6 publishing predictions for 2012 from Dean Johnson

Dean Johnson

Last year I took a stab at 6 key publishing predictions for the year ahead. How did I do?

Well, my hit rate was pretty good so I thought I’d give you another 6 to think about over Christmas…


1. Small screen to Big screen and back again

Last year I highlighted the importance of syncing content across digital devices. iCloud and Dropbox brought this a step closer to reality with software fit for purpose. In 2012 we’ll be prompted to take the next step with multiplatform connectivity across the hardware to do the job.

Both Apple and Google will provide us with the the tools to seamlessly link smartphones, tablets and TVs. Watch a programme adapted from a book on your TV and receive a prompt to download the eBook or app, then wirelessly sync to your reading devices – it’s all one click away on your multitouch TV remote. Imagine ‘The X Factor’ across all devices, complete with speech recognition (or don’t if it makes your head hurt).


2. A grand gesture

We’ve spent the last 5 years convincing you to touch your screens instead of a keyboard. Now we’re going to encourage you to wave your arms around instead (or in addition to the touching). Remember Minority Report where Tom Cruise stood in front of a big screen and moved documents around with the mere power of gesture alone? This functionality has already reached the Xbox generation and is on its way to the mass market via mobile consumer devices so start thinking about how this gets integrated into the reading experience. This isn’t the first time I’ve brought gestural technology up as a subject but the post-Kinect market is likely to be more receptive in 2012.


3. Discoverability

If you think the app market is a waste of money as millions of potential buyers will never see your shiny new product, think again in 2012. It’s that magical box in the centre of your house again folks – TV will provide visibility for apps related to any TV programming, both during broadcast, time-slipped recording and at the point of recording via EPG – a double hit here as you may download the app rather than watch the programme! Also watch out for more in-store Wifi to accompany in-store app promotion as apps take the high street by storm.


4. Spinning things

There will be more iPad apps featuring spinning things. Clearly, we all like to spin stuff so this hunger will continue to be sated. The challenge lies in spinning with meaning in 2012, especially with gestural control. I want to turn, expand, rearrange and reassemble my content, placing the reader/user/spinner in control.


5. Something else

Publishers, designers, developers and rights owners will finally work together to nail the enhanced fiction genre. We’ll be doing our bit at Brandwidth with Mark Staufer’s ‘The Numinous Place‘but this is merely the beginning of the story. With an audience of readers, gamers and viewers to enthral with immaculate digital storytelling, 2012 is the year it all kicks off.


6. Flying cars

Here’s my wild card (this will keep Don Linn happy!) We’ll be er, flying our cars to bookararuims to order ebooks and drink coffee in cups sponsored by publishers, encouraging us to download their latest digital literary gamification direct to our neural book implants*

*This may not become reality until 2013

2012 is going to be a year of publishing opportunity for those that grab it by the balls and show it who’s boss. There will be no success for the timid so if that’s you, find someone that isn’t and employ them or work with them.


Dean Johnson  is Creative Director at Brandwidth.

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