Publishing Trendsetter is a production of Market Partners International and Publishing Trends.

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 4/20-4/24

number_5_orangeEvery week we recommend 5 publishing news stories that young book professionals should read to feel more connected to what’s going on in the industry. There are only 5, so even if you weren’t able to read a thing all week, these should help keep you in the know.

Goodreads added free audio samples to its website this week.

The 2015 Pulitzer Prizes were announced.

After the announcements, it was revealed that the Pulitzer Prize Board asked for an additional nomination for the fiction prize before making its decision.

Two Hugo science fiction award nominees withdrew from the race due to the political controversies surrounding the award.

A bookstore in Florida opened with the mission of only selling self-published books.

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 4/13-4/17

number_5_orangeEvery week we recommend 5 publishing news stories that young book professionals should read to feel more connected to what’s going on in the industry. There are only 5, so even if you weren’t able to read a thing all week, these should help keep you in the know.

HarperCollins and Amazon reached an agreement.

Nielsen announced a new partnership with OpenBook, a book tracking service in China.

3M Cloud Library’s digital lending services are expanding into the UK and Australia.

The ALA released 2014’s most challenged and/or banned books in the United States.

London publisher Faber has struck a deal with Perseus.

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 4/6-4/10

number_5_orangeEvery week we recommend 5 publishing news stories that young book professionals should read to feel more connected to what’s going on in the industry. There are only 5, so even if you weren’t able to read a thing all week, these should help keep you in the know.

Hachette and Penguin Random House issued statements in support of revising the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in Indiana to bar discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

After negotiating a new contract with Amazon over the last few months, HarperCollins is expected to announce its plans to force all retailers to adopt agency pricing for its ebooks.

Harper Lee’s elder abuse case has been closed and no abuse or neglect was found.

Oyster launched an ebook store that currently features over one million titles from the top 10 publishers.

The new website Literary Hub launched this week and will feature aggregated and original editorial content.

Aiming for the Top: WNBA’s Women Executives in Publishing Panel

Last night, the Women’s National Book Association hosted a Women Executives in Publishing panel event and invited the Young to Publishing Group to attend.  Although the event was aimed toward giving young women advice to succeed in the publishing industry, much of the advice was pertinent to any individual interested in reaching the executive level.

The panel included Harlequin’s VP of Editorial Margaret Marbury, Simon Pulse and Aladdin Books VP, Publisher Mara Anastas, Penguin Random House SVP, Director, Consumer Marketing Development Amanda Close, and HarperCollins President, Children’s Susan Katz.  It was moderated by Alloy Editor Annie Stone. The theme of the evening was to succeed, never stop learning and growing.

The panel started out with a conversation about advanced degrees. In discussing whether an MBA program is necessary for someone who wants to be an executive in publishing, the panelists all agreed that it’s not necessary. “I don’t feel it’s a prerequisite,” Close, who has an MBA from NYU Stern, said. However, it does give someone a chance to develop business and financial skills as well as allowing for more networking.

The panel expanded on the point, saying that finding success is more about having the practical knowledge of running a business, which you can learn through an MBA program, through a certificate program, or through your own individual experiences.  “Absolutely learn those skill sets that aren’t completely tailored to your job, because it will make you a much more effective employee,” Marbury said.

One way the panel agreed was helpful to them for learning new skills was switching between departments within a publishing house.  “You definitely want to have an area of expertise and develop your reputation,” Marbury said. But, she continued, you also need to be adaptable, because you never know where your next opportunity will come from.  Katz agreed, adding “Changing areas of the organization, for me, gave me a much bigger and broader view of what everybody else’s jobs are and how hard it is in the marketplace.”  Someone who only stays in editorial might never realize the bigger picture of the business, Katz continued.

You should have many mentors at your job, among your supervisors and peers, the panelists noted.  They agreed if you’re not learning at your current job, it might be time to move on to your next opportunity.  If you’re switching jobs, don’t be afraid to move laterally or be demoted, if it means you’ll be working with great people who you can learn from.  “You will work for a very long time. Life is short, and there’s no time to be unhappy.  There’s no reason for it,” Anastas said.

The panelists also had some general advice, including:

  • Be organized. Make your day as productive as possible. Developing these skills now will help you later in life when you might have to balance a family and work.
  • If your boss doesn’t delegate or won’t teach you, try to fix it or, if it’s unfixable, find a new job.
  • And on that note, don’t throw out an entire organization because of one bad boss.
  • Negotiate for your salary, within reason. People want good negotiators on their side, but you need to research so you’re not requesting more than someone at a higher level.
  • Try to resolve work conflicts head-on. It might give you a different perspective on the situation in addition to clearing the air.
  • If you want a raise, you need to ask for it and give examples of why you deserve it. Be prepared for critical feedback from your supervisor when you approach them.
  • Acknowledge others’ achievements, maybe by writing them a personal note.
  • Listen and learn. Always. You should share your opinions, but don’t forget to encourage others’ to share theirs and listen to everyone who disagrees with you.

The most important message from all the panelists: “Confidence is everything.”  They ultimately believed that young professionals, especially women, need to develop their skills and believe in themselves.  Knowledge and confidence in that knowledge are essential for success.

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 3/30-4/3

number_5_orangeEvery week we recommend 5 publishing news stories that young book professionals should read to feel more connected to what’s going on in the industry. There are only 5, so even if you weren’t able to read a thing all week, these should help keep you in the know.

HarperCollins and Amazon’s contract negotiations appear to be going poorly.

Purdue University has been sued by their college bookstore to reveal the details of their contract with Amazon.

Amazon has moved their drone testing to Canada as the FAA won’t greenlight Amazon’s drone testing in the US.

Buzzfeed Books announced their new Emerging Writers program.

An explosion last week in New York City has forced Princeton Architectural Press to temporarily relocate.

 

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 3/23-3/27

number_5_orangeEvery week we recommend 5 publishing news stories that young book professionals should read to feel more connected to what’s going on in the industry. There are only 5, so even if you weren’t able to read a thing all week, these should help keep you in the know.

The American Library Association announced its partnership with 20 education businesses to ask Congress for federal funding for school libraries to continue.

Barnes and Noble’s shopping bags were redesigned.

Amazon added a new rating system to its website, in which users can vote on the quality of the writing, among other things, in addition to giving stars.

Children’s book authors and picture book app developers aren’t on the same page, but a partnership has great potential.

Atria announced its new spirituality imprint Enliven Books.

Not There Yet: The New “New Adult” Genre

Genres shape our reading habits, but their exact boundaries have always eluded us. Genres are “inherently confusing and complex,” as one New Yorker article put it, and that couldn’t be more true than in the case of a new and in-the-making genre called New Adult.

New Adult is a genre of fiction. It features protagonists between ages 18 and 25 (some say 26), usually in college or at their first job. New Adult picks up where Young Adult leaves off. In the words of bestselling author Cora Carmack, “Young Adult books are about surviving adolescence and coming of age. New Adult is about how to live your life after that… the ‘I’m officially an adult, now what?’ phase.” And like in YA, love is necessary, but in New Adult, relationships become sexual. As Margo Lipschultz, Senior Editor at Harlequin, said to Publishers Weekly, New Adult is “extremely sexy, often bordering on erotic romance.”

So New Adult is YA’s big sister— and that’s how the genre was conceived in the first place. In 2009, St. Martin’s Press held a writing contest calling for “cutting-edge fiction… similar to YA that can be published and marketed as adult— a sort of an older YA or new adult.” The term caught on with book communities online and then, in 2012, appeared in a New York Times headline when Carmack landed a three-book deal with HarperCollins. (The series, Losing It, has since been completed.) In 2013, New Adult received its own BISAC code (“FICTION / Romance / New Adult”) and became an official genre.

New Adult books are primarily digital. Many of its successful authors (like Cora Carmack, Colleen Hoover, and Jamie McGuire) started by self-publishing, and their knack for self-branding and publicizing on social media soon made loyal fans out of interested readers. When their self-published ebooks began popping up on bestseller lists, some publishers recognized an opportunity. Not many have picked up the genre, but those who have make sure to capitalize on New Adult’s digital savvy. HarperCollins’ Harlequin runs Carina Press, a digital-first New Adult imprint; Penguin Random House has Flirt, a digital-only imprint; Simon and Schuster has no dedicated imprint, but uses a Tumblr page called The Hot Bed “to bring the very best of Romance and New Adult.” Typically, New Adult is grouped together with Romance. Marketing these books alongside YA, no matter their closeness in spirit, would be problematic, given the mature content.

In print, the genre hasn’t gained much currency. Bricks-and-mortar retailers have been slow to embrace it. As Lipschultz later speculated this was because booksellers found the term “New Adult” too confusing or imprecise to attract unitiated readers. One bookseller found it simply unappealing. A New York Times piece also stated that the genre’s hybrid nature— not an adolescent anymore, but not yet an adult— makes the books difficult to shelve. This might have become easier with the introduction of a BISAC code, but even so, few bookstores today have an aisle labelled “New Adult.”

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Top 5 Publishing News Stories 3/16-3/20

number_5_orangeEvery week we recommend 5 publishing news stories that young book professionals should read to feel more connected to what’s going on in the industry. There are only 5, so even if you weren’t able to read a thing all week, these should help keep you in the know.

Ratuken, the Japanese parent company of Kobo, bought Overdrive for $140 million this week.

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers will publish LEGO branded books and graphic novels.

Several EU countries have asked the European Commission to reverse their decision regarding higher value-added tax on ebooks.

A German ebook sales platform, Bookwire, announced their plans to expand globally.

HarperCollins has plans to sell books directly from Twitter.

A DRM Primer for a VAT World

This article was originally published on our parent site for the book publishing industry, Publishing Trends

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The ongoing and increasingly heated debate over the use of Digital Rights Management (DRM) in digital publishing has recently received more press attention because of the EU ruling to charge VAT (value-added tax) on ebooks.

For those in need of a reminder, Digital Rights Management refers to the protections  that are in place on many copyrighted digital products like video games, smartphone apps and ebooks that make illegal downloading more difficult.

In the beginning of March 2015, France and Luxembourg lost their court case to reduce VAT rates for ebooks to those of print editions, Reuters reported.  The countries tried to convince the court to consider ebooks goods rather than digital services so they could charge the same reduced VAT rates as print books.  The ruling against France and Luxembourg means that tax rates on ebooks will rise from 5.5% to 20% in France and from 3% to 17% in Luxembourg.

This ruling comes a little less than two years after the French government’s move to reduce the VAT rate, specifically for the benefit of non-DRM-protected ebooks.  French Deputy Isabelle Attard originally distinguished between DRM-laced ebooks as services and non-DRM ebooks as goods on the theory that “Everything that goes against interoperability, or imposes reading constraints would be subject to a VAT of 19.6%, in the capacity of services, and not sale of a book, therefore of a product,” Attard said at the time.  This motion failed to pass, so the country decided to give all ebooks the same reduced VAT rate.

DRM systems are often controversial because while they protect copyright, they also prevent people from converting ebooks into different formats, from sharing with multiple users or between different devices, and from printing the ebook. Although there are some movements to eradicate DRM completely, none seem to propose a viable alternate solution to protect against piracy, thereby protecting author and publisher income.

In an interview with the anti-piracy company Rightscorp, Good e-Reader learned that there will be an estimated 700 million pirated ebooks in 2018.  According to Rightscorp, approximately 300 million ebooks were pirated in 2013. Based on these numbers, it seems this method isn’t preventing piracy.

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Top 5 Publishing News Stories 3/9-3/13

number_5_orangeEvery week we recommend 5 publishing news stories that young book professionals should read to feel more connected to what’s going on in the industry. There are only 5, so even if you weren’t able to read a thing all week, these should help keep you in the know.

The tech blog Gigaom shut down after nine years.

The state of Alabama decided to open an elder abuse investigation for Harper Lee after concerns were raised that the author might not be coherent enough to agree to the publication of Go Set a Watchman.

Universal and Scholastic reached an agreement for a three-year, first-look production deal.

An ebook piracy site is threatening an anti-piracy firm for abusing its DMCA system and violating the CFAA.

A group of Christian publishers are suing Family Christian Stores, because their bankruptcy plan could lead to them losing $20 million.