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

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 4/17-4/21

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.

Bill O’Reilly is out at Fox News, but Henry Holt is standing by him.

Audible will no longer allow its users to gift credits.

Canute hopes to bring a multiple-line Braille ereader to market. 

All this week, Penguin Random House is running #ProjectReadathon in the US, Canada, and Mexico.

Ivanka Trump’s tweet for National Library Week drew Twitter‘s ire.

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 4/10-4/14

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.

Microsoft’s ebookstore launched this week. 

Audio content giant, RB Media purchased Audiobooks.com

Amazon released a new parental control dashboard for their kids app, FreeTime

The Pulitzer Prize winners were announced on Monday. 

Simon & Schuster announced big changes for Howard Books and Tyrus Books

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 4/3-4/7

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.

Flatiron landed three books by the Bidens.

After being purchased by Kobo, print-digital bundler Shelfie is back.

George Takei will publish a graphic memoir about his time in a Japanese internment camp.

The budget of Maria Pallante’s Copyright Office is under scrutiny

Penguin Random House expands its presence in Spanish-language markets.

Inkluded: Making Space in the Industry for Everyone

Over the last few years, American art and pop culture has begun to focus on diversity in a serious way. This is particularly true of publishing: our industry celebrates free expression but is still predominantly white in both workforce and output. Inkluded is one of a few organizations aiming to change that.

While it’s true that publishers have begun to have a difficult conversation about how to move forward, some people are frustrated that not a lot of action has been taken. This frustration brought together Inkluded’s founding members: Michael Mejias and Andrea Morrison of Writers House, along with Alexandra Hightower, Natalie Guerrero, Mary Gaule, Mackenzie Brady Watson, and Julia Kardon. Its stated mission is to “champion diversity in publishing by supporting like-minded organizations toward actualizing their missions and goals.” Already, it has begun collaborating with a number of programs. Some work from both the bottom up, like Barbershop Books, which creates child-friendly reading spaces in inner-city barbershops to increase black boys’ access to and enjoyment of reading, and the I Have a Dream Foundation, with whom Inkluded set up a day for children at the foundation to learn about the publishing process and meet people, like editors, agents, and writers, who make it all happen. Others work from the top down, like We Need Diverse Books. And this last program has an idea for getting new voices into the business.

In case you weren’t already familiar with it, We Need Diverse Books was founded in April 2014 when Ellen Oh and Malinda Lo started a Twitter exchange about the frustrating homogeneity in children’s and young adult publishing. They’d been having this conversation for a while. The impetus this time around was news of an all-white, all-male panel of children’s authors assembled for the following month’s inaugural BookCon. As the exchange unfolded, Ellen began talking about taking action and others in the book industry chimed in to express their interest. 

The inaugural event was all digital and ran from May 1-3 on Facebook and Twitter. The hashtag #WeNeedDiverseBooks was created on April 24 to promote it. By April 29, the hashtag was trending, and WNDB’s vast social media campaign was born – and continues to this day.

This campaign drew attention to the lack of diverse literature for children. In 2013, the year before WNDB launched, only 93 children’s books out of a total of 3,200 were about African American people. From year to year, as demonstrated in a graphic assembled by multicultural children’s publisher Lee and Low, the percentage of children’s books featuring people of color holds pretty steady at 10%. However, people of color make up about a third of the country’s population, and that number is rising. Clearly, America’s actual demographics can support a broader set of books.

Of course, books are only part of the goal. Publishing itself is predominantly white. And so the We Need Diverse Books Internship Grant Program was launched in 2015 to address another problem: the barrier young people of color face when pursuing careers in publishing. Internships in children’s publishing are valuable for getting a foot in the door, but, like internships the world over, they’re generally very low-paying. Without the appropriate financial resources, a student can’t pursue the position; later, without an internship on their resume, they’re at a disadvantage in the job market.

The grant program aims to change that. It awards $2,500 to five applicants each year: already, eleven recipients have gone on to land entry-level jobs in publishing – one small step toward closing the gap. These scholarships can launch careers. And, of course, more diverse minds in the industry mean more diverse books for all of us.

This is exactly the kind of work that Inkluded likes to support. In an interview, Julia Kardon says that the group “brainstorms organizations that we know are doing good work during our monthly meetings and reach out of members of those groups.” Accordingly, Michael Mejias contacted WNDB about partnering on a fundraiser for the internship program.

Photo by Taylor Templeton.

And so, on the evening of March 15, a lively crowd filled Manhattan’s Writers House for wine, snacks, and a ticketed reading. The line-up was top-notch, featuring Jazmine Hughes, editor at the New York Times Magazine and co-founder of Writers of Color; Leigh Stein, executive director of Out of the Binders; YA author Cristina Moracho; and PEN/Bingham Prize-winner Mia Alvar. Moracho and Alvar read from their books, while Hughes read a Shouts & Murmurs piece. Stein read an essay about restaurant hostessing and a poem about – what else? – The Bachelor. Representatives of We Need Diverse Books spoke about the grant program and about the young professionals who now work in publishing because of it.

The evening was lively, funny, and powerful – and, fortunately for those who missed it, will happen again. A second reading, says Kardon, is planned for June and will feature Imbolo Mbue and other writers.  But you don’t have to wait until then to support the work that Inkluded and WNDB are doing, They’re still raising money, and until April 15, Leigh Feldman Literary will match every dollar raised up to $5,000. You can make a tax-deductible donation here via credit card or PayPal. Mark your donation “INKLUDED” so it will count towards this pledge.

What else can you do to help the cause? Kardon has a few ideas. “If you work in marketing or publicity,” she says, “think about how certain groups of people are not routinely engaged, or how tactics to engage certain middle-class white women don’t work for other groups.” And wherever you are in the industry, she says, “Make this something you talk about and think about and make sure that you recognize that the feeling of being defensive is less important that the voices being excluded. And try to listen, always, no matter what.”

As organizations like Inkluded and We Need Diverse Books continue to shake up the status quo, our support, monetary or not, matters. There’s plenty that everyone can do to make sure that all of us really does mean all – and each of us will be better for it. 

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 3/27-3/31

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.

Offbeat, beloved literary magazine The Believer has a new publisher.

Amazon moves into the Middle East with the purchase of Souq.com.

IDW Publishing‘s comic book Love Is Love raised $165,000 for victims of the Pulse shooting.

Elena Ferrante and Colson Whitehead are coming to the small screen. 

Bob Dylan is finally picking up that Nobel Prize in person.

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 3/20-3/24

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.

The 2017 Whiting Award Winners have been announced.

Medium unveiled a new subscription service.

A bill to move the Copyright Office out of the Library of Congress has been introduced in Congress.

In the UK, the University of Warwick launched a new prize for women in translation.

Amazon released Send to Kindle functionality for the iPad and iPhone.

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 3/13-3/17

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.

The Trump administration’s proposed budget cuts include eliminating the National Endowment for the Arts  and the National Endowment for the Humanities

Wattpad and Hachette are teaming up to create audiobooks together. 

Amazon is facing a class action lawsuit regarding disappearing audiobook credits. 

The One Book, One New York winner is Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

The Man Booker International Prize longlist was unveiled

 

Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries: A Trendsetter Roundtable

The dictionary is one of those funny things that almost everyone has, but doesn’t necessarily use very often, or even think about. Well, there are people that do think about the dictionary very often, like those who have to write it. That’s where Kory Stamper comes in. Stamper is a lexicographer for Merriam-Webster. She writes and edits the dictionary along with her colleagues. As fans of the Merriam-Webster Twitter account and videos (of which Stamper is often the star), we were very excited to hear that there was a book about what exactly goes into writing the dictionary. Without further adieu, we are proud to present the next installment of the Trendsetter Roundtable: Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries by Kory Stamper (Pantheon, 2017). 

Sam: Okay! So, wow. Dictionaries!

Nina: Dictionaries are great! 

Sam: I feel like “The Secret Life of…” is overused in book titles, but here it really fits.

Nina: It sounds like a TV show I would watch all of, which is to say, I agree.

Sam: I, like much of the internet, have followed Merriam-Webster’s Twitter account as well as Kory Stamper’s account for some time, and yet I found myself totally surprised by how much I enjoyed this book.

Nina: I was expecting to like it, but I wasn’t expecting to read this much of it aloud to long-suffering friends and family. 

What most compelled you about it?

Sam: I just completely took dictionaries for granted. Like many others, I just figured they were put together once, and with some minor upkeep here and there – additions of new words and such – there wasn’t much to them. And boy, was I wrong. I feel so ashamed for thinking it was a smaller feat. Just her bit about doing the definition for “take” was mind blowing.

Nina: That’s the one that took several weeks, right?

Sam: Yeah. Stamper writes about how the simplest words are the hardest to define and yet most people don’t look them up. Which of course they don’t — when’s the last time you looked up “take” or “the” or “like,” for that matter?

Nina: It reminded me a bit of studying foreign languages in high school and college, and how the most basic words – the filler, the conjunctions, the interjections – are the hardest to pin down. “Like” is a great example, especially because its usage has shifted over the last few decades to include a sort of colloquial paraphrase (she was like, “I read the dictionary”), which, as a native speaker, you barely register. Unless you’re a word nerd.

Sam: Well, Stamper is definitely a word nerd! There’s something so delightful and quaint-seeming about a bunch of word nerds quietly working away in an office in Massachusetts on the dictionary, but it really seems like gut-busting work a lot of the time.On the other hand, it does seem fun in some ways, not to mention important! Her chapter about changing the definition of “nude” to be, well, not about white skin was very thought-provoking. 

Nina: Right: language reflects who we are, and we are people with particular biases. The fact that no one had thought about the implication of the existing definition is unsurprising because, on a grander scale, that’s exactly the kind of thing we, as white people, don’t stop to consider. Of course nude means both “white skin” and “naked” if you have white skin.

I also really enjoyed the time and attention given to descriptive vs. prescriptive grammar, and to the general culture of bad-grammar-shaming. Like I said, I’m a word nerd, but there’s something about pointing out the obvious differences between they’re, their, and there that goes beyond simple usage.

Sam: Yeah! I took one and only one linguistics class in college (thanks, Dr. Brice!), and it was a big struggle for me in general, but learning the differences between descriptivist grammar and prescriptivist grammar really changed my view of language for the better. Descriptivism forever! I keep thinking about she’s a self-proclaimed protector of “irregardless” being in the dictionary since people do use it and people understands what it means! Her retort to folks saying it’s a made up word – that all words are made up words – is genius. And so true! That approach to language is something I wish more people could adopt.

Nina: As a native Appalachian, I grew up with West Virginia English, which is not exactly “proper” in all circumstances. It’s not bad grammar so much as it is an entirely different grammar. Outside of my home state, though, the English I heard as a kid gets brought up to signal a certain kind of poverty and lack of education. There’s a value judgment to it. So I’m also a descriptivist and an avowed defender of “ain’t,” one of mankind’s pithier and more useful creations.   Read More »

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 3/6-3/10

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.

Bonnier‘s new self-publishing platform will launch in English at the London Book Fair.

Elena Ferrante’s novels are coming to the small screen in Italy.

Harlequin launched its third new imprint of the past yearHanover Square Press.

Former DC editor Shelly Bond is joining IDW Publishing, where she’ll run her own imprint

After fierce in-house bidding, Crown will publish Michelle and Barack Obama’s upcoming books.

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 2/27-3/3

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.

Penguin Random House bought both Barack and Michelle Obamas’ memoirs for a rumored $60 million.

On her last trip to the US, Australian children’s book author Mem Fox was detained by border control. 

HarperCollins rolled out two book recommendation bots on Facebook.

B&N Education purchased MBS Textbook Exchange.

Africa-focused indie publisher Catalyst Press will launch this fall.