Ten Digital Publishing Trends From the Experts

Screen Shot 2013-02-24 at 10.09.47 PMWhy is keeping on top of trends in digital publishing and content marketing vital for your business?

First of all, staying current with these trends can give you a big advantage when making decisions about your business.

The more you know about what’s coming and what’s likely to be popular, the quicker you can apply that information to your business.

And your customers, as well as your competitors, will assume you know what’s going on…in other words, they will see you as an authority in your marketplace.

Understanding digital publishing trends will also help you make better strategic business decisions, as you’ll be able to identify threats early, before they have a chance to negatively impact your business.

Plus, you’ll be able to take advantage of emerging opportunities in the digital publishing space before most people can make a move.

We asked several of our Future of Ink Expert Contributors and faculty for the upcoming Digital Publishing Online Intensive 2013, to give us their opinion on what they think are the most important trends in digital publishing. Here they are:

Screen Shot 2013-02-24 at 10.19.29 PMJim Kukral – Crowdfunding Expert:

What’s the one thing that almost every person has, that is most always within arm’s reach? It’s a mobile device. Don’t think people will read a book on a phone? You’re wrong!

Recent studies have shown over 62% of people have done so, or would be willing to do so. Imagine your reader reading your book on their phone in the doctor’s waiting room? Or on a bus. Or in the airport waiting for a plane.

Mobile is the future. Don’t overload your books with tons of fluff just to make it longer. Give people entertaining or problem-solving content that they want and need. They’ll repay you with reviews and purchases of your other books

Screen Shot 2013-02-24 at 10.38.43 PMMitch Axelrod – Mentor to the Masters:

We rent homes, cars, offices, furniture, equipment, servers and domains. We can even rent a coder. Why not rent your content?

When I started licensing my IP in 1990 and renting my content in 1996, we only had hard goods. Digital technology changed the game.

Because content is currency in The NEW Game of Business™, every business is in the publishing game. With demand for digital content exponential, the rental market is ready to explode. Renting enables businesses to get high value content for less than buying it or creating it themselves.

Content suppliers and IP holders transform from vendors to profit partners. The conversation shifts from selling products to collaborating about how to best capitalize and monetize our content and IP. Renting content is a winning play to add to your IP playbook.

Watch a 9 minute “Content Capitalism” SANG panel video and download a “Rent Your Content” mp3 at RentYourContent.com 

Screen Shot 2013-02-24 at 10.40.50 PMD’vorah Lansky, M.Ed. – Publisher and Blog Tour Expert

In addition to publishing print books and eBooks, there are many ways to publish your content digitally. One of the hottest trends for fast and easy digital publishing is through “content curation!”

Content curation involves discovering content, in the form of interesting articles for example, and compiling an excerpt and URL to this content.

While there are several paid services available, I prefer two free services. One of these services is an online magazine called ScoopIt and the other is an online newspaper called Paper.Li.

ScoopIt allows you to easily draw in content from across the Internet, and create an attractive, online digital magazine, based on your topic or specific keywords. As content is curated, you have the option of sending out a notice and link to your Scoop.It publication, across a variety of social networks.

Paper.li provides the opportunity to not only curate content, but to automate both content curation and the posting of links to your Paper.li publication, on the social networks. In essence, with Paper.li, you can “set it and forget it.”

Head on over to check out these powerful tools and give them a try! You’ll discover a clever way to gather relevant content and your readers will be grateful to you for doing the foot work in rounding up content they are hungry for.

Screen Shot 2013-02-24 at 10.42.35 PMSue Painter – Writer and Business Coach:

Here’s a trend I see in digital publishing.  I see more effort to make products (even books) more interactive with the end user.  So digital publishing is becoming an amalgamation of read-only content, video, places to connect and chat, and interactive assessments.

I think this trend will continue as digital publishers seek to give their end user a richer and more varied experience.  Why pay attention?  People buy experiences, so if you get a reputation for providing that, your sales will be more robust.

Screen Shot 2013-02-24 at 10.45.43 PMMark Staufer – Hollywood Screenwriter and creator of The Numinous Place:

I see a maturing in the relationship between storytelling and technology. With ‘The Numinous Place’ the multimedia app is simply the best ‘storytelling delivery system’ available for this particular narrative. It allows for the inclusion of video, audio and artifacts that enhance the authenticity of the storyworld.

Tech and creativity work hand in hand rather than fight for supremacy. I think up until recently we’ve all been over-excited about the possibilities of technology to the detriment of story. But the age old rule applies – story must come first.

Screen Shot 2013-02-24 at 10.48.02 PMLynne Klippel – Author, Publisher and Book Strategist:

With the flood of books coming to market on Kindle and other digital publishing platforms, I predict a return to thoughtful writing and high quality content. 

If you watch what’s happening now, lots of people are flooding the market with multiple ebooks just to have a multitude of titles under their names.

Do the opposite of the crowd and instead of slapping any old content together as an ebook, create a book your target market will love.  Great market research and strategic writing will give you happy readers, amazing reviews, and word of mouth referrals.  Less is more when you write stellar content that readers desire.

Screen Shot 2013-02-24 at 10.49.25 PMLaura West – The Creative Thought Leader:

You are going to be seeing more and more visually compelling messages as part of our online publishing and marketing strategies.

Everyone has a mobile phone, tablet and a laptop so they need to be able to get your content easily and quickly while on-the-go and visual graphics helps you do this. Creating pictures, beautiful graphics, unusual logos, videos and integrating social media allows you to do this in a snap.

Three shifts taking place that will increase the need for visual marketing:  1- Itty-bitty screen sizes on mobile phones means you have to grab their attention instantly and cut through the information clutter. 2 – High quality and attractive graphic design is becoming available to everyone not just designers.  3-Information overload – there is so much to choose from that readers will be looking for ways to filter the information and those that provide it in visually compelling and easy to read graphics will win the attention.

Audiences of today and the future want  information that isn’t dry and boring but in a form that stimulates, educates, inspires and educates. Their standards are getting higher – good information isn’t enough – you have to stand out.

You see it now with the abundance of photos and videos for content.  We are seeing a surge of content being put into mobile app form. More and more we’re going to see interactive content from sophisticated experiential and interactive books to hand-drawn expressions that are becoming easy for anyone to create.

Screen Shot 2013-02-24 at 10.50.21 PMKathleen Gage -Product Creation Expert:

It’s getting tougher all the time to break through the clutter and noise online so that people pay attention to your message.

What’s the best way? Be you. Don’t try to be like everyone else. Consider your perspective and point of view. Be willing to stand apart from the crowd.

Do you want to blend in or stand out?

Screen Shot 2013-02-24 at 10.51.06 PMNina Amir – Ebook Blogging Expert

Of course, for quite a while now, bloggers have been booking their blogs–repurposing their content into books. However, they are now realizing they can blog books–actually write books as they blog.

To speed this process along, there are more and more products coming on the market to help them turn those blogged books easily into digital products–ebooks, courses (books and videos and even membership sites.

I just saw one that allows you to produce all types of digital books yourself and offer them for download on your own site–without needing Amazon, Barnes and Noble or the Istore, for example.

It even allows you to bundle your books together. For entrepreneurs who want to produce ebooks and related products fast–and have more control–these are exciting times.

Screen Shot 2013-02-24 at 10.51.57 PMMatt Edelman –  CEO of Glossi.com

Storytelling through rich media is the most innovative area within digital publishing. The use of images has skyrocketed as a key component to digital content creation.

Digital video is now used as a first choice for many digital publishers who may have opted to write articles in the past.

Consumers are becoming conditioned to respond first to visual stimuli in order to commit to consuming digital content. The proliferation of beautiful handheld digital screens is accelerating the trend. With the increased use of rich media, the narrative form is forever changed.

For more on the future of digital publishing, don’t miss the top digital publishing conference for online entrepreneurs, beginning March 6th, The Digital Publishing Online Intensive 2013.

Digital Publishing Online Intensive

Denise Wakeman
Denise Wakeman is an Online Business Strategist and Co-Founder of The Future of Ink. Denise is the host of the popular Hangout show Adventures In Visibility, focused on helping small businesses and online entrepreneurs optimize, leverage, and strategically use social marketing tools like HOAs to gain visibility, build credibility and make more money selling their products and services. Denise is passionate about Adventure travel and how it can inspire you to think bigger and go for what’s possible in your business and life.
Denise Wakeman
Denise Wakeman


  1. Thanks for sharing useful information regarding publishing. Your shared stuff is informative.

  2. Buying content seems quiet yesterday. (and I do not advocate stealing as an option) – Do we really need/want all books we have read, stored in our home or a storage space?
    I (composer, music producer) license music – which became far more lucrative than selling works. Even orchestras “just” rent sheet music… Imagine they had a digital music stand and could get any work instantly delivered!
    I am absolutely ok with a read(view) once digital edition, as viewers rent movies for a one time viewing experience. Just considering positive environmental side effects (printing, transportation …) make digital publishing the number one choice.

  3. Hi Denise,
    Great article, interesting and enthusing to hear the views of those in many different area’s. At 3D Issue we have been continuously developing our publishing software to these such trends- rich media such as video / audio etc. , mobile & tablet accessibility, app publishing has been at the forefront of recent updates, and we’ve just released a new product Pressjack – an online publishing solution for content curation so we are excited to see that our visions of the future of digital publishing hold true with those of the experts interviewed.

    • Hi 3D Issue! Thanks for stopping by and telling us about your new product. Would love to learn more. Would you mind providing some info and a link to Pressjack?

  4. Sorry, but for a site that claims to be on the cutting edge of “future” publishing technologies, this is all old news, incredibly lacking in specifics (though I grant you that most “‘insert-number-here’ secrets you need to know about X” rarely contain substance) and blatantly self-promotional for your “experts.” This was my first exposure to your site and most likely the last visit.

    • Mark, thanks for dropping by and for your feedback. I’m sincerely sorry we don’t live up to your expectations.

      Forecasting trends in any area is always a risk and these experts know their own areas very, very well. I often find, when reading about trends, that even though I had seen the information somewhere else, the way a particular writer phrases it causes me to think about the topic in a whole new way.

      I wish you the very best in your endeavors.

      • Plus, your company and its 3D graphic novel app looks really interesting…would have loved to interview you about it…

        • Ellen — thanks for responding. I think my tone the day I posted was fueled by my own recent (and ongoing) frustrations with the publishing industry. I flitter all over, exploring new (to me) sites linked to by other newly-discovered sites, trying to find a source that points me in a new direction as I endeavor to market my own work. My graphic novel is four years in the making, and I’ve been immersing myself in the publishing industry in general and digital publishing specifically all along. Over the last year and a half there seems to have been an explosion of new experts in all aspects of this business, but few presenting a cohesive strategy to tame the self-digital publishing beast. Fewer still with genuine track records of measurable results.

          So, being drawn to your site/blog by the possibility of, to me, seeing an overall cohesive strategy outlined, my expectations the day of my posting were a little outsized to the point where no single article could have met them.

          You’d think, after all these years, I’d learn to tame my knee-jerk impulse to flame first, ask questions later. Peace!

  5. Thanks for creating this thought provoking list! Seems innovation and enhancing the reader experience are the common threads. It is such a great time to be a writer and content creator!