Thoughts on books, publicity, and the media from our Cave Henricks staff.

Digital and social media top authors’ lists

Monday I offered up my predictions for publishing in 2011. Today, we’ve turned to some of our authors for their opinions. Digital issues were clearly their top priority. Here’s what they had to say:

“I predict that the importance of social media for authors and books will grow by an order of magnitude. The flow of readers seeking information about a book or author will reverse. Social media instead of traditional media will be the starting point. In other words, rather than visiting a book or author website and then moving to connect with that book or author through Facebook and Twitter, readers will search first for a Facebook fan page and Twitter handle.”

-Matt May, author of The Shibumi Strategy

“My prediction is that 2011 will be the year of the tablet: there will be more iPads and other tablets than we would have ever imagined only a few years ago, and the ubiquity of information that they bring with their use will offer us the possibility of profoundly changing the way we work. If, and this is a big “if”, we change our habits to take advantage of information on demand, at our fingertips, 24/7, we can fundamentally redesign our conversational experiences: fact-based conversations could become the norm rather than the exception; simulations, scenario comparisons and prototyping could become common ways of testing new ideas; instantaneous contact with much larger virtual communities via social-networking sites could bring co-creation into our everyday lives. Was all of this possible before the tablet? Of course! But, the tablet, without the vertical notebook screen that implicitly separates us from each other, invites us all into a common fact-seeking conversational experience in a way that no personal computer could ever arrange. We are literally at the dawn of really encouraging “smarter” interactions, but only if we change our habits and our behaviors in consonance with the changing technology that is increasingly available to us.”

-Bill Fisher, co author, The Idea Hunter

“The Internet is constantly reinventing itself and evolving as a result of the unlimited amount of information that can be shared quickly (broadband), anywhere (mobile ices) and inexpensively (the cloud). Lives are going to become ice-agnostic as access to data, applications and various forms of content such as files, contacts, pictures and videos will all be location insensitive. Very exciting times!”

– Stefan Swanepoel, author of Surviving Your Serengeti: 7 Skills to Master Business & Life

“Newspapers will go wholly electronic: I’m very interested in the news, but it’s been some months since I looked at a paper version of a newspaper. Recently, I noticed that I often go for days without even looking at the news in the online version of the New York Times: instead, I am getting most of my news through blogs, Twitter and the web. When I do find myself looking at the news in an online newspaper, the news stories all seem to be about a day old. I already know almost everything I am reading. And the things I didn’t know about-an earthquake in Ecuador, no one hurt—I didn’t really need to know. Moreover what I am reading lacks edge. It’s like attending a boring press conference. It’s the official news. The real news, the up-to-date news about what’s really happening and what it means, is to be found elsewhere. It’s not that the NYT reporters are slow: it’s because the whole unwieldy apparatus of running a paper-based newspaper is slowing them down and dulling the edge of what they might say. And it costs a bundle. One estimate (John Lanchester in the London Review of Books, 16 Dec 2010, and he thinks it’s a low estimate) is that the NYT now spends $644 million a year on printing and distributing the paper version of the newspaper. When the NYT goes wholly electronic–it’s when, not if–the savings it will make will enable it to get out the newspaper with up to date news, and give every subscriber a free Kindle and still be in the black (as compared to the red ink in which it is now swimming). Hopefully, the economic inexorability of this happening will dawn on hapless newspaper execs before the NYT goes bankrupt. I don’t know whether this will occur in 2011, but it will occur.”

-Steve Denning, author of The Leader’s Guide to Radical Management