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

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 8/25-8/29

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.

University of Colorado Boulder researchers are using 3-D technology to recreate classic children’s books for the visually impaired.

Libraries in and around Ferguson, MO remained open during protesting, offering themselves as “a quiet oasis” for all ages.

The cry for diversity in children’s books has spread from the US to the UK.

Capstone Publishing Group acquired Engage Literacy, a K-3 literacy program.

Used eBook sales continue to be blocked in Germany, as consumer rights group loses its appeal.

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 8/18-8/22

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.

A judge in Delaware passed a law making digital content, including ebooks, inheritable after the original owner dies.

Romance publisher Ellora’s Cave announced cuts to their staff, due in part to a decrease in their Amazon sales.

Kensington Publishing joined up with Books-A-Million to put some of Kensington’s previously digital-only offerings into print.

Several German, Austrian, and Swiss authors took a stand against Amazon’s treatment toward books published by the  Bonnier Group.

Despite the cancellation of the Hachette/Perseus/Ingram deal, Perseus will retain Legato as an affiliate.

Somewhat Qualified Advice: Things to Avoid in a Job Application

Here at Market Partners International/Publishing Trends, we recently hired an Editorial Assistant / Office Manager. That, of course, meant an outpouring of applications from very talented, impressive people looking to get into publishing. The application process was classic, to submit a cover letter and resume. I’ve rounded up a few of the most common things that I encountered during the search process that hindered an application instead of helping it in the case of this particular job search. Before we begin, I’d like that make it abundantly clear that I am of course only one person, simply the first reader of the incoming applications. I do not work in human resources. I am not representative of what all of those who review job applications in the publishing business look for. My aim here is simply to offer a few suggestions. In the case of the below examples, they are based on real things that I saw in applications, but altered so as to not hurt any feelings.

Things to avoid:

The snail mail correspondence: I understand the urge to do this. It’s a personal touch, and that’s memorable. Many books and websites suggest taking the time to write a personal letter, but the fact of the matter is, sometimes publishing hirings happen quickly out of necessity. When relying on a system that takes days – instead of seconds – to deliver an application or thank you note, there’s a significant possibility that it will arrive too late.

The unprofessional email address: This is an age where we can all get as many email addresses as we want for free. Using the email address of “chipmunk2589@hotmail.com” is maybe not the right one to use to submit job applications.

The strange salutation: Our job posting had my name in it as the contact person. Many people addressed their resumes and cover letters to me because of that, and rightfully so. To me, that meant he or she was reading the listing carefully. Using “To Whom it May Concern” even makes sense, because perhaps someone looked me up on LinkedIn and saw I am not running the company. However putting “To Sam (I presume)” or “Dear Sam (or whomever)” is a bit off-putting. In my opinion, stick with the name listed as a contact, “To Whom it May Concern,” or “Dear Hiring Manager.” Read More »

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 8/11-8/15

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.

Sales in physical bookstores dropped 7.9% for the first half of 2014.

Amazon has opened a storefront  for students at Purdue University.

Writer’s Digest and Bookbaby have teamed up to offer author services to self-published authors.

Hachette CEO Michael Pietsch responds to Amazon’s ReadersUnited.com statement that went up last weekend.

A round of layoffs have taken place at Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster.

Branding by Video

Editor’s note: This post also appears on our host site, Publishing Trends

It turns out Simon & Schuster, who has been gaining press attention with the release of its “Behind the Book” video series, isn’t the only publishing company that’s been building its video cache. We’ve decided to gather a few together for viewing.

Here’s a little background in case you missed it: S&S uploaded 5 videos of book editors giving details on how certain titles came to be as a start to their series last week. S&S Executive VP and Chief Digital Officer Ellie Hischhorn was quoted in the press release as saying that the series is “offering new and revealing information that can enhance and inform the reading experience” since “apart from the author, nobody knows a book as well as its editor.”

Digital Book World’s Jeremy Greenfield noted about the videos, “In the book publishing world, authors have traditionally been the brand: Everyone wants to buy the new James Patterson title, not necessarily the latest release from his publisher, Hachette.” So from here, we take that building a brand would ultimately lead to readers trusting a company for its judgment in acquiring great books, instead of relying on established authors or comparative titles to sell the book. But it doesn’t make sense for the average reader to buy something with this in mind, since publishers have such a wide variety of styles and genres.

Along with building a brand for the publisher as a whole instead of a specific author, he added that “this series of videos is another small way that publishers are saying to authors — and readers — that they add value.”

We talked to Nellie Kurtzman, co-founder and CEO of the video content agency Kid & the Wolf, which primarily creates book trailers, to get a little insight into a publishing marketer’s approach to videos. Before founding Kid & the Wolf, Kurtzman was the VP, Marketing of Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.

Kurtzman said of the Simon & Schuster videos, “It tells the behind the scenes, what people don’t know,” confirming that the videos prove the publishers’ worth to the public by bringing awareness to what publishers actually do for books.

Here are a few videos we found from publishing houses for comparison on how they’re going about (possibly) building their brand. First here’s one of the S&S ‘Behind the Book’ videos:

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Top 5 Publishing News Stories 8/4-8/8

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 Ingram cancel their plans to buy Perseus Book Group.

Google and Barnes & Noble team up to offer same day delivery in major metropolitan cities to strike back at Amazon.

Scribd announced a change in their search mechanisms to provide better browsing, mixing real-life curation and updated algorithms.

Authors United sent an open letter to Amazon signed by over 900 authors, asking Amazon to end the dispute with Hachette.

Kensington Publishing revealed that it took them 1.5 years to negotiate a one year contract with Amazon.

 

Tackling #GIRLBOSS: A Trendsetter Roundtable

#GIRLBOSS by entrepreneur and businesswoman Sophia Amoruso has shaken up the genre of business books in more ways than one. It’s being described as Lean In for young women, and Amoruso is definitely not your typical business woman. In the book, she confesses to thieving, hating school, and how she used Myspace to build her original fanbase. In a book that’s part how-to and part memoir, Amoruso outlined the rise of her clothing company, Nasty Gal. Editors Kimberly and Samantha sat down to talk about what takeaways Trendsetters could take away from the book, be they aspiring #girlbosses or #boybosses.

Samantha: Are you #ready to talk #GIRLBOSS?girlboss

Kimberly: Always ready to hashtag it up.

Samantha: Thank goodness!

Kimberly: So, what were you thinking you were getting into with #GIRLBOSS before you read it?

Samantha: I really wasn’t sure, to be honest. I guess I was expecting a bit of a relaxed how-to. What about you?

Kimberly: Well the hashtag and Sophia Amoruso’s pose on it really sets it up to be a kind of alternative self-help/business motivation book.

Samantha: Yeah, very true! After having read it, what would you categorize it as?

Kimberly: I would still say business motivation. It definitely tries to give concrete tips about running a business. I just think that her story, about kind of stumbling upon a big business that grew out of just selling vintage clothes on ebay, is more interesting/compelling than advice that she gives after the fact. Read More »

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 7/28-8/1

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.

Apple quietly purchased BookLamp last week, a book recommendation engine known for its Book Genome Project.

Alloy Entertainment teamed up with Amazon to create a digital publishing imprint.

Hachette’s first quarter sales were up 5.6% despite the ongoing dispute with Amazon.

Macmillan increased its ebook lending selection to include frontlist titles.

Amazon speaks out against Hachette, saying they need to lower their prices on ebooks.

Bonus video: The Onion News parodies book snobs with a “new Kindle.”

Life in Christian Publishing

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Where I come from, everyone recognizes the big names in Christian publishing. By the age of eleven, I could differentiate between companies based on the logos that filled my church library, and by seventeen, I knew which of those logos I wanted on my future business card.

I have a stack of those business cards now, that familiar logo embossed proudly next to my name. While I’m no longer starstruck by my childish perception of my company, I do have the opportunity to work on content in which I deeply believe. It seems that religious publishing lends itself to that prettily.

Religious publishing may not be every person’s first choice within the publishing world, which I can understand. A person could worry that it may be too niche and somehow pigeonhole a career. However, my experience within my company has been overwhelmingly positive, professional, and constructive. I know that I’m developing skill sets that will lay a foundation for the rest of my career, as well as building great relationships with professional mentors who are highly respected in the industry.

Also, while the work that we publish is invariably Christian in nature, my company is first and foremost a business and not a ministry.

That means that, just like any other publisher, there are expense reports to run, data to correct, books to edit, and meetings to facilitate. Though the end product may be intended to impact people via churches and ministries, the work itself is not designed to be a non-profit or an inherently religious experience – this is a business that requires all of the same acumen that its secular counterparts do.

What’s more, not everyone in my office practices a personal Christian faith. This surprised me at first, to be honest, because I thought that religious publishing would primarily attract people who self-identified as the target audience of our books. What I found instead was a group of highly intelligent, highly skilled people who are good at what they do, regardless of their personal beliefs, and the quality of work is better for it.

I love what I do and I love my company. It’s not perfect by any means, but I am proud to be a part of something that has the potential to impact the reader forever.

I think that that is publishing in its purest form, really. That’s the goal of all books ever, right? To impact a reader forever. Personally, I love being able to do that within my faith tradition.  Whether distinctly religious or distinctly secular, academic or trade, literary or low-brow, books are meant to make an impact.

Survey results: Where Do Publishing Professionals Get Their Books?

Editor’s note: This post can also be found on our parent site, Publishing Trends.

Codex’s recent reader poll shows that the Amazon-Hachette contract negotiations may be having an impact on the way the average consumer purchases books. According to Codex, 39% of their respondents are aware of the ongoing negotiations between Amazon and Hachette, and there has been a decline in consumers buying books from Amazon at a rate of 7.5%.

Since publishing professionals are not quite the average book consumer, Publishing Trends conducted a quick, informal survey on where publishing professionals get their books and whether or not that has changed over time. The Amazon-Hachette negotiations were not mentioned anywhere in the survey because we did not want to lead answers toward a particular direction. Most (20%) of the survey respondents who identified their job titles were from editorial backgrounds. The next most popular category of respondents were from literary agencies at 10.8%, and the rest ranged from production, consultants, rights, marketing, and contracts.

Of those who responded, 67.9% stated that they pay for the books that they read in their free time, and the others who get them for free receive them from a variety of sources (respondents could pick multiple choices):


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