New Year’s Resolutions for the Book Publishing Industry

Publishers: In 2013, publishers should resolve to find new ways to develop more of the intellectual property they own. Whether that’s turning a gardening book into an app, partnering with a new-media production company to turn a short story collection into a YouTube series, or simply finding a better way to monetize the digital back-list, there’s a lot of unexploited opportunities out there for publishers in the ebook era — and they should take advantage.

Authors: In 2013, authors should resolve to think deeply about what they want out of their writing lives and make an informed decision about the best way to get what they want. There are authors who say they’ll never self-publish and those who say that’s all they’ll do (learn much more on this at DBW 2013 — exclusive presentation on our wide-ranging survey of what authors want on Jan. 17 at 8:40 A.M.). Depending on an author’s goal — money, self-fulfillment, advancing their career — different options are best. No one size fits all. And with full-service publishers, digital publishers and a whole range of self-publishing services, they have a lot of options.

Agents: In 2013, agents should resolve to buckle down and fight for higher ebook royalty rates and more flexibly contracts for their clients. Authors who sell their ebooks direct (very hard to do on one’s own), they get 100% of the proceeds. If they go right to Amazon, they get 70%. They get a little less if they use various self-publishing services. With many traditional publishers, it’s thought that they get 25%. You can do better than that, agents! Related: my Q&A with super-agent Jane Dystel.

Librarians: In 2013, librarians should resolve to stop screaming about ebooks. I know this is a huge issue in the library community. I’ve covered it closely in the past year (this, by far, being my favorite article on it). I don’t fully understand librarians yet or the world in which they work, but I have learned this: For any good librarian, the most important thing is getting access to information for her patrons. In the hyper-connected era in which we live, there are is far lower-hanging and juicier fruit for librarians than to get a handful of the biggest publishers to make their best-sellers available cheaply as ebooks. If working with libraries on ebooks is as beneficial to publishers as librarians say it is, publishers will come around. Let them while you focus on more important things.

For the full content, visit FORBES.


Self Publishing Books and Authors is a resource for book publishing tips, articles, or reviews and other stuff about authors and books. We also publish news about independent or self publishers. Feel free to send me the link or the content if you wish to contribute to the blog. Want to publish your book? Send us your queries to

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One comment on “New Year’s Resolutions for the Book Publishing Industry
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