Brenda Cooper

2012 Predictions

Every year I play a predictions game.  It’s not really good futuring since the world is way too strange for prediction except by true experts in a field, and I’m a generalist.  But I still like the game.  So here goes for 2012:

Publishing and Creativity:

I left this section in so I could re-predict the following:

There will be more attempts to make good franchises with rich multimedia (like Greg Bear and Neal Stephenson’s Mongolaid, like Al Gore’s Our Choice iPad App).  I’m expecting more of this to come out in 2012 than 2011.  One major success could drive this market – Twilight or Harry Potter like sales of something interactive and multimedia but that is not a movie or a mash up of marketing with a book.

In the book biz, the end of 2012 will see:

  • Most publishers doing better than the end of 2011, with some winners in the big companies and a few rising stars that keep rising in the mid-pack (Nightshade, for example, or Prime).  Which ones succeed at this size depends on individuals rather than corporate culture.
  • Barnes and Noble will still exist.
  • Authors will gain a bit more leverage on things like e-royalties because self-publishing will remain viable, and smaller publishers with less overhead will be able to compete better against the big boys.

Technology

I’m not making tech predictions this year.  Better minds than me do that well.  My bet for the most accurate?  Mark Anderson of SNS.  I’ve watched him for a few years now and attended some of his fabulous conferences (wish I could go every year).  Here are his predictions.

America:

  • I expect a dismal political year.  So far, as an election year, it’s already boring and bad.
  • The economy is a heck of a wild card, and its global underpants are showing as the Eurozone and China affect us. My prediction, with a whopping barely over 50% feeling of a half-full glass?  Our economy will keep struggling up.  Outliers?  Continued Eurozone problems are at worst a drag, but if China sees big change downward, we could teeter all over again.  This is a time when every single strong economy helps the whole:  We should root for everyone.  This is not a zero-sum game.
  • We’ll keep having climate disasters and for the most part, the America public will keep (illogically) believing it’s not caused by us.  Those of us who are NOT skeptics remain frustrated as hell and write brilliant essays that are ignored.

Governance

Regardless of the fact that it won’t impact America as much as it should, governance will be a topic for thinkers everywhere.   The Arab Spring and Occupy are all about tearing down existing structures.  The conversation of what to do after that will play out at least in actions (e.g. continued struggle like what is happening in Egypt today).  I am sure this is a conversation happening behind the closed doors of the powerful.  Hopefully it will also play out in the blogosphere and elsewhere is a truly meaningful way. Consider this a prediction of the conversation, but not of conclusions.

Whatever happens, I wish everyone a great 2012.

3 Responses so far

  1. 1. Whitecorp

    Given the advent of e-books and Ipads, Kindle etc, do you reckon the brick and mortar bookshop will eventually become a thing of the past? Over here in Singapore both branches of Border’s Books have since rolled down their shutters, and PageOne (not sure if you heard of this establishment) is calling it a day too in a couple of months. Here’s wishing you a blessed 2012. Peace.

  2. 2. brenda

    Hi Whitecorp.
    I think specialty bookstores may continue to do well, especially when they are a “place” and not just retail – ones that have readings and coffee and the like. But there will be fewer bookstores. And yes, someday they may become a “thing of the past” — but I think we’ve got a few years yet. Music has been sold digitally for a long time, and this year (2011 actually, I think) is the first year that digital sales surpassed physical sales.

  3. 3. Whitecorp

    Hi Brenda, thanks for the response. I been going through your blog for quite a bit and loved your writings. Would you be interested to pen a guest post for my mathematics site? You could click on the URL on my nick to access it.