More of the high street bookshops revival, continued popularity for the vloggers, strength in children's and audio, and a renewed emphasis on diversity in the publishing workforce, are among the predictions for 2016 from the trade's leading figures.
In The Bookseller's annual round-up of industry predictions, Penguin Random House UK c.e.o. Tom Weldon [pictured] thinks: "One of the biggest challenges in 2016 will be e-book pricing: how do we maintain the value perception of our quality content and maximise revenues across all formats for both authors and publishers?" Meanwhile for Tim Hely Hutchinson, c.e.o. of Hachette UK, "we must have the imagination to see that our future goes beyond a print up/e-book down analysis. The real job ahead of all of us is to ensure that we compete with all forms of digital media."
At HarperCollins, UK c.e.o. Charlie Redmayne thinks: "We should expect business models and publishing mind-sets to further adapt and change in 2016. Amazon’s growth into new business models such as Kindle Unlimited will continue apace and it will push even harder to put its publishing and new businesses front and centre, often to the exclusion of traditional publishers’ books."
On the plus side for the industry, Oneworld publisher Juliet Mabey speaks for many when she says: "In 2015 we saw a strong swing back to the high street with brick and mortar bookshops like Waterstones reporting very healthy numbers compared to five years ago, and I think this trend will continue in 2016, which would be very welcome news for publishers large and small."
Meanwhile Harlequin executive publisher Lisa Milton notes: "Readers are proving very adept at adopting new models, and we should all feel excited by the extraordinary strength of the audio market. There is far more to come in the area of bespoke publishing, with the cult of the individual helping personalised books becoming a significant phenomenon."
Penguin Random House Children's m.d. Francesca Dow says there is "plenty of entrepreneurial opportunity for publishers in the market. The competition to capture the attention of kids on their smartphones has never been more intense; and YouTube and other online direct to consumer content is probably here to stay."
Pan Macmillan m.d. Anthony Forbes Watson predicts that publishers will start to target the "empty midnight hours" as their next sales opportunity, while Profile m.d. Andrew Franklin opines: "I predict that the last adult colouring book will be sold on February 29th 2016. On 1st March mountains of unsold colouring books will be returned from bookshops and wholesalers all over the country for pulping."
Meanwhile Curtis Brown senior agent Gordon Wise reviews the publisher landscape, noting: "With PRH establishing its post-merger status quo, agents and authors will be watching to see how each Hachette division forges its own identity and offering now they literally sit back to back."
Several cite diversity as a key issue for the trade this year, with Redmayne saying it "will continue to become an increasingly crucial part of our publishing and employee make-up."
Subscribers can read The Bookseller's full c.e.o. predictions feature here.