#1 -- The year of the richer ebook. Let's face it. The e-future of this industry is not quick-and-dirty p-to-e conversions. Pricing pressures and value propositions mean these will be nothing more than revenue rounding errors for the foreseeable future. 2010 will be the year where we'll see more investment in richer e-content products. I'm not talking about simply slapping some video into a book, btw. We'll see more digital-first initiatives where the print version, if there even is one, will be considered secondary. Start thinking about not just reading but overall entertainment. Think also about the capabilities of multi-function devices, not dedicated e-readers. More on that in a moment...
#2 -- Most publishers will largely ignore prediction #1. Call it another case of "The Innovator's Dilemma". Far too many publishers will continue treating e-content as an easy way to squeeze a few more bucks out of Kindle editions of print products. Those publishers should remember that the core concept behind "The Innovator's Dilemma" is that this approach leaves the door wide open for a start-up to reinvent the entire industry.
#3 -- Single-purpose, dedicated devices lose momentum to multi-purpose ones. Thanks in large part to prediction #1, more and more prospective customers will find it harder to justify a $300 investment in a dedicated device. (Btw, I had a chance to play with a Nook at B&N recently. I saw the potential but left discouraged. They went to the trouble of adding a color display and do almost nothing with it. And why in the world don't they open the device up to third-party developers to see what new and exciting uses the could come up with?! But I digress...)
I'd like to clarify the point of this third prediction. Apple already sells a lot more iPhones each month than Amazon sells of the Kindle. I'm not talking about installed bases; I'm talking about how the devices are being used. Most people probably wouldn't say they use their iPhone to do a lot of traditional reading today. That's mostly because the longer-length products available are those quick-and-dirty p-to-e conversions I mentioned earlier. As we see more digital-first products though, I believe this rate will rise dramatically. And that's regardless of whether Apple ever comes out with their rumored tabled device!
That's a glimpse of where I see things heading. Do you agree or disagree? Do you have any other predictions you'd like to add to this list?