fire_tabletPaul_thumb.jpgI join David and the others at TeleRead in wishing everyone a happy New Year. 2015 had its share of e-book twists and turns. I hadn’t predicted the $50 Fire, for instance. And while I have my quibbles with its interface, and think the screen is a little iffy, I do think it’s a game-changer. A family can buy a six-pack of not-perfect but perfectly usable devices for the cost of a single iPad!

Other predictions I made last year were more spot-on. The iWatch was a bit of a bust, but there has indeed been massive growth in the ‘Internet of things’ connected device market. And the how-to genre is indeed dominating the Kindle Unlimited pool, as I predicted.

So, what does 2016 have in store for us? Here are my predictions for the coming year.

  • Amazon’s next killer app will be a book-ifier. Now that they can get a device into your hands for just $50, they’ll want to make it easy for you to get content onto it. I am predicting they’ll come out with a suite of browser widgets—both for Silk, and for desktop systems—which will book-ify web pages and send them to your reader with one click. Wikipedia articles, blog content, even your Evernote stuff. Amazon will try to bookify it all!
  • Single-use device will return. Now that Amazon has shown how cheap the tablet can be, I think we’ll see people run with it. A single-purpose e-ink device costing hundreds of dollars can’t compete with a $50 tablet. But there are other ways to go with single-purpose screens. The Beloved had a concept for a $20 tablet that did nothing but funnel YouTube. That’s 90% of what little kids do on a tablet anyway. Why spend $300 on an iPad if that’s all they need? And what about that little toy a few years back that did nothing but read Wikipedia? Get a baby like that into the library system, and you’d have something very interesting.
  • Reader will catch on in libraries. On a related note, I am betting we’ll start seeing more devices of various kinds make their way into our public libraries. And not just for loaning out, either—but for in-library use. The Beloved knows a library staffer who was complaining to him about the elderly patrons who come in every day to read the newspaper. It is their social outing; they will still show up even if the content is on-line. But only the first few patrons actually get to read a nice paper. Then it gets spilled on, or bent or crumpled…what if you could put some cheap tablets in there instead and pre-load periodicals and newspaper content? In this era of $50 tablets, why not?
  • So we’ll see what the new year brings. I think we may see some innovation on the hardware side, now that Amazon has planted the seed of ‘you really can afford it.’


  1. Joanne, you and the other Teleread fans with a teacherly bent might be delighted to know that BISAC, the standard classification scheme used by bookstores to shelve books, has added two new major categories for the youth market.

    Young Adult Fiction:

    Young Adult Non-fiction:

    Hopefully, it’s an indication that the young adult market is health and growing.

    Those who’re writing and publishing might want to include three relevant BISAC classifications of their book on the copyright page to make more certain their book gets shelved properly in stores. Use the website to determine those classifications.

    –Michael W. Perry, co-author of Lily’s Ride (my contribution to YA fiction)

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