It’s been a great year in publishing, with more and more options for independent authors, and more and more opportunities for smart promotion.
In July two giants of the publishing world – Penguin and Random House – announced their merger, with ramifications yet to be seen by aspiring authors.
Meanwhile, independent publishing continues to improve: earlier this year Bowker launched SelfPublishedAuthor.com to provide more resources to writers interested in self-publishing. CreateSpace, Lulu, and Smashwords, three of the largest self-publishing platforms, continued to refine and polish their offers: in September Lulu introduced new book templates, while Amazon introduced its MatchBook program; MatchBook program enables readers to purchase Kindle books at a discount rate after purchasing their print editions.
During the summer Smashwords introduced a Pre-Order Feature which allows authors to further engage in advance marketing, and increase the discoverability of their books.
In March Goodreads, a popular book recommendation site with over 20 million users, was acquired by Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer and bookseller. Amazon has integrated Goodreads with its various Kindle models, and enhanced the social benefits of reading, sharing, spotting trends, and reviewing books online.
Authors and publishers continue to innovate and transform the industry: this fall Random House partnered with Pinterest to feature popular pins related to books, and thus help readers find new titles.
Surprisingly, in 2013 e-book sales stagnated, at about 30 percent of the market in terms of units and 15 percent in terms of dollars – that’s according to the Book Industry Study Group via Digital Book World.
All in all, it’s been an exciting time in publishing. Aspiring authors have more and more options to publish and market their titles, so that both writers and readers benefit.