The world of books in 2012

First aired on Fresh Air (14/01/2012)

This past year saw many exciting developments in Canadian literature and publishing and 2012 is shaping up to deliver more intriguing plot lines. Fresh Air's Mary Ito got together with CBC Books' Erin Balser and Toronto-based books columnist Becky Toyne to gaze into their crystal balls and predict this year's big stories on the literary front.

For Becky, the growth of long-form non-fiction downloads is at the top of her list.

ebooks-175.jpg"Something that we've seen a lot of in the last 12 months is new imprints launching to deal specifically with publishing long-form journalism. We've seen, just before Christmas, the National Post announce a partnership with HarperCollins, a year ago Kindle Shorts launched with Amazon, The Guardian in the U.K. is doing something similar, there's an imprint called Byliner in San Francisco...It's something that in the last 12 or 13 months has become much more prominent, and this is, in a lot of cases, non-fiction writing, journalism that maybe is not book length, but too long to fit within the constraints of traditional print outlets. And they're being published very cheaply, often only $1.99, and you can download them, and because they're not so long, they're actually much more conducive to being read when you're on your commute to work and reading them on your iPhone instead of necessarily needing to sit down and spend eight hours reading something."

She's keeping her eye on a few imprints launching more of this type of content in Canada this year.

Meanwhile, Erin believes that bookstores will continue to struggle to stay afloat, as more people gravitate towards digital books. But she does see reasons for bookstore owners and loyal customers to be optimistic.

"[In] 2011 you saw a lot of bookstores close and I think 2012 is going to be more of the same, but I also think that bookstores are now having the space to redefine themselves, redefine how they brand themselves. A good, uplifting story in 2012 has been Type Books' stop-animation video that was on the internet earlier this week. It has over one million views. It's super charming but it also works doubly as a marketing vehicle for Type shows that they're really being visionary in the space to create material and content that gives them a brand, gives them an identity, and gives them a community online."

What do you think the biggest publishing stories will be in 2012? Let us know in the comments section below.