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 one safe prediction you can make about the future is that you can’t predict it. But here are ten guesses about where the industry is heading:
–They are essential to the discoverability and the future of print books.
–They will use different business models, including co-ops; nonprofits like other cultural institutions; a combination store like the carwash cum bookstore and beauty salon cum bookstore that already exist; and membership-based businesses in which customers prepay for books.
–They will be five-minute Amazons: they will have the books customers want because they will have EBMs, Espresso Book Machines, also essential to the future of print books. EBMs will enable stores to
* Sell books in and out of print
* Stock one copy of ten books instead of ten copies of one book
* Never run out of books at an event
* Print books their customers write
* Publish books such as anthologies of costumers’ work
–If needed, they will have cafes.
–Besides providing a respite from staring at screens, bookstores will be needed even more as community centers that respond to their community’s needs and tastes, offer events and classes, and serve as a meeting place for reading groups, and writers’ and community organizations.
–Their customers will understand that a quarter of every dollar spent in a chain store leaves the community while indies spend that income in the community.
–They will stock magazines to help keep customers informed and print media alive.
–They will offer same-day delivery.
–Online and off, major media will be increasingly compromised by advertisers and corporate imperatives, so readers will understand that bookstores are as essential to the flow of information as libraries.
–Knowing this will prod the American Booksellers Association and Association of American Publishers to collaborate on finding communities that want bookstores and helping them to start them and ensuring they have EBMs.
To sum up these fantasies in one sentence: the future will be a golden age for writers, booksellers, and publishers who rise to meet the challenges and opportunities of permanent turbulence.
The goal of the blog is to help us both understand writing and publishing. Questions and additions most welcome.
The 5th San Francisco Writing for Change Conference / Changing the World One Book at a Time
Jean Shinoda Bolen, Moving Toward the Millionth Circle: Energizing the Global Women’s Movement
The 11th San Francisco Writers Conference / A Celebration of Craft, Commerce & Community
Michael Larsen-Elizabeth Pomada Literary Agents / Helping Writers Launch Careers Since 1972