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

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 2/23-2/27

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.

Amazon announced the first 10 titles to be published through its crowdsourcing program Kindle Scout, which will be published digitally by the Kindle Press imprint.

For its 80th anniversary, Penguin Books created an interactive website to sell its Little Black Classics series.

Barnes & Noble announced it will be splitting its college-focused business from its retail and Nook businesses, creating Barnes & Noble Education.

In the wake of the announcement that Egmont USA is closing, Lerner Publishing Group has acquired its titles.

EBSCO has acquired YBP Library Services from Baker & Taylor.

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 2/16-2/20

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.

Faber & Faber has been dropping hints that it might sever their connection with FSG to start their own US branch.

Amazon looks to implement drone delivery in other countries since the FAA isn’t thrilled about drones in the US.

A newly discovered book by Dr. Seuss will be published this July.

Kindle Unlimited is ruled illegal in France.

The Twitter Fiction Festival lineup was announced for 2015.

A True Tale of Being Published, Publishing by Gail Godwin: A Trendsetter Roundtable

Sometimes for any author, navigating the path of publishing is a little confusing. Their job is to focus on writing after all. Lucky for us, three time National Book Award finalist and bestselling author Gail Godwin wrote about her journey through the publishing process that began in 1958 when she met with a Knopf scout to try to get a story published. Godwin has seen the industry go through many phases. She’s had good editors, tricky editors, battles over titles, and fabulous book launch parties. She’s lived a long part of her life as an author, and catalogued it for readers in her new memoir, aptly named Publishing (Bloomsbury, 2015).  Samantha, Jennifer, and Moè sat down to talk about what they learned about publishing from someone on the other side of the industry.

Samantha Howard: Okay! So we all read Gail Godwin’s memoir, Publishing and we have opinions, right?PublishingCover

Jennifer Donovan: Yes, opinions galore and ready to share!

Moè Nakayama: Yes indeed!

Samantha: So I guess we’ll start with the easiest question, what did you guys think of the book?

Jennifer: I thought it was great insight into how an author’s mind works while they’re in the process of getting published.  It’s lucky for us that she kept journals and remembered so many details of what she was thinking at the time.  I will say, though, that her storytelling could be confusing. I was getting lost with her jumping around and had to refer to the timeline at the end of the book a few times.

Samantha: I’m willing to bet that’s why there was a timeline in the back.

Jennifer: Shout out to whoever thought to include it. It was very helpful!

Moè: To be honest, I feel like I would have gotten more out of the book if I was familiar with Gail Godwin’s other works. But I really enjoyed reading about the personal, human efforts that go into writing and publishing a book. It really is a memoir, and not a how-to about getting published.

Samantha: Yeah absolutely. I also haven’t read any of Gail Godwin’s work, but I still found it a rewarding read as someone in the publishing industry. It was rewarding to know that the industry was constantly changing in the 70s too. It’s not just now that we’re all panicking about jobs. She was very honest, and I liked that.  And it doesn’t hurt that she name dropped one of our bosses, Connie Sayre!

Moè: Yep! On three pages!

Jennifer: It’s also kind of scary how often the industry changes.  I feel like these days a lot of people will blame ebooks for all the flux, but it’s been like this for awhile, as we saw from Gail’s account.

Samantha: This is kind of stupid to say, but I was so surprised to hear about a time that Ballantine wasn’t owned by Random House. I think it just goes to show that take for granted the existence of the Big Five and the history behind it.

Moè: I was surprised by that, too, Jen. I guess it was silly of me to think it was particular to our times, but Gail’s stories about switching editors and restructured houses, etc., were really kind of eye-opening. And I agree, Sam. Reading this memoir made me want to learn more and look farther back into publishing history!

Jennifer: What would you say was the most eye opening moment in the book, for you?

Samantha: That whole story about her and Robert Gottlieb as her editor, and how he was just so lukewarm on her. And then boom, she got a new editor who felt more in line with Gail’s own vision for her work. Then she exploded into the world of bestseller-dom and National Book Award nominations.

Moè: For me, it was when – though I think there are multiple passages, not just one – Gail writes about her anxieties about other authors. She writes about awful tour escorts who go on about other authors and about a bad lunch with one of her editors, where the editor talked about other successful authors. It’s another kind of constant pressure that comes with being an author that I’d never thought to consider.

Samantha: What about you, Jen?

Jennifer:  For me, it was her paying for her own publicity. For some reason I never thought of an author with a bigger publishing house having to do that. I could picture self-published authors and maybe the small house ones, but she was with a big company.

Samantha: Yeah it is shocking to think of a company saying to her face, sorry we’re not spending any more money on your book.

Moè: Amazing example of how authors can try to take control of their own career. Read More »

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 2/9-2/13

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.

Scribd added comics and graphic novels to its subscription service and says new issues will be available about a month after their print release.

After securing a number of titles from local publishers, Amazon launched Kindle Unlimited in Canada and Mexico.

Inspire! Toronto International Book Fair announced that it will not have a second year due to lack of commitments from exhibitors.

Book sales in Christian fiction are on a decline, but publishers aren’t too concerned.

Citing its long dispute with AmazonHachette’s ebook sales dropped significantly in 2014.

Our Ebooks, Ourselves: What’s Happening with Our Ereader Data?

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


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In October of last year, news broke on The Digital Reader that Adobe Digital Editions was taking a significant amount of user data and sending it back to their servers. Adobe Digital Editions (ADE) is a program that allows readers to put ebooks onto their reading devices from retailers and libraries alike. The program’s terms and conditions don’t mention anything about the extra data logging, and there was some outrage. Users were concerned that Adobe was getting data from every single page they read.

It’s understandable that ADE users were upset that their data was being taken in a way that they hadn’t agreed to. However, tracking how a reader engages – or doesn’t engage – with an ebook is only going to increase. Retailers like Amazon, Apple, Kobo, and others all track usage data from the ebooks they sell. It’s not just retailers that do this either, Oyster and Scribd also track actions of their subscribers.

So what’s being tracked when we read a book on a Kindle or open up the Oyster app? Retailers and subscription services track how far you’ve read in a book, where in the book you stopped reading it, how quickly you read it, and how you came across that book, among other data.

Say the data for This Book shows that most people who stop reading the book before completion quit in chapter 7. The fear is that the editor of This Book will ask the author to make some changes to chapter 7 to hopefully increase the number of readers who read all of the way to the end. Buzzfeed Reporter Joseph Bernstein mused on this idea: “Excuse me, Mr. Joyce, you’re losing a lot of Kindle Fire readers here in this third section. Maybe tighten it up a smidge?” All jokes aside, there are some who aren’t concerned at all. Bernstein interviewed Claudia Ballard, an agent at WME who said “…people have been picking up books and not finishing them for a long time. At the end of the day a unit sold is a unit sold.” Of course, that’s not strictly true with ebook subscriptions.

Since users of a subscription service pay one monthly fee for unlimited books, royalties to authors are calculated differently. Mark Coker, CEO of Smashwords, has openly told the press how each payout schedule is structured for both Oyster and Scribd. It’s no surprise that both payout systems are tied to engagement. Coker spoke to GoodEreader about Oyster’s payment structure for Smashwords authors saying, “As a Smashwords author or publisher, you’ll earn 60% of your book’s retail list price whenever an Oyster subscriber reads more than 10% of your book, starting from the beginning of the book forward.” Coker also spoke to Fast Company about Scribd’s payout system, “The first 10% of every book from page one forward is available as a free sample. If readers read an additional 20% more, the author and publisher get credit for a full sale of the book, 60% of the list price. Scribd will also pay in cases where the reader reads more than the first 15% of the book, but less than 30%. In that situation, the author gets a ‘browse credit.’ For every 10 browses, they get credit for a full sale.” It should be noted that these payment structures are for Smashwords only. Oyster and Scribd are both fairly quiet about how their payments work, but it’s clear that it’s based, at least in part, on engagement data per book. Read More »

Event Recap: Books are Sacred, Lawn Mowers Aren’t

Last night, the NYU Center for Publishing gathered some publishing heavyweights to discuss how their books became bestsellers in today’s publishing industry during their NYU Media Talk event.  Authors R.L. Stine, Elin Hilderbrand, and Malcolm Gladwell talked about book success in a digital age with TIME Book Critic Lev Grossman as moderator.

In today’s world of big business and the ongoing ebook pricing battle after the famous Amazon-Hachette disagreement, Gladwell feels that books and other cultural products need to be treated as sacred.  “Should books be carved out from other kinds of economic behavior as special? I would say yes.” He continued, “I think cultural products ought to be considered separately from lawn mowers.”

This is important to consider since ebooks have become a significant part of sales for most authors.  Children’s authors like Stine have seen little change (since most kids don’t own ereaders), but Hilderbrand, who writes what she categorizes as a “beach read,” has seen a major shift of sales.  In 2010, about 1/3 of her sales were in the ebook format.  In 2014, her book Matchmaker sold about 75% in ebooks, presumably because it’s easier to buy your next beach read from your ereader.  “I prefer that people read a paper book but it’s the same content” so it’s not that big of a deal to her.

Read More »

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 2/2-2/6

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 will be publishing a recently discovered manuscript of Harper Lee’s, but this news is not without controversy.

Commercial printing company R.R. Donnelley acquired Courier Corporation for $261 million.

Founders of Black Balloon Publishing and Electric Literature created a new publishing startup, Catapult.

The Canadian Governor’s General Literary Award winner 2014 faces backlash due to gender and sexuality conflicts.

Investment firm Centre Lane Partners now has control of Perseus Books Group’s investment funds in hopes of helping Perseus to grow.

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 1/26-1/30

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.

Oyster added all 10 Harry Potter universe books to its subscription service.

Author David Lagercrantz will write a sequel to Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy.

Simon & Schuster launched its new nonfiction imprint North Star Way, which will offer additional audience-building services to its authors.

UK grocery retailer Tesco ended its ebook initiative Blinkbox Books and transferred its customers to Kobo.

Wiley has teamed up with BitLit for ebook bundling.

Internview: “Before” with Moè Nakayama

We’re thrilled to welcome Moè Nakayama as this season’s Publishing Trendsetter and Market Partners International intern. In continuing our tradition of interviewing our intern in the first couple of weeks of the internship, we hope to provide some insight from an upcoming book professional on what they would like to learn to aid their future success in the publishing industry. Read more about Moè on the About page, and keep an eye out for her contributions over the next few months.

Trendsetter: What aspects of Publishing Trends and MPI interest you most as you enter the internship?

Moè: MPI combines the expertise of seasoned veterans with the dynamism of young professionals in the industry. As someone who’s just getting started in publishing, I’d love to learn from both and from the conversation happening between them.

So much of the material on Publishing Trends and Publishing Trendsetter are new and helpful to me. In particular, I really appreciate the weekly Top 5 News Articles feature— it’s given me some new vocab already, as well as a few bookmarks!

T: What “skill-sets” or areas of your knowledge would you most like to broaden with this internship?

M: This internship promises to provide a “macro” view of the business, and that’s exactly what I’d like to gain in my time here. My experience in publishing so far has been limited to editorial, so I feel like I need a better understanding of how publishing as a whole operates— as a process, as a business, as an industry… One example of something I’d like to learn more about is digital publishing. I think knowing about— if not the answers to, then the vocabulary for discussing— these issues will be important as I go on to (hopefully) contribute to the world of publishing.

I also want to expand on my writing skills. Since graduating college, I’ve become increasingly aware of how different non-academic writing is from academic writing. I’d like to train in writing concisely for a general audience— writing that informs as well as intrigues.

T: What kind of value do you think might be unique to a non-traditional book-business internship?

M: Breadth of insight. That’s not to say an internship at a publisher or an agency can’t provide a broad experience— not at all! But if you’re in editorial, for example, any insight you get into sales or production will most likely be indirect. A non-traditional book-business internship like this one allows you to open up your focus to the “bigger picture” and to get to know a variety of players and practices in the industry from a neutral standpoint. It’ll give me an awareness of the whole landscape— and that could help me figure out where my niche could be in publishing.

T: What makes you so drawn to publishing as a field?

M: Well, like most people interested in publishing, I’ve always loved reading, writing, books, and words. So that’s the obvious answer… But I guess the more interesting and honest answer is that, to me, publishing feels like a very inclusive industry. You’re not tied to one topic of expertise; you can keep learning about new ideas. I find that “roominess” comforting and exciting.

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 1/19-1/23

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.

With no buyer lined up, Egmont USA is closing at the end of this month.

Retail CEO of Barnes & Noble, Mitchell Klipper, will retire at the beginning of May of this year.

This week, Amazon announced their plans for textbook writers to be able to self-publish on the Kindle platform.

Kobo received a court order from the Canadian Competition Bureau to turn over their ebook pricing practices.

James Patterson is releasing a self-destructing ebook, as well as one physical book that will explode after reading, which will sell for close to $300,000.