will buy a startup that is working on clear solar panels (if they don’t already own one). Again, this prediction should not come as a surprise. Amazon will want to put the panel on a Kindle’s screen, but the tech will probably have too many engineering issues.
Two: The hot buzz word for 2014 will be the global ebook market.
Lots of people spent the last 6 months of 2013 pointing at the AAP statistics and bemoaning the flattening ebook market. Starting some time in May or June 2014, those same folks are finally going to notice that the ebook markets in much of the world are actually on the rise. You can expect to read a lot of buzzworthy stories about how this market or that market is the next great opportunity. DBW 2015 will focus an entire track on international expansion.
Three: The US ebook market will also increase in terms of dollar value, unit sales, and market share.
This is a pretty safe bet to make; the US ebook market was down in 2013 in part because of the 2012 market bubble and because of increased price competition from the majors. Christmas gadget sales and new lower prices for big name titles will combine to boost the US ebook market above the reported AAP figures for 2013.
Will the US ebook market in 2014 match the high point reached in 2012? Maybe, but probably not unless there is a surprise blockbuster hit. The next Hunger Games movie isn’t due out until November 2014, and while it will have a positive effect the sales bump won’t be quite as large as when the first movie was released in 2012.