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

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 2/8-2/12

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 former publisher of Guernica magazine, Lisa Lucas, will become the new executive director of the National Book Foundation.

Elena Ferrante’s bestselling Neapolitan novels will become a TV series.

Simon & Schuster announced a new YA dedicated website, Riveted.

A group of authors are taking Google Books to the Supreme Court over their massive book digitization project.

Children’s books will soon be a part of Happy Meals at McDonald’s.

License to Succeed?

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

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Licensing deals have always been popular with publishers. As Publishing Technology COO Randy Petway astutely pointed out in his recent Publishing Perspectives article, “When sales are not something that can be planned for or predicted, publishers rely heavily on brand awareness through licensing deals, both to sell books and open new markets for intellectual property.”  Since the digital revolution, start-ups have taken to buying up licensed properties to give them a jump-start in the market – to such a degree that some people are wondering if a start-up needs licensed content in order to succeed.

It’s not shocking to hear that licensed products are dominating the children’s market, but the actual numbers and statistics are surprising. The 2014 Nielsen Children’s Book Industry Report noted that “the largest brands tend[ed] to center around a specific author, especially those with movies attached to their properties.” Of the top 20 titles sold from the third quarter of 2013 through the fourth quarter of 2014, 18 of them were attached to a movie, video game, or personality. The other two titles, If I Stay and Paper Towns, have since been made into movies.

More recently, Publishers Weekly reported that “global retail sales of licensed products saw a rise of 2% in 2015, to $158.8 billion.” Nielsen’s 2015 Book Market Report stated that 17 of the top 20 children’s bestsellers had some attachment to a movie, video game, or radio personality. The three exceptions were two Dr. Seuss titles and the board book Little Blue Truck.

It’s long been understood that blockbuster books can turn into movies. The obverse is also the case,  with movies, games, and personalities becoming books. This trend accounts for almost half of the top 20 bestseller lists in Nielsen’s 2014 and 2015 reports. This is especially evident with the sale of Frozen titles in 2015: the top 50 tie-ins in 2015 sold a total of 4,733,677 copies and of those top 50, 73% were Frozen titles. The next highest percentage were titles related to the Disney animated show Sofia the First at 3%. Numbers aren’t available for Star Wars licensed materials since the release of Force Awakens, but it seems likely that those numbers will displace Frozen as the highest percentage in 2016.

Almost 85% of the top 50 media-tie ins sold in 2015 were books published by one of the Big 5. That doesn’t mean that smaller publishers and startups aren’t finding their own space in the licensing market too. As Edda USA (a branch of a Nordic publishing company launched in the US in 2014) CEO Jax Olafsson put it, “The market is screaming for coordinated efforts in marketing and selling books supported by movie or brand,” which means there’s plenty of room for many publishers to take advantage.

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Top 5 Publishing News Stories 2/1-2/5

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.

Quarto Publishing Group acquired the Harvard Common Press, which primarily publishes books about cooking and childcare.

The National Book Foundation announced plans to launch a book club for LGBTQ teenswhich will include field trips to literary sites around NYC.

Barnes & Noble partnered with the personalized book service Put Me in the Story, which is owned by Sourcebooks.

There are rumors circulating that Amazon is planning to open 400 more physical bookstores.

According to a BBC survey, the book people most commonly lie about reading is Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 1/25-1/29

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.

The Smithsonian is releasing a series of educational graphic novels.

Lee and Low released their Diversity in Publishing survey results, and the findings reveal that publishing is an overwhelmingly white and female industry.

Amazon is testing Kindle-specific gift cards in Washington State.

Flatiron Books is expanding their catalog to include YA.

Amazon is reportedly building a music service to rival Spotify.

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 1/18-1/22

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.

Amazon Echo will soon read Kindle Books aloud, using text-to-speech technology.

An 11-year-old girl from New Jersey, Marley Dias, started a book drive to collect 1,000 books with black girls as the main character.

Scholastic recalled their book, A Birthday Cake for George Washington, saying it gave a “false impression of the reality of the lives of slaves.”

The New York Public Library will proceed with their case against a woman they believe stole rare books from them.

Amazon is shutting down Shelfari, and will merge its data with Goodreads.

Book Jobs Not by the Book: Swapna Krishna, Managing Editor of Panels.net

Swapna Krishna is the Managing Editor of Panels.net and a Contributing Editor at Book Riot. She lives in Washington, DC.

What was your first exposure to the book business and what were the most important things you gained from it?Swapna Krishna

I started my book blog (now almost defunct, but not quite dead!) in 2008, when publishers were scrambling to get coverage for books. The book review sections in print newspapers were closing, and publishers were starting to take notice of the growing influence of book bloggers. Basically, it’s a right place-right time story. I can’t remember exactly how I started working with marketing and publicity departments, but it happened pretty quickly after starting my blog, and that’s how I first became exposed to the book business.

The most important thing I gained from it was an understand of how publishing works, and why it’s so important to advocate for midlist titles that don’t have a lot of marketing money behind them. I would pick titles that I loved, especially from South Asian authors, and (figuratively) handsell them to everyone I could. It was gratifying to see my efforts make a difference.

How do you explain your current job to people?

HA! This is a great question, without a great answer. I usually explain that I’m the Managing Editor of a website that comments on comics and the comics industry, which means I run everything behind the scenes. My fingerprints are on everything that happens on the site—from scheduling posts and social media to building community to suggesting article content to talking to publishers to sitting in on sales calls. I play some kind of role in everything you see happening on the website, but if I’m doing my job well, you won’t know I’m there.

In what ways did your previous jobs or internships prepare you for what you do here?

In my previous job, I was a freelance copy editor, which is incredibly different than what I do now. The biggest similarity, though, is managing my own time. We have a lot of flexibility in when we work and can choose our own hours; we have a virtual office because we are located all across the U.S. and Canada. As long as you’re getting your stuff done and managing your duties, no one is going to spend time thinking about your hours or whether you’re at your desk at a certain time. My freelance experience made a big difference because I’m used to setting my own schedule and already had the self-discipline needed to get things done.

What value has this job brought to the way you think about book business as a whole and your own relationship to books?

Hands down, the biggest difference this job has made is paying much closer attention to what I’m reading and who it’s by. At Book Riot and Panels, we talk a lot about inclusivity; it’s incredibly important. Making myself aware of who is writing the books I’m reading—whether they’re a person of color (PoC), whether they’re queer, whether they have a disability—was revolutionary. Another thing that I’ve become much more aware of is discoverability, and how important it is to broadcast what you’re reading and enjoying. It can be so difficult for people who aren’t as tied into this industry as we are to find books, and it’s up to us to make sure that the books that we love are being discussed. Read More »

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 1/11-1/15

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.

The New Republic is up for sale as of this week.

Penguin‘s Berkley imprint will be merged into the Putnam/Dutton.

Scientists are creating an ereader style tablet for the blind.

Google launched their Play Bookstore in 9 new countries this week.

A Hong Kong publisher cancels the printing of a “politically sensitive” book in light of the disappearance of several employees of another Hong Kong publishing house.

Amazon and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Year Abroad

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

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A recent article in The Telegraph calls 2015 “the year Amazon delivered on its founder’s vision.” The reporter James Titcomb explains that in 2015 Amazon grew to double its share price, finally became profitable, and is now “almost untouchable as an online retailer” due to its streamlined delivery  service. While it’s been a good year in many respects, the company has also had its share of troubles – facing government investigations, employee strikes, and new privacy laws in Europe.

Here’s a timeline of Amazon’s problems in Europe in 2015:

January 16, 2015

The European Union’s antitrust office (the European Commission) releases a preliminary report that the tax deal established between Amazon and Luxembourg’s government in 2003 gave unfair state aid and could have enabled Amazon to underpay its taxes. (Note: countries in the European Union can offer businesses low tax rates, but must offer all deals to every company. To not offer the same tax rates to Amazon’s competitors makes this a possible case of illegal state aid.) The investigation into this allegation began in October 2014 and included other multi-national companies like Apple and Starbucks, but this is the first announcement of any findings. Amazon and Luxembourg’s Finance Ministry “deny any special tax treatment or benefits” and say all allegations are unsubstantiated.

May 1, 2015

Amazon announces that it has begun reporting revenue from its operations in Britain, Germany, Italy, and Spain differently. Previously, Amazon reported this revenue via Luxembourg and Ireland for lower taxes. This change will have Amazon paying higher taxes in the aforementioned countries, therefore taking away more from its profits. Amazon says these changes were in the works for the past two years and that the EU’s investigation has no bearing on it. Ireland announces that it will phase out the tax arrangement that Amazon has, called the “Double Irish,” entirely after pressure from other European Union members.

June 11, 2015

The European Commission begins an antitrust investigation into “whether Amazon used its dominant position in the region’s ebooks market to favor its own products over rivals,” according to the New York Times. It reportedly did so by including clauses in contracts with European publishers to inform it if they ever offered more favorable terms for ebooks to other digital retailers. The article says that Amazon “has been estimated to sell about eight out of every 10 e-books in Britain. In Germany, the market share is just under half,” which brings into question whether these clauses are too anti-competition.

Read More »

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 1/4-1/8

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.

Gene Luen Yang was named the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature.

Comic book artists are boycotting the Grand Prix d’Angoulême award after the nominee long list included no women authors.

Five editors who work for a Hong Kong publisher known for its critical titles about Chinese politicians have disappeared over the last few months.

In a letter published on its website, the Authors Guild asked publishers to revise their contract terms to make them more equitable for authors.

Penguin Random House sold vanity press Author Solutions to Najafi Companies.

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 12/28-1/1

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.

Editor’s note: It’s an unsurprisingly slow week for publishing news, so we’ve mixed in some opinion pieces to round out the five links. Enjoy, and Happy New Year.

The New York Times is launching a science fiction column by N.K. Jemisin.

Despite earlier rumors to the contrary, The Barnes & Noble Review is not shutting down.

The role of an editor has grown and changed over the years, but they’re still important.

Barnes & Noble is testing adding alcohol in their cafes.

The New Republic takes a look at the bizarre world of adult coloring books from the 1960s.