What will publishing look like in 2030?

We asked key teams at Penguin Random House to predict the future on what this decade of publishing will hold...

Tarot card style illustrations of 'The Audiobook' 'The Audience' 'The Purpose' and 'The Technology'

As we start the beginning of a new decade that will inevitably be so different to our last, we wonder if we can predict what the world of publishing will look like in 10 years. How will we be publishing books? Which areas will boom, and what difference will we be making as a business? We asked our colleagues across the business to give us their predictions on what the '20s hold.

Putting green first in how we make our books

From Production Director for Vintage & Cornerstone, Neil Bradford

Greener production and supply chain will be at the forefront of production this decade. As a company we've already made some great progress in this area, such as reducing single-use plastic within our warehouses by 47%, and ensuring that almost 100% of the paper used in our books is Forest Stewardship Council™ certified, which is the hallmark of excellence in sustainable paper sourcing. As we head into the '20s this focus will continue: working towards eliminating single-use plastics and reducing carbon emissions in the book making process. Linked to this, but also in response to the online market's dominance, we predict local printing will increase for our books sold in our local print markets.

The craft in which we create our books will always stay so important. Books need to continue to stand out from the competition through creative, striking and beautiful production epitomised by The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse in 2019. Make sure you take a look at Steven Appleby’s wonderful graphic novel, Dragman as an example for the future when it publishes in March 2020.

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Creating new, original audio projects

From Senior Commissioning Editor in Audio, Duncan Honeyman

The future of audio publishing is bright – over the next few years, continued growth is forecast.

A key area is to revisit previously unpublished audio. This is a big focus for us, and our ambition is to bring a number of authors to Penguin Random House in all formats for the very first time.

Audio will also be embracing new publishing approaches; we won Futurebook of the Year 2019 for our original Ladybird Adventures series, and used unique footage to supplement a range of our titles including Talking To Strangers, Before We Was We, and Down In The Valley. Providing content only available in audio, which consumers cannot hear anywhere else, will prove crucial in the coming years, and help separate us from everyone else.

Award-winning original audio

How we'll adapt to new technologies

From Strategy Director, Philipp Bartscher 

I am optimistic looking ahead to the next decade of book publishing.

Looking back, the publishing industry adapted more successfully to the significant challenges of the digital transformation than other media industries.

We enter the new decade from a very strong position, as book markets have proved resilient; and digital formats and print coexist and complement each other. There is no doubt that technology will further shape media industries in the next decade and that the competition for attention will be even fiercer. Only the most relevant, entertaining and thought-provoking content will stand a chance to cut through the noise.

Penguin books highest trending books of 2019

Reading lists

Our highest trending books of 2019

Being purpose-led in everything we do

From Head of Creative Responsibility, Siena Parker

Companies around the world will re-evaluate their purpose, prioritising their impact on society and on the climate alongside profits. As publishers, whose bread and butter is to make books with the potential to change people in big and small ways, we have a unique role to play in this movement.

In many ways this will hark back to Penguin’s own roots, founded on the principle that a publisher should be both ‘missionary and mercenary’.

Secondary school boy asking question at Penguin Talks with Yuval Noah Harari

What have we done so far?

Expanding worlds beyond the page

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