It’s a new year.  While everyone else is working on maintaining their New Year’s Resolutions (and a great number have already fallen off the bandwagon), publishing companies are struggling to make sure they project themselves into the future.  As the publishing industry struggles and sales fall, the major companies are innovating new ways of selling books, and getting people to read them.

What are the industry’s predictions for this coming new year?

1. Rise of the e-book. E-book sales grew in 2010 as more and more indie authors started publishing their books electronically, and they will only continue to do so in the coming year. According to the publishing blog Galley Cat , e-books will account for 20% of book revenues. That seems like quite a hefty amount for what is still a relatively new phenomenon, but the increasing accessibility of e-books makes them all the more appealing. E-books are cheaper, are available through popular retailers such as Amazon, and can be read anywhere.

2. Subsequently, agents and publishers will encourage authors to go the e-book route immediately, rather than after print publication. Not only are e-books “better” (depending on your perspective) for readers, but also for authors, whose publications can be published much faster electronically than they can in print. Thus, their books can reach readers faster.

3. Self-publishing will become much more popular as more authors begin to go digital. Authors will less and less need the help and management of big publishers.

4. As a response, the big-name publishers will have to increase e-book royalties in order to keep authors coming to them for their services. E-book prices will fall as well, in order to meet the growing demand and the publishers’ need to bring in revenue.

5. Readers will start to take precedence over publishers. Rather than publishers deciding what the hits are going to be (they have a great amount of control over which books are successful and which are not), the readers will have increased say, thanks to word-of-mouth and social media (such as blogs, Facebook, etc.).

6. Publishers will rely less on established, successful authors for hits, and more for undiscovered writers.

The publishing world better be ready for some upheaval this year—it should be getting used to it, as readership and modes of reading have altered drastically within the last five years.

In addition, Galley Cat created a “Best Novels of 2010” list. Happened to miss any of these novels last year? Don’t worry, you can catch up on your reading in 2011!  Make it a New Years’ Resolution. Maybe you’ll finish this list by the time the “Best Novels of 2011” list is out.

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