Here's my take on the future for the professional writers and their agents.
1) All books will be e-books.
2) Advertising will be inserted in between chapters ... possibly chapter segments ... possibly on one half of the screen while the novel runs on the other half in a sort of fat column.
3) E-books will be given away free. No more book sales. Borders, Barnes & Noble, and even Amazon will die. And why books are given away free is because a) copies cost nothing to make and b) #2 above. Advertisers will pay more if the book is more popular. The best way to get a book to be more popular is to freely give away the book. This will result in bigger download numbers and thus bigger payments from advertisers.
And I'm exploring the above ideas with the novel I'm currently writing (presently at over 72,000 words) by telling what kind of advertiser should be between the chapters as I write it. What I'm finding is that the ads are a great boon to the novel itself. They can help set the scene, mood, or single something out for special attention that the following chapter talks about. And speaking as a marketer, I know advertisers will MUCH prefer this since readers will then not ignore such advertising but really look at it since it is essentially part of the story. This combines product placement with print advertisements for a lot of things. But not all things. Especially when you, the writer, just want to set a mood for a chapter that won't have any product placement mentioned in it. Or at least that's
And being an e-book, the ads can be in full-color and inserted anywhere without any trouble. No bunching all the color photographs in the center of the novel. Not that e-book readers can presently handle color. In fact, there is only one (Fujitsu’s Flepia) that presently can handle color and it costs a whopping $1,000. But I think it is only a matter of time before all e-book readers do color. After all, if any e-book reader maker wants to actually get parents of toddlers to use them to read books to their kids, they HAVE to have color. No young tot will tolerate black-n-white picture books.
And that's saying e-book readers are the main medium for novels and non-fiction books. They very well might not be. People can read e-books on their computer screen and now cellphones. Cellphones are themselves going through a HUGE revolution in their design. Until just recently, their design goal was "smaller is better", but with the advent of text messaging and digital cameras in cellphones, that is no longer the case. Cellphones are now becoming bigger so people can have a bigger monitor to look at text messages, photographs, and even video sent them to by other cellphone users. That and the most desired way to text message is the thumb keyboard. Slide the monitor up and the thumb keyboard is revealed and ready for service. What this means for novels is that cellphone screens are getting larger and larger and thus more enjoyable to use for reading. I can easily see people reading books on their cellphones as they take the bus to work, sunbath on the beach, drink an espresso at a cafe, cool their heels in clinic waiting rooms, etc. No lugging around a paper novel or even an e-book reader. Just take out their cellphones, call up their current novel, it will load itself where they last left off, and away the reader goes.
To be Continued. . .