EBook industry likely to evolve significantly in 2013

As the new year begins, many industry watchers have questions about the future of eBooks. Will sales of eReaders continue to grow, or will demand gradually diminish? Will the cost of eBooks change? Will more authors turn to smaller independent ePublishers instead of major publishing firms?

Recently, Anna Baddeley, writing for The Guardian, addressed these issues and many others, offering her predictions for the ePublishing industry in 2013.

An evolving industry
Baddeley asserted that in order to make predictions for the future of eBook publishing, it is necessary to consider what trends are developing in the United States. These trends, Baddeley suggested, will set the tone for the eBook industry's future in the U.K. and abroad.

Baddeley offered a variety of predictions concerning the condition of the eBook industry in the coming year. For one thing, she asserted that eBooks will "continue to cost less than a single espresso."

While the low price of eBooks will likely ensure that sales increase, the same cannot be said of eReaders, according to Baddeley. Instead, she asserted that consumers will turn to tablets. She predicted that before too long, a basic Kindle or Nook eReader will have approximately the same price as a hardback book.

Baddeley also suggested that independent eBook publishing will continue to grow. In response, established ePublishers will launch more self-publishing services. She cited Simon & Schuster's creation of Archway as an early example of this trend.

Perhaps most notably, Baddeley predicted that 2013 will see a growing number of eBook exclusive works. These, she wrote, will not be limited to shorts, but rather include full-length works. She noted that Picador will soon release a digital-first political novel in four installments, a strategy which may become increasingly popular among ePublishers.

Steady growth
While Baddeley focused her predictions primarily on the ways the eBook industry will evolve, other experts have paid attention to more basic issues. For example, Huffington Post contributor Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords, recently predicted that 2013 will be the first year in which eBooks surpass paper books in terms of total unit volume.

Coker also suggested that eBooks will account for 45 percent of all U.S. trade book sales by the end of 2013. In 2012, eBooks represented only approximately 30 percent of this market.

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