Barnes and Noble is the place to be on January second. After making New Year’s resolutions yesterday, I set out to buy a calendar to track my goals. Half the town had the same idea. Except for Black Friday and Christmas Eve, I’ve never seen the bookstore so packed. Between optimists like me buying planners, teens cashing in holiday gift cards, and busy moms poking through clearance bins while their kids ran wild through the toy section, there wasn’t an empty aisle in sight.
This surprised me. Isn’t everyone sick of shopping by now? Even the most die-hard shopaholics need a breather at some point. Bookworms everywhere woke up on Christmas with new reading matter to chew through, so the bookstores should be empty, right?
It’s a small surprise, a trivial thing. Still, little incidents like this are exactly why I won’t make any sweeping predictions about the publishing industry for 2017: I have no idea what’s going to happen, and no one else does either.
People like to theorize, and experts will claim to know for sure. If there’s one thing to be learned from 2016, it’s that the world is full of surprises. Even if something is obvious in retrospect, at the time, we looked the wrong way and failed to see it coming.
Barnes and Nobles is going to be deserted on January second. E-book sales are going to continue to rise. Print is on its way out. Amazon is going to revive Indie bookstores. Amazon is going to open storefronts and kill the Indie bookstores. We’ve all made a lot of predictions. Some of them came true and some of them didn’t. For others, it’s still too early to tell.
A few months ago, I interviewed a woman who’s worked in publishing for forty years. She said this uncertainty, this constant changeability, is what makes the industry so exciting. We may not know what’s going to happen next, but that’s half the fun of working in this business. Writers write and they always will, no matter what - this is the only thing we can say for sure. For the rest, we’ll have to wait and find out.
I can’t wait to see what changes in 2017. I can’t wait to read the new books I’m going to discover and write the stories that haven’t occurred to me yet. I can’t wait to see what Wisdom House’s authors come up with next and where we’ll all go from here. Who knows, maybe this year, we’ll print your book!
From everyone at Wisdom House Books, I wish you all a happy New Year. Let’s make 2017 a good one!