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Summary:

What does next year have in store for the digital content business? Our media team offers some predictions, from cord cutting and apps to self publishing and paywalls.

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Laura Owen

 
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1. Remaining book publishers will settle with the DOJ in the ebook pricing lawsuit:. HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster and Hachette have already settled, while Macmillan and Penguin are still fighting. To be clear, I don’t believe publishers and Apple conspired to set ebook prices, as the DOJ alleges. But with Random House and Penguin preparing to merge, a drawn-out trial seems like a drag on moving forward, and Macmillan (smallest of the big-six publishers) doesn’t have the funds for a long trial. I’m not going to try to predict what Apple will do — maybe they’ll keep fighting. (I hope I’m wrong about the settlement because reporting on the trial from court would be extremely interesting.)

2. A well-known author will turn down a seven-figure deal to self-publish: I think 2013 is the year we will see a famous author turn down their long-time traditional publisher and self-publish their new book — even just as an experiment. This author would likely be someone with a very large fan base and social media presence and the ability to reach readers directly across platforms. I don’t believe this person would sign an exclusive deal with Amazon; rather, I see him or her selling directly through a website and other retailers. Authors who would be capable of doing this include Neil Gaiman, Jennifer Weiner, Jodi Picoult and Lee Child.

3. Barnes & Noble will drastically cut back its Nook product line: In 2012, Nook released a new glow-in-the-dark e-reader and two new Nook HD tablets, which means that B&N now sells two e-readers, one super-low-end e-reader/tablet, two low-end tablets, and two HD tablets. Why? Who is buying them? B&N’s share of the ebook market has been stuck around 25 percent for months, and there are plenty of other low-priced tablets on the market. Microsoft has invested $300 million in the Nook business, but that doesn’t have to mean more Nook devices: instead, it should mean developing better Windows 8 reading apps and trying to spread Nook business internationally with the devices it already has.

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  1. Attitude, yazsir, attitude.

    With all due respect for your curatorial capabilities, I noticed no “daring” predictions in your comment.

    IMO, antipodal articles reviewing the past year and predicting the one ahead are not mean as exercises in memory and clairvoyance. They’re extensions of the age-old tradition of pausing at year’s end to appreciate what we’ve been through and gather our resources for what’s likely to come.

    “What We’ll See in 2013 in Digital Media” does a credible job of the latter.

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  2. “I don’t believe publishers and Apple conspired to set ebook prices…”

    Hahaha! That explains why they made all those arguments about why they were JUSTIFIED in colluding.

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