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

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 2/20-2/24

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.

Simon & Schuster dropped Milo Yiannopoulos’s book deal; will anyone pick it up?

The PEN America 2017 Literary Award Winners have been announced.

Textbook publishers have new competition in Canadian startup Top Hat.

Family Christian Stores is completely shutting down, and much remains unclear.

During March, the Women’s National Book Association will send a book a day to the president

Turning the Virtual Page: Virtual Reality and Traditional Publishing

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

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When we first got GooglGoogle daydream headsete’s virtual reality headset at my house, called the Google Daydream, I can’t say I was too excited. But then I tried it. I downloaded BBC’s The Turning Forest, grabbed the controller, and put on the headset. A man who sounded vaguely like Martin Freeman narrated a fairytale-like story that took place in a beautiful digital forest. The short tale is complete with a fantastical beast, an interactive forest, and all tied together with an entertaining plot. It got me thinking; what’s traditional book publishing going to do with this technology, if anything?

Ever since Facebook bought virtual reality and tech company Oculus for a staggering $2 billion in 2014, virtual reality, or VR, has remained at the forefront for tech nerds, engineers, and investors. The key word here is investors. $1.2 billion was invested in VR in Q1 of 2016 alone.

Before we move on, a quick background on this technology.

  • Oculus announced their plans for Rift, their VR headset in 2012.
  • Google Cardboard, a VR viewer literally made of cardboard, was released in 2014 and is still available from the Google Store for $15. It works with virtually any smartphone.
  • Giroptic, the first VR camera, received full funding on Kickstarter on July of 2014. Consumers can now order this camera directly from their website.
  • YouTube (a Google-owned entity) launched 360 degree videos on their site in March of 2015. (Users do not need a VR headset to enjoy these videos.)
  • In November 2015, The New York Times sent 1.2 million Google Cardboard devices to their subscribers to promote their own VR channel.
  • Rift was released it in May of 2016 with an introductory price of $599.
  • Google’s Daydream VR viewer was released last November for $79. It requires certain Android phones to work.

This timeline shows that VR accessibility is ramping up. While some VR viewers – like the Rift – carry a hefty price tag, the Google Cardboard can either be made at home or purchased for $15 with no shipping directly from the Google store. Beyond the viewer, all any user needs is a smartphone. That means content creators have work to do. In an interview with Engadget, co-founder of the aptly named Virtual Reality Company Robert Stromberg talked about the participatory aspect of storytelling in VR content: “It’s kind of a hybrid – a cross between observer and a participant.” One of Stromberg’s first major projects was in connection with book-turned-film The Martian. Stromberg feels as though there’s a place for longform narrative in VR settings. “The Martian started out as a 12-minute experience, which ended up being 20 to 28 minutes depending on what you did with the interactive component. What we realized is that people didn’t have a problem in an environment for that long.” Interesting that he brings up in an environment since, after all, any VR experience is going to be a solitary one. No matter how interactive it is, it’s something the user does alone.

Here is where I see some of the unique overlap of VR and book publishing, because what else is a uniquely solitary form of entertainment? Reading a book. Last fall, Dan Berkowitz wrote for Digital Book World how filmmakers are drawn to VR but realize “the hurdles and the possibilities in how they are able to create and tell stories…movie-going tends to be a communal experience, whereas watching a film on a VR headset is a singular experience.” Berkowitz goes on to surmise that perhaps readers are the exact type of person to best enjoy VR as they’re both solo entertainment experiences.

Read more.

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 2/13-2/17

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.

Author of the His Dark Materials series Philip Pullman announced his next series this week.

Sarah Jessica Parker will chair ALA’s new book club.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is getting a new CEO

Kindle’s new distribution platform is now available for use in beta form.

Goodreads has added a reread feature on their site. 

Poetry, Prose, and Politics: Trendsetter at AWP 2017

No matter where it was held, the fiftieth annual AWP Conference & Bookfair was bound to be memorable: all golden anniversaries are. However, this year’s festivities happened to take place in Washington, DC, a mere three weeks after Inauguration Day. Conference dates and locations are chosen years in advance, but it felt right to be there – and truly, politics and protest were at the heart of the event. The conference was held at both the Walter E. Washington Convention Center and Marriott Marquis, only about a mile from the White House, so it probably comes as no surprise that this year’s conference was highly charged. The three-day affair featured quite a few marches, vigils, and handmade pink hats. Sound somber? Not at all: the overall mood was one of joyful defiance.
 
AWP, or the Association of Writers & Writing Programs, is a nonprofit literary and academic organization founded in 1967. During most of the year, its member programs provide education and support to aspiring writers around the continent. The Conference & Bookfair, however, is the largest literary conference in North America, with attendance over 12,000 in the last few years. Anyone can sign up as a member and register for the conference, provided you’ve got the necessary cash. As a result, the people who come each year represent a wide range of careers, preferred genres, and academic affiliations. Quite a few of my friends attended as participants in panels or as staff for a book fair booth, but I went as a solo observer. Though I now work in publishing, I earned two degrees in writing, and the opportunity to check out the conference from both of my professional perspectives seemed irresistible.
 
Each year, AWP follows the same general format. The conference is broadly split up into a few different categories of events: the book fair, which runs each day from nine to five; panels, readings, caucuses, pedagogy sessions, and receptions, which take place on the conference grounds; and offsite events, which are hosted by individual groups and programs, though AWP advertises them. Because the call for panel proposals concluded on May 1 of last year, some of these discussions had to be revamped to include more recent events. (Usually this is more of a problem for panels that focus on technology, which changes quickly and often.) So, although the topical panels did not directly address the election, the new administration loomed large regardless. This year’s keynote speaker, author and immigrant Azar Nafisi, spoke passionately about the arts and resistance. “There has never been a more important time for writers to assemble,” she told the audience of 1,500. Quoting James Baldwin, she added, “Artists are here to disturb the peace.” Read More »

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 2/6-2/10

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.

The German Book Office New York announced several changes this week including a new name. 

The American Library Association is in an uproar over FCC changes to internet policy.

Composer Stephen Sondheim will be honored with a PEN literary award.

Audio Editions has been purchased by Blackstone Audio

National Book Foundation launched new prize for those who inspire readers. 

The Beginner’s Guide to Comics Publishers

The Big 5 publishing houses are probably familiar to a newcomer to the industry, but they don’t publish everything: for comics and graphic novels, there’s a whole other set of heavyweights. Whether or not you’re a genre fan, it’s important to get to know these players.

This edition of the Beginner’s Guide to Publishers Beyond the Big 5 is a list of the top earners in the comics market, plus a few other houses might be less familiar to you. Marvel and DC are very recognizable names, with a combined 70% share of the market last year. The other publishers we’ve listed account for most of the other 30% and represent a wide variety of subjects, styles, and philosophies.

We hope you find our key facts helpful and utilize the website and Twitter accounts listed to learn more about the companies you find interesting.

(You can also see our previous guides to children’s publishers here, and adult fiction publishers here.)

guide to comics publishers.1-page-001

Click here to download a PDF of the full guide to comics publishers.

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 1/30-2/3

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.

The literary community responded to the Muslim travel ban in many ways this week. 

Comma Press announced its plans to only publish works written by authors who live in countries affected to the Muslim travel ban. 

New York City is rolling out a new reading program called One Book, One New York

Audible launched a podcast in conjunction with TED

Barnes & Noble issued a recall for the charger for their most recent Nook tablet. 

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 1/23-1/27

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.

Roxane Gay pulled her forthcoming book in protest of Milo Yiannopoulos‘s deal with Simon & Schuster.

The New York Times will no longer give comics their own bestseller list, and explained why.

Sales of 1984 are up after Kellyanne Conway used the phrase “alternative facts” on television.

Amazon expanded into the ocean freight business.

Barnes & Noble aims to court the toy market with three months of events for the LEGO Batman movie.

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 1/16-1/20

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.

Pearson is going to sell off their 47% stake in Penguin. 

Several major publishers and author estates filed a suit against a Swedish author writing “sequels” to popular classic novels.

Some authors have filed a class action lawsuit against All Romance eBooks over unpaid royalties. 

Several simultaneous Writers Resist protests occurred on January 15th in support of free speech

Barnes & Noble has halted sales of their new tablet due to a faulty charger. 

 

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 1/9-1/13

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.

 Amid plagiarism concerns, HarperCollins will stop selling a book by Trump aide Monica Crowley.

Barnes & Noble CEO Len Riggio doubled down on his commitment to physical stores.

Marvel will offer free digital back issues with purchase of mainline superhero releases.

Maria Pallante has been named the new head of the Association of American Publishers.

Slate explores the mechanics of the Milo Yiannopoulos book deal.