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The One Safe Prediction – 8 Guesses About Publishing in 5 Years

We are fortunate to have this post from Mike Larsen.

“People, companies, and countries that don’t reinvent themselves every three-to-five years will get left behind.”
-John Chambers, Chairman and CEO, Cisco Systems

“The future of publishing is self-publishing.”
-Editorial consultant Alan Rinzler

The one safe prediction you can make about the future is that you can’t predict it. Anyway, here goes: the three keys to the future of publishing in the next five years are mobile devices, social media, and self-publishing.

Here are Eight Guesses About the Industry’s Future

1. Successful writers will be CEOs…

of one-person, multimedia, multinational conglomerates who crowdsource their needs with a community of collaborators and rely on word of mouse to make their work sell.

2. Agents will be Executive VPs…

of their clients’ conglomerates, mentors who help them maximize their visibility and income.

3. The Six Sisters who dominate trade publishing…

will be fewer in number and smaller in size, and will survive by empowering their writers and devoting themselves to what they do best.

4. Because updating ebooks and integrating all media…

into them will be easy, enhanced ebooks will be huge, and readers will judge writers by their ability to tell a story so compellingly that awareness of medium and technique disappear.

5. Fans will communicate with authors at teleconferences…

and receive personalized autographs they can print.

6. Barnes & Noble will be gone…

and a growing network independent booksellers around the country will thrive for four reasons:

  • They will be community-supported nonprofits like other cultural institutions, such as libraries, museums, symphony orchestras, and dance and opera companies.
  • They will always have the book you want because they will have EBMs, Espresso Book Machines that store books and print a book in a minute.
  • They will be even more needed as community centers (and a respite from staring at a screen) that respond to their community’s needs and tastes, provide events and classes, and serve as a meeting place for reading groups and writer’s organizations.
  • Readers will understand that a quarter of every dollar spent in a chain store leaves the community while indies spend that income in the community.

7. Readers will again understand that when it comes to media,

it’s not either/or, it’s both and. Books will continue to do what only they can. Concern about design will make books more beautiful than ever. In a high-tech, visual culture, the physical and literary pleasures they provide will be more needed and appreciated than ever.

8. More than eight billion web-enabled devices will help…

unite the global village, and the potential they will create for communication, creativity, collaboration, and commerce will open endless possibilities for writers and publishers.

What did I leave out or get wrong?

The goal of the blog is to help you and me understand writing and publishing. Rants, comments, questions, and answers most appreciated.

Just Announced

The 4th San Francisco Writing for Change Conference / Writing to Make a Difference

September 15, 2020 / Unitarian Universalist Church / Geary & Franklin, San Francisco

The 10th San Francisco Writers Conference / A Celebration of Craft, Commerce & Community / February 14-17, 2013 / / [email protected] / /@SFWC/

San Francisco Writers University / Where Writers Meet and You Learn / Laurie McLean, Dean/free classes/[email protected]/@SFWritersU

415-673-0939 / 1029 Jones Street / San Francisco, 94109

In five years, content will still be king, but writers will be CEOs.
John Chamberlin, Cisco Systems, Alan Rinzler, Espresso Book Machine, independent booksellers

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About the Author, Judy Cullins

Book and Blog Coach Judy Cullins helps you gain confidence and transform your ideas into life-long money-making content. Author of 14 books for business people and authors include “Write your eBook or Other Short Book–Fast!”Judy offers free, up-to-the minute weekly publications on book and blog writing and online marketing at

*You are welcome to reprint this article provided the above bio is included.

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  • John Kremer

    It’s a good beginning for predictions on publishing. I’ll have more to say later in a blog post.

  • JamesGoiJr

    This is a great post. And guess number 1 has inspired me to get going with getting some help, as I’m still trying to do too much myself and as a result moving ahead much more slowly than I otherwise could. I needed to hear this today. Thank you!
    -James Goi Jr. (author of How to Attract Money Using Mind Power)

  • Nancy Christie

    Interesting and upbeat-great to read after all the doom-and-gloom predictions!

  • Mark Oetjens

    I agree with everything except #6. I think independent bookstores are gone for good and I don’t think the EBM is going to change that. EBMs have been around for a while now and still have not caught on. The future of publishing is ebooks. Unfortunately, I think hard copy books will go the way of the dinosaur.

    Personally I think more and more E-readers will come onto the market until that market is saturated with them. Then 1 of 2 things will happen. Either the number of E-readers will eventually drop down to just a couple or a single file format will emerge that they all can use..

    I also like the idea of "enhanced" ebooks.

  • Julia Widdop

    No one seems to be talking about audio books, but I love them. I love to get my reading done while driving to meetings etc. Now that car stereos have the USB ports, I think books will be sold on flash drives. Maybe those cool ones that look like necklaces.

  • Judy Cullins

    Mark, point well taken. I agree ebooks are the way. All my 14 books are ebks. i’ve been ahead of the curve with self-oublishing and ebooks. I hope you’ll come back and search for ebooks and read more,

    Funny how fast good tips can get out date. I’ve been bookcoaching for 25 years and have witness miracles for author success.

  • Judy Cullins

    Nancy,glad you appreciate the upbeat message today. Wonder what you are writing? Most of my blog posts are similar.

  • Judy Cullins

    James, Thanks for sharing your concerns for getting your helpful message out. I am with you on money with mind power. Do you know Stuart Wilde who wrote-The Trouble with Money… He was one voice that lead to my money success.

    Many book coaching clients come to me after burning out on all the steps they waste time. No cash flow comes from undone bookmarketing.

    My motto: Any book project is easier and faster with a coach.

  • Judy Cullins

    Thanks John for stoppng by. Would you like to a blog post for this site?

  • Judy Cullins

    I’m adding a tip now. You must blog and guest blog ro get you noticed, appreciated, and trusted. My own sales are way up snce my new blog of 2 years.

  • JamesGoiJr

    Hi Judy… Stuart Wilde is one of the 160 authors I quote in "How to Attract Money Using Mind Power." I’m checking out your site again… Thanks…

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