The Year Ahead: 2015
This is my annual post where I look ahead to the next year. I’ll make some predictions, but I’ll warn you ahead of time…I don’t always get things right.
First, let’s see how I did with my predictions and speculation for 2014:
Kindle Unlimited: Amazon does an “all you can eat” plan
Hit. I not only got it right, I predicted the name! I was off on the pricing, but this still a definite hit.
New lines of hardware from Amazon
Hit. I predicted the Fire TV with “…I think it’s more likely that we see some television solution from Amazon (something with Miracast, perhaps, to work with the Fires), than a bunch of radical new tablets obsoleting this year’s. Adding a rear camera to a 7″ tablet, for example.” That also predicted the camera which they did add. I also thought we might see a phone, and we did.
A major change at Barnes & Noble
Hit. Barnes & Noble is splitting off the NOOK business from the retail business.
Kobo makes a significantly new EBR
Hit. I said, “Kobo might go with a $200 or $250 luxury EBR with something outstanding like that,” and they introduced a waterproof EBR (E-Book Reader), the Kobo Aura H20 at about $180…close enough to claim it.
Legal recognition of personal use digitization
Miss. I said I was going out on a limb on this one…I think we are getting closer, but I’m calling this a miss.
Kindle Worlds expands
Hit. I said, “I’m going to guess that Kindle Worlds gets at least three more major licenses during 2014.” New worlds included Veronica Mars, G.I. Joe, series from Barbara Freethy and H.M. Ward, and more.
Wow! I did so well last year, I’ve intimidated myself. 😉 That’s my best year to date, and it will be hard to top.
At least one Big Five publisher joins Kindle Unlimited
This one feels very shaky…I could see them just hunkering down. However, I do think this is possible, especially if it is in a limited way. For example, Macmillan might just make some backlist titles, but not the frontlist. I would like to see this happen. If it doesn’t, we may see stronger divergence between the tradpubs (the traditional publishers) and Amazon, with them both developing strong but separate markets over time (that wouldn’t all happen next year).
The Amazon Echo is a hit and we see competitors
Okay, this isn’t exactly an e-book prediction, but it will impact Amazon and that impacts e-books. Not only that, but there is some interaction now between the Echo and books (some people listen to audiobooks through it via Bluetooth, and text-to-speech may work through it). I’m not sure that someone like Apple or Samsung would step into the ambient computing market as soon as next year, but there might be a knock-off type less expensive product. In the future, I think it may include a scanning system to recognize things (perhaps incorporating Firefly) but not for next year.
Amazon brings Dynamic Perspective to a few e-books
I don’t think Amazon is done with the Fire Phone (we might even see a second version next year), and I don’t think they are done with its two big features: dynamic perspective and Firefly. Dynamic perspective (I have fun calling it “dy-per”) gives you the illusion of 3D: as your head moves, you see different parts of the scene. It requires many cameras, so they can’t just do it with a special book file on a tablet…but I think they might do something like pop-up books for the Fire Phone or for something else with the camera array.
Amazon does a digitization service for authors and for public domain books
This is another one of those pie-in-the-sky predictions, but I could see it happening. You own the rights to a book, or you have a public domain book. You send it to Amazon, and they digitize it, probably including some formatting (such as an active table of contents). You publish it exclusively with Amazon (they’ll require you to do something to generate a new copyright for a public domain title, such as adding new illustrations or an introduction), and there is a split (maybe 30% Amazon). The exclusivity might be only for six months. This would give Amazon a lot more exclusives, and would put them in the role of preserving literature and getting it public distribution. I suppose they could even do a digitization service for public domain books which they make available for free…that would be a lot of good will. Maybe call it…”Kindle Phoenix”? “Kindle Evolution”? “Kindle Vault?” The last one might have the least chance of offending people. 😉
A new text-to-speech device
I’m not quite sure how, but I have a sense that Amazon might bring back text-to-speech in something other than a tablet. It could be adding it to an EBR (which is where I’d like to see it), but it could be a wearable. I could see a watch that did music, audiobooks, and TTS from files: you wouldn’t sight read on it, it just did the audio (and it could connect to an external speaker for better sound or you could use earphones).
Well, I’m not all that confident with those…we’ll see! Now for some that don’t count: I’m not sure which way to go with Apple: I think it’s possible they’ll win their appeal, but that seems somewhat unlikely to me. I have a vague sense that something major may happen with Stephen King…that’s an innovative person who will take some chances. Might be opening a bookstore, might be something with virtual reality…could be something personal, although we’ll know about it. I’d be surprised by a mainstream color EBR next year. I think the new Congress may not pass equal collection legislation, or do a lot of copyright reform, but time will tell.
What do you think? Do you have predictions for 2015? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.
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