Publishing Trends: Predictions for the Book Industry in 2022
by Kaelyn Barron ~ TCK Publishing
There have been many notable changes in the publishing industry over the last several years, from the steady rise of audiobook sales to the introduction of AI technology in book production.
A global pandemic and calls for more diverse representation shook things up in 2020 and 2021, so what’s in store for 2022?
We’ve analyzed some of the most prominent trends based on recent studies and our own data and observations to get a feel for what’s to come in the year ahead.
Here are 6 key publishing trends and predictions to look out for in 2022.
1. BookTok is a marketing must-have.
In 2021, TikTok became one of the fastest-growing social media platforms and an essential tool for branding and marketing. The publishing industry also caught on, with many authors and publishers turning to TikTok to grow their audiences.
Following in the path of “Bookstagram,” BookTok appears to be here to stay, with all trends indicating that even more authors will join the platform to market their books in 2022. So far, the hashtag #BookTok has garnered over 34.7 billion views on the platform.
We’ve seen the impact of BookTok firsthand with one of our own authors, Maclen Stanley, who has accumulated over 424,000 followers and 6 million likes in just a few months since his book The Law Says What? debuted in July. Many reviewers on Amazon have commented that they bought the book specifically because they enjoyed his related TikTok videos.
Book reviewers have also taken to the platform to share their thoughts on new books in short, easily-shared video clips, making them an influential force that authors and publishers cannot afford to ignore in 2022. To learn more about how TikTok can help you grow your platform, check out our post on TikTok marketing for authors.
2. Audiobook sales will keep growing.
Although they’re still nowhere near topping print, audio, and ebook sales have been steadily rising for the past decade or so, with the audiobook industry, in particular, seeing rapid expansion.
One major development from 2021 was Spotify’s acquisition of Findaway, which likely indicates Spotify’s intent to give more focus to audiobooks, in addition to their current library of music and podcasts. Storytel also acquired Audiobooks.com, so there are now multiple players on the expanding audiobook field.
As we watch these companies implement their growth plans in 2022, audiobook sales are likely to continue their steady increase. Authors and publishers will want to keep their eye on these new and emerging opportunities to market their audiobooks.
As for the industry itself, there are a number of developments that will make audiobook production easier and faster, including rapid technological developments like AI narration.
3. AI will expand its influence.
Speaking of AI, it’s already being used to write fiction that improves almost daily. While it’s far from replacing human creativity, AI can help content creators find inspiration, retrieve facts, and outline their writing.
Of course, you’ve probably already used AI to improve your writing in some form or another—for example, if you’ve ever used a proofreading tool like Grammarly.
But publishers can also use the technology for plagiarism checks, editing, translations, SEO, and marketing. For example, if you’ve ever gotten a newsletter email with content recommendations that match your interests, you can thank AI for that.
Think of AI as publishing’s virtual assistant, and one that will prove increasingly helpful in the years to come.
4. Book prices will increase.
Inflation has caused the prices of many goods and services to rise over the past year, and it looks like book prices will be no exception.
IngramSpark already announced price changes that took effect on November 6, 2021, raising their print pricing by up to 6% in the US.
In a public service announcement to its members, the company explained that the changes are a result of “several cost increases for consumables, such as paper and packaging materials, as well as an increase in the cost of labor.”
So since the cost of producing books has risen, so too will their prices.
And on top of growing costs, there’s also a book shortage. As this Vox article explains, back in 2008, the world expected print books to become obsolete after the rise of the ebook, so many companies invested less in printing books.
But instead, the demand for print books has steadily increased (after experiencing a brief drop in 2008), and printers have not kept up.
The silver lining is that with book prices on the rise for both print and digital formats, special, limited-time promos like Kindle Countdown Deals could prove more appealing, allowing readers to benefit from discounts while authors can sell more books in a short period…
“Introducing Kindle Vella”
“Kindle Vella brings you stories released one short episode at a time, available on the web at http://www.amazon.com/kindle-vella and in the Kindle app.
Things to look out for if you’re new to Kindle Vella:
Follow the stories you like to keep up with the latest from your favorite characters.
When you like an episode, give it a Thumbs Up to let the author and other readers know you liked it.
The first few episodes of every story are always free–after that, purchase Tokens and redeem them to unlock episodes. Tokens may only be used to unlock Kindle Vella story episodes in the Kindle app and on the web at http://www.amazon.com/kindle-vella.
When you unlock episodes, you will receive one Fave a week that you can award to the story you’re enjoying most that week. We’ll feature Top Faved stories so other readers can find them too.”
5. Serialized storytelling will continue to flourish.
Serialized fiction on platforms like Wattpad is nothing new, but there are more options than ever for both writers and readers of serials.
Amazon’s Kindle Vella rolled out last year, adding another prominent player to the serialized fiction field.
Some authors are finding serial fiction to be a more reliable monetization strategy than traditional publishing. Self-published authors in particular will benefit from this development, as they’re more likely than traditionally published authors to experiment with these platforms.
Sites like Wattpad, Kindle Vella, Inkitt, Tapas, Radish, and other online reading apps will continue to flourish as more authors experiment with different formats.
6. Calls for diversity will persist.
Calls for more diversity and representation in literature have grown stronger in recent years, and with all the work still left to do, it’s likely that those calls will persist.
In 2020, a study found that just 5% of children’s books published in the UK that year featured a main character who was Black or Asian (that’s actually an increase from 1% in 2017).
Meanwhile, in the US, children’s books featuring racially diverse characters or subjects grew slightly from 29% to 30% between 2019 and 2020.
Since it can take several years for a children’s book to be produced, we can hope to see more of the effects of 2020 and 2021’s intensified calls for diversity in 2022.
And it’s not just children’s books that need more diverse voices—according to a 2019 study, 85% of the people who acquire and edit books for the Big Five are white. This means that the people who decide what gets published by the Big Five, and how the final products turn out, are overwhelmingly white.
One way that publishers have begun to address this issue is by hiring editors tasked with recruiting more minority talent and also enlisting the help of sensitivity readers.
Is Publishing a Dying Industry?
The publishing industry is far from dying; in fact, print books rose 8.9% in 2021 over 2020.
And rather than hurting business, the Covid-19 pandemic actually saw many positive developments and increased book sales in 2020—a silver lining in an otherwise dark year for many.
Regardless of trends, there’s no better time than the present to finally write your book, or apply for that publishing job you’ve been eyeing.
Everyone loves a good story, so while their formats and production may change, books and publishing are here to stay.
Did you find this post helpful?
If you enjoyed this post, then you might also like:
- Publishing Newsletters: Where to Find Updates for Publishers, Authors, and Readers
- The Effects of COVID-19 on the Publishing Industry: The Start of a New Era?
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About The Writer and Author
As a blog writer for TCK Publishing, Kaelyn loves crafting fun and helpful content for writers, readers, and creative minds alike. She has a degree in International Affairs with a minor in Italian Studies, but her true passion has always been writing. Working remotely allows her to do even more of the things she loves, like traveling, cooking, and spending time with her family.