At the end of every year, industry experts make predictions about what will happen in the coming year. Many of these predictions come true, some don’t. Since predictions are based on trends, there is usually a good chance these trends will continue and the predictions will come true, but not always. After all, past success is not a predictor of future success—or the stock market would have already made me rich.
For the past month, I have been reading numerous marketing and publishing industry trends for 2016. I have picked a few that I think are the most relevant to independently published authors and small publishers to share with you.
1. Mobile will dominate in 2016.
Google recently announced that mobile searches have surpassed desktop searches. This means that more people are accessing the Internet from mobile devices than ever before. Having a mobile-optimized website is essential for 2016. If your website is not optimized for mobile devices, you will not show up in Google search results for mobile device users. The majority of email will also be read on mobile devices, so make sure your email marketing efforts support mobile (responsive email designs).
2. Audiobooks and Children’s Books will continue to lead book growth in 2016.
in 2015, the Children’s book market in the United States grew by 13%. Experts predict that this genre will continue to grow in 2016, as it has for the past 3 to 5 years. Audiobooks enjoyed phenomenal growth in 2015. The category grew as much as 31% in the first half of 2015 over the previous six months. Many believe that audiobooks will continue to have double-digit growth in 2016.
3. Print will remain strong, but Indies will dominate the ebook market.
Industry experts are reporting that the ebook and print markets appear to be diverging into parallel markets. In other words, traditional publishers dominate the print market, while indies dominate the ebook market. According to Author Earnings, 45% of ebooks sold on Amazon Kindle store are published by Indies. The prediction is that this will grow to be over 50% in 2016 as traditional publishers leverage agency pricing to keep the price of ebooks higher.
Studies show that people tend to purchase an ebook over a print book if the ebook price is $4 lower than the print book. Many traditional publishers are now pricing ebooks within $2 to $3 of the print book, driving more print sales. Since many Indies publish ebooks only, these authors are growing their dominance of the ebook market—largely with fiction books. As a result, some are predicting that ebook unit sales will grow in 2016, while the amount of dollar sales will actually decrease as people seek out cheap ebooks.
4. Video ads will start to reign in 2016.
With Facebook and Bing already offering advertisers video options, this venue will only grow in 2016 when Google begins to allow video-based advertisements in search results. Currently, Google only supports text-based ads and, occasionally, images. Video ads showing up in Google searches will only accelerate the current trend toward video-based ads. If you advertise on Facebook, Twitter, or elsewhere on the Internet, you will need to get on board with this trend to catch as many consumers as possible. Some experts are also saying that advertising on Instagram will become an essential component to a comprehensive marketing strategy.
I believe that we will also see physical bookstores continue to struggle in 2016. Along with this, the percentage of books purchased online will continue to grow. The most successful independently published authors and small publishers will be those that actively engage their target audience.
Do you have a marketing or publishing prediction for 2016 that was not mentioned here? Please share it with me.
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