Industry insiders give their predictions for 2015

Industry insiders give their predictions for 2015

Self-publishing will continue to grow, subscription services will move into the mainstream, and the general election will dominate in 2015, publishing industry insiders have predicted.

Figures from trade and educational publishing, as well as from bookselling, agenting and writing, have shared what they think is in store for the industry in the coming 12 months with The Bookseller.

The full piece, which includes predictions from London Book Fair director Jacks Thomas, publisher Iain Dale, Penguin Random House UK c.e.o. Tom Weldon, and Head of Zeus c.e.o. Amanda Ridout, can be read by subscribers here.

Pan Macmillan m.d. Anthony Forbes Watson said the general election would be of concern, as “a year in which there is a general election is a year of uncertainty”, while Richard Mollet, c.e.o. of The Publishers Association, said the election would dominate people’s lives, “more after than before” as the new government’s policies start to be implemented.

Hodder Education m.d. Lis Tribe said the political arena would “provide an extra frisson of excitement for educational publishers in 2015”, as planned A-level reform changes, passed by the current government, could be put on hold if the Labour Party gets into power.

“Publishers introducing their new materials from January onwards will have their eyes fixed on May 7th with a great deal of interest this year,” she added.
Hachette UK’s head of digital George Walkley said “the app market continues to present both opportunity and challenge, but experience has shown that publishers of all sizes can create winning apps”.

He said that, as the industry likes "nothing so much as a bandwagon”, he expected a “renewed interest in podcasts following the Serial phenomenon”. 

Daniel Hahn, chairman of the Society of Authors, said the battle with writers would be around “fair contract terms and reasonable remuneration”, while individual authors will “continue to explore new ways of getting their work to readers, whenever traditional publishing looks like it’s failing them”.

Orna Ross, director of the Alliance of Independent Authors, predicted the industry would “see author-publishing continuing to mature in 2015 and continuing to expand into other territories”. She said there would be breakouts in all genres and more “mid-list self-publishers leaving their day jobs to become full-time writers”, with 2015 being “the year when we’ll see the first big literary self-publishing breakout”.

Curtis Brown literary agent Karolina Sutton said that “digital subscription models will enter the mainstream and we’ll talk of little else”, while there will be of more investment in British debuts.

She said vloggers – video bloggers – “will thrive and peak”, while literary agent Caroline Sheldon said “a number of books by celebrity bloggers with big advances will fail”.

In academic publishing Cambridge University Press c.e.o. Peter Phillips predicted that 2015 will be the year “that the first major wave of adaptive learning products will be brought to market” leading to a “dramatic shift as publishers begin to offer enhanced educational content personalised for the learner”.

Annette Thomas, Macmillan Science and Education, c.e.o., said: “Technology has meant the reduction of barriers to entry for new publishers and for individuals with the ability now to self-publish and to submit direct research with open access platforms. These realities now mean that consumers have a dizzying array of options and choices before them. When you combine this reality with the emergence of agile publishing to break down learning experiences, research and entertainment into modules of content, it’s not hard to see that the new business imperative will be to optimise discoverability.”