< back to full list of articles
Director’s Desk: Five Things to Watch in 2016

or Article Tags


by Angela Bole, CEO, Independent Book Publishers Association

Angela Bole

It’s January and you know what that means: a new year stretches before us ripe for the filling. If you’re like me, you have many exciting projects on your plate and plenty of trends to consider. In honor of this busy time, I thought I’d pull together a brief list of five things to keep an eye on in 2016. You’ll find a couple of events, some trends, and one infamous brick-and-mortar bookstore.

Of course, there’s lots more to keep on your radar, and I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please email them to me at angela@ibpa-online.org for consideration in a future blog post on ibpa-online.org.

Now, on with the show.

BookExpo America in Chicago, Illinois

For the first time since 2009, BookExpo America (BEA) takes a break from New York City in favor of the Windy City: Chicago. BEA visits Chicago’s McCormick Place from May 11–13. All of us at IBPA figured this would mean decreased costs, but be aware! Microsoft Ignite will share Chicago with BEA in May. This means discounted hotel rooms could go quicker than usual. And, of course, booth rental fees have increased, per usual. To help combat the rising prices, IBPA has partnered with BookExpo to offer low-cost booth design packages to members who purchase a 10×10 space within our complex on the show floor. In addition, our cooperative booth fee will stay the same as it ever was—just $185 per title.

More information is available online.

Amazon’s First Brick-and-Mortar Bookstore

On Nov. 3, 2015, Amazon opened its first physical bookstore, Amazon Books, in the University Village shopping mall in Seattle, Washington, and the book industry took notice. According to Jennifer Cast, vice president of Amazon Books, since the store “will be limited by four walls” that can house only between 5,000 and 6,000 titles, the buying focus is placed on “great books.” All books carried by the store have at least a four-star rating from Amazon customers and are placed face out on the shelves. In a Nov. 6, 2015, article by Jim Milliot on PublishersWeekly.com, Cast acknowledged that while Amazon has certain goals in mind for the store, they “have no idea what is going to happen.” I suppose that means we’ll all be waiting to see.

Slipping E-book Sales—or Not

In September 2015, the New York Times finally caught wind of an industry story those in the know had been talking about for months. In an article titled “The Plot Twist: E-Book Sales Slip, and Print is Far From Dead,” NYT reported on data the Association of American Publishers collected from 1,200 publishers indicating that e-book sales fell by 10 percent in the first five months of 2015. Interesting data, but in the fourth paragraph from the bottom of the 1,300-word article, NYT hits on something that could use a bit more fleshing out:

“It is also possible that a growing number of people are still buying and reading e-books, just not from traditional publishers. The declining e-book sales reported by publishers do not account for the millions of readers who have migrated to cheap and plentiful self-published e-books, which often cost less than a dollar.”

While declining e-book sales continue to plague the Big Five publishers (see also “Declining E-book Sales Hit Home” published Nov. 6, 2015, on PublishersWeekly.com), indie publishers and self-publishers continue to find relevance in the platform. Will 2016 bring a deeper
split here?

Increased Use of the On-Sale Date Among Self-published Authors

Toward the end of August 2015, IngramSpark rolled out nine new metadata fields, including the addition of an on-sale date option.

I’ve often thought small presses and self-publishers were at a disadvantage since the tools they used, like IngramSpark and CreateSpace, didn’t allow for long-term publication plans. However, with the on-sale date option, IngramSpark publishers now have the ability to select an on-sale date for their print titles (this functionality already existed on the e-book side). By setting an on-sale date prior to the publication date, publishers can market their book and collect pre-orders leading up to the publication date. This is a huge step toward leveling the playing field for self-published authors in the professional book market, and I look forward to seeing many take advantage of it in 2016.

IBPA’s Publishing University 2016

In the business of publishing, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. This is why IBPA launched Publishing University more than 25 years ago. If you go to one publishing conference in 2016, Publishing University should be it. Scheduled for April 8–9 in Salt Lake City, Utah, Publishing University presents a professional, community-oriented environment where you’ll be exposed to new ideas and creative thinking that will support your individualized publishing goals. But don’t just take my word for it! Check out the previous attendee testimonials available at publishinguniversity.org. For example, Karen Gray of Acacia Publishing, Inc. in Phoenix, Arizona, wrote:

“Attending the IBPA Publishing University was worth every penny and every minute away from my office. I have learned so much from IBPA that all I can say is that I wish I’d discovered it much sooner. A lot of wasted time and money could have been saved, and my company would be much further along in its development had I known of IBPA sooner.”

Again, I welcome your emails to angela@ibpa-online.org with additional trends and events to look out for in 2016. Here’s to a strong new year!

Just before Angela Bole became IBPA’s Executive Director, she was Deputy Executive Director of the Book Industry Study Group, Inc. (BISG), which fosters conversation and consensus across all sectors of the book business. Before that, Angela served for two years as BISG’s Associate Director and two years as its Marketing and Communications Manager. Angela also serves as Treasurer on the Board of Directors of IDPF, the International Digital Publishing Forum.

Connect With Us

1020 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Suite 204 Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
P: 310-546-1818 F: 310-546-3939 E: info@IBPA-online.org
© Independent Book Publishers Association