There will be no seismic shifts in what we’ll be reading this year — we’ll still have our traditional genres such as romance, thrillers, biographies, memoirs, etc. The change, notes Celeste Fine, a senior vice president/literary agent at Folio Literary Management, comes in how we’re reading — which leads to big changes in the industry.
The e-book takes over
“I think the e-book is what will have people talking this year,” says Fine. “In fact, we’ll be seeing a lot more nontraditional, e-book options.” Fine points to Karen Hunter, a former journalist and co-author of several books, who is the new head of an urban — but all e-format — imprint, as one example. “Publishing houses aren’t going to be afraid to lead off with an electronic book, whereas before it was kind of a last-ditch effort.”
But due to these changes, new writers have more opportunity
Although the demise of the traditional book and stores means bad things for most published writers, the advance of the e-book format means more and more writers can find an audience (but without, perhaps, the money behind them). “E-books are a huge opportunity for new writers,” says Fine about the format. “It’s truly a great, democratic opportunity.”
Children’s and YA titles will keep making money
But one area that’s still healthy in the book publishing world, says Fine, are the Children’s and Young Adults imprints. “Children’s and Young Adult imprints are still putting a lot of money into their titles because their readers still buy traditional books,” she notes.
A change in the bookstore
2011 might also be the year we see the demise of the traditional, big-box bookstore. “I don’t know how many of those will survive,” Fine notes. “Independent book stores are, for the first time, doing better than the Borders and Barnes and Nobles of the world.” As Fine sees it, these changes have huge ripple effects in the book publishing industry. “The stores don’t have the traffic so they place much smaller orders. So unless you’re a huge name or a big celebrity, you’re not going to get the advance or the sales you once would have. The small-print runs are bad news for all the debut authors out there.”