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

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 12/21-12/24

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.

According to the Association of American Publishers, trade book sales are down from last year, although audio and paperback sales continue to grow.

A publisher and book retailer in Germany have created a vending machine to exchange an unwanted present for a book.

After complaints last month, HarperCollins has improved its shipping times to booksellers in Canada.

Iceland has a tradition of giving books on Christmas Eve, which increases the country’s book sales between September and December.

Jeff Bezos is taking a hands-on approach at the Washington Post, hoping to improve its digital products and distribution strategies.

Third Annual The Best of the End of the Year “Best of” Lists of 2015

Don’t worry, lists remained popular in 2015, and I’m willing to bet they’re not going anywhere in 2016 either. This was my third time compiling the best of the bookish best of lists. And each year I’ve done this, I’ve loudly commented to my coworker that there are too many lists this year, and I’m never going to be able to choose between them all. But the reality is, most of you reading this site, you’re book people, and you already know what a lot of the picks will be for this year’s best books are. So here’s a list of some of the year’s bests that hopefully include some new-to-you titles  along with some things that you just knew would be on that list.

Trendsetter2015 word cloud

Best list of words used most frequently on our website.

Best not-so-short list of long reads.

Best list of the year’s top notch translations.

Best list of book cover eye candy.

Best list of books we’re excited to see hit the big screen in 2016.

Best round-up of indie press titles from 2015.

Best list of bookseller favorites from this year.

Best list of excellent short story collections.

Best tongue-in-cheek round-up of what you didn’t read this year.

Best list of what some of 2015’s most buzzed-about authors loved reading.

Best list of books about music.

Best list of books you may have missed but should definitely check out.

And now for a few perennial best best-of lists:

Best way to see what literary movers and shakers read and loved this year.

Best collection of every literary best of list.

Best and most beautiful guide to the year’s best books.

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 12/14-12/18

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 Book Industry Study Group is adding more than 500 new BISAC codes in 2016, allowing publishers to assign more specific subcategories to YA and juvenile nonfiction.

According to a Nielsen study in the UK, more people are giving books as presents this year.

Last weekend, hecklers were ejected from the Jeddah International Book Fair in a show of gender equality.

British librarians are suing the government for breaking the law by closing libraries.

James Patterson gave 87 independent booksellers $250,000 in donations to be used for holiday bonuses.

The Sound and the Story: Audiobooks and Podcasts

Editor’s note: This article was originally published on our parent site, Publishing Trends.

Hey, did you hear season two of Serial has started? Serial’s return was hard to miss on social media last Thursday. People were hungry to hear more of Sarah Koenig’s addictive storytelling and reporting. The keyword is “hear” — Serial, of course, is a podcast, and podcasts are growing in popularity, as are audiobooks. In publishing, trends come and go, but this love of all things audio may be indicative of a sea change. This year was a first in publishing: a podcast spawned a book. Not a collection of stories from the podcasts, nor a collection of new material with old; it’s a novel with all new material based on the popular fictional podcast Welcome to Night Vale (Harper Perennial, 2015). Published in October of this year, it has been on the New York Times Best Seller list, and sold over 47k copies according to BookScan. It’s available in print, ebook, and of course, audio.

Audiobook & Podcast Timeline

Click here to see a full-size PDF download of a condensed audiobook and podcast timeline. Image by Jen Donovan.

Audio is a sector of the industry that has been steadily growing with no signs of stopping. Here’s a look at some important moments in audio history that have led to the boom that we’re seeing now. There are general timelines for audiobooks and podcasts, but I think to completely separate the two is a mistake. As the trajectory of a book like Welcome to Night Vale shows, the success of one of these mediums informs the successes of the other. So, here are some important moments in the respective histories of audiobooks and podcasts.

Cassette Tapes

In 1970 audiobooks made the transition to cassette tapes, which were much more affordable than LPs. Audiobooks on cassettes allowed public libraries to easily purchase audiobooks for patrons to check out. This caused rapid growth for audiobook sales and publishers. By August 1988, there were 40 audiobook publishers, up from about ten in 1984.

Audible.com

Audible opened for business in 1997, they sold a digital media player that held 2 hours of a digital audiobook at a time. In 1998, they became the first company to sell digital audiobooks.

Compact Discs

In 2002, CDs became the dominant format for audiobooks instead of cassette tapes. They reached their zenith of popularity in audiobook sales in 2008, and have been on the decline as a format for audiobooks ever since.

Digitally Downloaded Audiobooks

The Audio Publishers Association has been tracking the growing popularity of digitally downloaded audiobooks on and off since 2001, and regularly since 2006. Unsurprisingly, it’s been a steadily growing area for audiobook since 2006. In 2011, they reported that digital downloads had increased 300% since 2005 per dollar volume. Their most recent press release stated “73 percent of all audiobook listeners and 82 percent of frequent users report listening to audiobooks downloaded digitally. The younger the listener, the more likely they are to go digital.” Digital is here to stay.

Podcasts

The capability to podcast began in 2000, with the website myaudio2go.com that offered users audio-only broadcasts of sportscasts, the news, and so on. The website itself did not last long. Late in 2000, the ability to subscribe to certain audio-only feeds via RSS was instated as was the ability to “audioblog.” The term podcasting did not appear in print until 2004 in a Guardian article by Ben Hammersly. (His other suggestions for the medium were audioblogging and GuerillaMedia.) “Podcasting” was quickly adopted by many early podcasters and podcast enthusiasts and became the commonly accepted term for the media. Read More »

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 12/7-12/11

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.

Playster, a new digital media subscription service offering books, music, tv/movies, and video games, debuted this week.

Scribd has added sheet music to their digital offerings.

The Obamas announced their favorite 2015 books, movies, and more.

Google Play Books will soon allow “family sharing” of books.

A bookstore has opened in upstate New York where books are recommended around the premise of what books someone might want with them on a desert island.

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 11/30-12/4

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 city that spends the most money on books, Washington DC, will soon only have independent bookstores.

In the ebook price fixing case, Barnes & Noble, Authors Guild, Authors United, and the American Booksellers Association filed a brief with the Supreme Court in support of Apple.

Bookstores have become frustrated with HarperCollins over shipping delays, since the closing of its Toronto warehouse last spring.

Protesters gathered at UNC Chapel Hill’s 100-year-old bookstore to speak against the university’s move to open a chain bookstore on campus.

Skyhorse Publishing has hired Jason Schneider to head its new Racehorse imprint.

The Beginner’s Guide to Publishers Beyond the Big 5: Children’s Publishers You Might Not Know

Often in publishing, those who are new to the industry are only familiar with the Big 5 publishing houses. It’s important to get to know the medium- and smaller-sized houses as well, especially if you’re looking for your first job in the industry.

This edition of the Beginner’s Guide to Publishers Beyond the Big 5 is a list of a few children’s publishers in the US that might be less familiar to you. You can also see our previous guide to adult fiction publishers here.

The publisher/owner is either the parent company or parent publishing house. The imprints listed are only the children’s imprints within that parent company. Where “N/A” is listed, the company has no imprints aside from the one listed as the publisher.

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.

beginners guide to childrens publishers

Click here to download a PDF of the full guide to Children’s Publishers You Might Not Know.

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 11/23-11/27

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 is opening a distribution center in Brooklyn, NY.

Bertelsmann is reportedly shopping for an equity partner in case Pearson wants to quickly divest their shares of Penguin Random House.

The founders of Picture Book Summit are donating $7,000 to We Need Diverse Books.

Claudia Rankine’s Citizen landed on the bestseller list after a woman was taped reading it behind Donald Trump at a Trump rally.

The Supreme Court granted the Department of Justice an extension on filing their briefs for the case against Apple.

Book Jobs Not by the Book: Wei-Ling Woo, Assistant Editor & Social Media Associate at PEN American

Wei-Ling Woo is the assistant editor and social media associate at PEN American Center. Prior to PEN, she worked as an editor at the independent publisher Epigram Books in her native Singapore, where she worked on projects as disparate as translations and cookbooks, and, along with the rest of the publishing team, championed the work of local writers and artists. She received her BA in creative writing and art history from Columbia University, and is an alum of the international writers’ residency Sangam House.WLW

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

My first exposure came when I got my first job as an editor at Epigram Books, an independent publisher in Singapore. The local publishing scene in Singapore was—and is—still developing, and it was an exciting time to be working there. I gained a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience, learning from the ground-up; in some cases having to help establish processes and best practices that I think people working in U.S. publishing probably take for granted. Because we had such a small team, as editors we were intimately involved in the entire book publication process—from solicitation to negotiating contracts, editing, design, launch, and marketing. That gave me an incredible appreciation for how much hard work and dedication goes into the production of a book, for both the author and publishing team.

That said, it’s difficult for me to think of publishing solely in terms of “book business.” While there’s an undeniable commercial aspect to it, in my experience, it’s been more about supporting writers and their craft, and of cultivating relationships with the writers I work with. In Singapore, where the vast majority of authors lack representation by an agent, the editor often has to walk a tightrope between balancing the interests of the publisher and the interests of the author whose work they care about and are championing. Perhaps because I’m also a writer, I found myself tending to fall on the side of the author…

How do you explain your current job to people?

Currently I’m the assistant editor and social media associate at PEN American Center, the largest branch of PEN International, the world’s oldest literary and human rights organization. PEN American Center is also a member-based organization of 4,200 U.S. writers working to defend free expression, both in the United States and worldwide. As part of the Communications department, I help to edit and manage PEN’s literary blog, as well as coordinate the PEN Ten interview series, and our new Passages chapbook series, which features translated literature from countries where PEN has a particular advocacy or programming focus. Our first issue featured writers and artists from Africa, and next year we’ll be focusing on literature from China and Brazil, among other countries. Read More »

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 11/16-11/20

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.

The winners of the National Book Awards were announced on Wednesday.

Taylor Swift teamed up with Scholastic to donate 25,000 books to NYC schools.

The Harry Potter audiobooks are now available on Audible.

The Pope announced that he will publish his first children’s book with Chicago religious publisher Loyola Press.

The Anderson family’s bid for shares in Books-A-Million received extra backing from an advisory firm.