Publishing Industry Trends for 2016

At the beginning of January, I blogged about some marketing and publishing predictions for 2016 that I thought you should be aware of. These were great predictions, but not all were directly related to publishing and promoting a book. Today, I am going to talk about some tactics book publishers plan to engage in this year.


Book Business, a magazine for book production and manufacturing, recently conducted its annual Trendspotting Survey that asks leaders in the book industry to share what technology they plan to invest in and which products and platforms they anticipate will drive revenue growth for their publishing organizations for the coming year. A few of the insights Book Business gleaned from this year’s survey include:

1. Digital printing will grow in 2016.
More publishers indicated that they plan to spend dollars on print-on-demand for this year than previously. Since many answering this survey were larger publishers, this means that these publishers are transitioning more from traditional printing to print-on-demand.

2. Interest in email marketing is growing.
Last year email marketing was near the bottom of publisher’s technology priorities. This year over one-fourth of publishers reported that they plan to invest in email marketing.

3. eBooks and print books are expected to drive the most revenue growth in 2016.
Even though audiobooks make up one of the fastest growing segments of the book industry, most publishers believe ebooks and print books will lead revenue growth this year.

4. Social media will play a significant role in book marketing in 2016.
Book Business asked survey respondents what marketing platforms they think offer the greatest opportunity to grow profits. Two-thirds of respondents reported that social media offered the most opportunity for the coming year.

What do these trends mean for you, the small publisher or independently published author? I think there are two important things to note from these trends.

First, publishers are planning to invest more in email marketing this coming year. While social media is growing as a way to connect with consumers, email still remains one of the strongest marketing tools. Expert marketers consistently rank email as the single most effective tactic for awareness, acquisition, conversion, and retention with customers. Some statistics say that the average return is $44.25 for every $1 spent on email marketing. If you are not using email as part of your book promotion strategy, I encourage you to begin to do so this year.

Second, social media is here to stay. It is growing in as a tool for people to not only stay connected with others, but also as a news source. Studies show that 72% of all Internet users are now active on social media. Taking your message to where your audience hangs out is an important strategy in promoting a book. As such, social media is increasingly becoming an integral part of marketing campaigns as more people are hanging out on that medium.

So, as you plan your book promotion strategies moving forward, I encourage you to invest in both email marketing as well as social media to get the word out about your book.

Related Posts:
Predictions for 2016 That You Should Know
How to Effectively Use Social Media for Your Book
Email Marketing is Still Important

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Ingram Spark

Move over Random House. The publishing world is changing. No longer do large publishing houses have the same hold on the book industry. Now, small publishers and authors are producing books and selling them, sometimes in large quantities. In fact, small publishers now make up 20% of the publishing industry.


The publishing world is beginning to embrace this seismic shift. Ingram, the largest book wholesale company once only deigned to work with publishers with 10 or more titles. When print-on-demand appeared, they opened Lightning Source and allowed small publishers to use this service to gain distribution. Then, about 2 years ago, they allowed the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) to form an agreement with them in regards to IBPA member publishers. This agreement allows member publishers of IBPA to obtain distribution for a print book with Ingram (with a setup fee of $300) if they agree to participate in at least one of Ingram’s marketing programs.

Now, Ingram is going one step further to engage more small and self-publishers—all in an effort to stay in the game and to make more money. Next month, they are launching a new publishing platform called Ingram Spark.

Ingram Spark will be a “Publish on Demand” platform which will incorporate both print and ebook distribution. By combining print and digital platforms, the program is supposed to simply the entire distribution process while offering Ingram’s worldwide reach.

With Ingram Spark, it will be free to open an account. However, there will be setup fees. Spark will charge a $49 fee to publish both an ebook and a print book ($25 for just an ebook). In addition, there will be a $12 fee per year to be listed in Ingram’s catalog (as with Lightning Source). Publishers will be paid a royalty when books are sold—40% for ebooks and 45% for print books (not sure if that is after printing costs or not). Publishers will have the ability to set that retail price, but Ingram will set a fixed discount for retail sales (unlike Lightning Source where the publisher can choose the discount).

This leaves me with the question of what the advantage of Ingram Spark will be over Ingram’s existing Lightning Source program. The only thing I can think of is that it will make the process of setting up both print-on-demand and ebook distribution easier for a publisher since both will be under the same account. Currently, print and ebook distribution are two separate agreements and processes with Lightning Source. Other than that, I don’t see any other advantages. Maybe you do. If so, let me know.

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Expanding Print-On-Demand Options

I am a book person. I know book publishing. Once in a while, as the Director of Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA), I get inquiries from individuals and companies who are looking to branch into magazine publishing. These people want information and resources related to publishing magazines. For the most part, I really can’t help them.


The little I know about magazine publishing can be put into this blog post. I won’t bore you with it. However, as with books and newspapers, the trend with magazines is also going digital. Magazine publishers can’t seem to sustain enough print subscribers to justify the cost of large print-runs. When you have dwindling print subscribers, the math stops adding up to a profit.

Ingram’s newest program may be the answer for some magazine publishers. The Ingram Content Group Inc. recently announced the launch of a print-on-demand program for journals (fancy word for magazines). Contending that this new program will “reshape the traditional supply chain” in journal publishing, Ingram is now extending its print-on-demand services for books to journals.

Under this new program, Ingram provides publishers with the tools to manage their print journals from file set-up to print-on-demand to delivery. Using a website, publishers can upload and manage content and subscription lists, designate fulfillment requirements, and place print orders for direct delivery to their subscribers.

Here is the neat part. Using POD for magazines can provide many of the same benefits the process does for books, eliminating overprinting and warehousing, reducing overhead, and providing improved inventory control.

Ingram’s new print-on-demand for journals program will begin this month. If you publish a magazine, you may want to check out Ingram’s new program.

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Print-on-Demand is In-Demand

Books still produce revenue. As businesses grow wise to the ability of print-on-demand technology to provide a new revenue stream with minimum monetary investment, more and more websites are beginning to publish and sell books to their visitors. Wikipedia is the latest website to use print-on-demand technology to sell books.

Wikipedia is the largest encyclopedia in the world. It is a virtual treasure trove of information developed over the past decade. This open source, collaborative encyclopedia was and is being developed through contributions of ordinary people around the globe. Wikipedia’s images and content are licensed so they are free for anyone to access, use, and share.

Wikipedia is now offering readers the ability to create custom books from their huge database of free content. Readers can print a book on any subject, choosing which information in Wikipedia they want to appear in their book.

Wikipedia’s custom books are printed by PediaPress. PediaPress has partnered with Wikipedia and other free educational wikis to offer this book-printing service.

Currently, these custom books are available in paperback format, with hardbacks to be offered later. Pricing depends on the number of pages in a book with current prices starting at $8.90. Alternatively, instead of ordering a print copy, Wikipedia is allowing readers to download their custom books in .pdf format for free.

Creating a custom book on Wikipedia is simple. Just start the “book creator,” pick your articles, then preview and order your book. The video below gives a short demo on how the book creator works.

If you think the print book is dead, think again. Print-on-demand technology may just keep it alive. After all, word on the street has it that Scribd is gearing up to start offering readers the ebooks listed on their site as print books using print-on-demand technology.

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How to Avoid Becoming an Average Self-Published Title, a print-on-demand (POD) publisher, is currently publishing about 1,000 new books each month. This works out to 12,000 self-published titles per year. That is just one print-on-demand self-publishing company. Add to that the other large self-publishing POD companies like BookSurge, AuthorHouse, iUniverse, Outskirsts, Xulon, and BookLocker (to just name a few) and the numbers of self-published POD books rapidly increase.

One statistic I recently read reported that 78% of new titles come from a small press or self-publisher. This is easy to believe based on the number of self-publishing POD companies that are growing and increasing the number of titles they are printing.realprinterpicthumb

Since it is now so affordable to print a book, more and more wannabe authors are choosing to self-publish their books. One recent survey showed that 81% of people feel that they have a book in them and should write it. That means that over 200 million people in the United States want to write a book in their lifetime. And today, with print-on-demand publishing, most people can afford to write and publish their book.

However, there is a catch. (There’s always a catch).

The average number of copies sold per self-published POD title is 75. Over 70% of books published in the United States do not make a profit. Many of these are self-published POD books.

If you are a self-published author (or planning on becoming one), how can you beat these statistics? How can you sell more than 75 books and make a profit?

The answer is simple.

First, write a quality book that is properly edited, typeset, and boasts a professional cover design.

Second, educate yourself about how to market a book. There are plenty of good books, seminars, and author and publisher associations that teach you how to market.

Third, follow the advice you receive and market, market, market your book. Your book will not sell itself, you must sell it.

Fourth, pray. Cover all your efforts with prayer. Trust that if God has led you to write your book he will help you get it into the hands of those who need to read it.

Don’t become a statistic. Become a success!

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