The Future of Business Books

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There’s only one thing we can be sure of about the future: it will be different than today.

The best we can do is make educated guesses. Here are some of mine about what’s ahead for business book authors.

The future of business books is ebooks

More and more business readers are buying and reading more and more of their books in electronic form. You may have heard that the growth rate for ebooks is slowing down. That’s not exactly true.

Purchases of ebooks have been artificially high for the last few years. What’s happened is that many business readers (including me) have been buying electronic versions of books we already had on our shelves. It’s exactly what we did with our music collections when CDs first came out.

Plan to write a book that you will publish in electronic form. If it sells, you can re-create it in paper.

Electronic means more than just books

What we create as authors will be more than a book. I’m working with clients now who are considering “constellations” of media, including audio, video, and graphics. The idea is that different people can come to the material and find what they want in a form they prefer.

Among the advantages of electronic materials is that they can be stored in the cloud and used on a variety of devices. The catch is that you’ve got to do a good job with each one.

You’d better master your material

I suspect that marketing in world festooned in social media will be more about demonstrating expertise and value and less about “selling” either your books or you. That takes away anyplace you used to be able to hide. If you’re good, it will show. If you’re not, you’ll get called out.

This is good for authors

There will surely be things that won’t work. There will be unfairness, that’s how life is. But there’s never been a time in history where authors controlled more of their destiny than now. And it’s only going to get better.

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