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

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 2/24-2/28

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.

Audible announced that it will be lowering its royalty rate on audiobooks, leading many to speculate that Amazon can easily do the same with Kindle Direct Publishing.

The man behind @GSElevator may have never worked for Goldman Sachs, but that won’t stop the release of his book.

Following up on the workout gear it released two years ago, Self magazine is launching a line of frozen meals.

Despite its declining revenues and floundering Nook division, Barnes & Noble rejects a buyout offer from G Asset Management.

Vook has acquired ebook analytics and data tracker start-up, Booklr, bulking up their platform for author services and ebook publishing.

PW Panel: Are Publishing Seasons Relevant?

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

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By Amy Rhodes

On Feb. 26, Publishers Weekly hosted its first discussion series of 2014 with a panel featuring Andy Laties, Store Manager at Bank Street Bookstore, Kim Wylie, VP Deputy Director of Sales at PGWand Mary Beth Thomas, VP of Sales at HarperCollinsPW’s Jim Milliott moderated.

Bringing together a representative from retail, distribution, and publishing, the panel addressed questions related to the pros and cons of traditional seasonal lists from 3 different angles. In the end, though, the differences between the publisher viewpoint and the distributor’s viewpoint were negligible. Both Wylie and Thomas described the rhythms at their companies and expressed similar convictions that the extensive time to market ensures that a book is at its most ready—properly edited, positioned, packaged, timed, and ready to benefit from a coherent and well-planned marketing campaign.

Laties defined seasons and seasonality from a retail perspective, pointing out that, while the holiday season is clearly the most critical for many booksellers, those in vacation areas or coastal areas, might have very different peak selling seasons.  But when questioned as to whether publishers might spread out their titles more evenly throughout the year, he replied that one of the reasons the current structure works is that booksellers don’t have time to be making buying decisions all year long and it’s convenient that the heavy fall publishing lists are presented in early summer when store traffic is often light.

While the arguments for the usual practice of two or three seasons were convincing—and both Wylie and Thomas suggested that the seasonal approach created essential deadlines without which chaos would certainly reign—clearly the enormous increase in “drop-in” titles points to some frustration with the usual timetables. Wylie said about 5% of the titles they sell each year are drop-ins; based on a rough title count of 2000, that means 100 or so each year. Harper’s numbers were even higher; Thomas said they do about 1100 adult titles and 600 children’s titles each year and roughly 250 are what they call “add-ons.”  Read More »

The Ties that Bind: A Roundtable Discussion Based on Pamela Slim’s Body of Work

BodyofWork_coverWhen you’re starting out on your career path, especially in a difficult job market, it can feel impossible to figure out how exactly to sell yourself. After all, you’re pulling job experience from a lot of places: your school work, volunteer jobs, freelance gigs, internships, etc. – chances are your complete resume doesn’t tell just one story, it tells many stories. But together, what do all of those things say about you as a job candidate? And better yet, what do you want them to say?

Pamela Slim‘s new book, Body of Work (Portfolio, January 2014) aims to help readers find their streamlined, cohesive story to show potential employers. This book addresses the need to have control of your career story in the face of a rapidly changing career landscape. Trendsetter Editors, Kimberly Lew and Samantha Howard sat down to talk about what they learned from the book, and how they think about branding themselves.

Kimberly: Well, well… here we are. Another day, another dollar.

Samantha: Dolla dolla bills y’all.

Kimberly: Dolla dolla bills, indeed.

So there are so many parts to this book that I figured we should start out general: what did you think of the book overall?

Samantha:  Well, I think that the thesis was good, and that the general idea of “you control your own story and how it’s presented” is brilliant. The execution wasn’t quite there for me. Parts of the book felt a little slap dash, a little rushed. Parts of the book had pretty clear structure, and others seemed almost stream of consciousness.

What about you?

Kimberly: Yeah, I think that surprisingly, for a book about how to create your own narrative from your work experience, there was a lot about the book as a whole that didn’t quite feel cohesive. I feel like some parts were really helpful and interesting in isolation, but there wasn’t a strong overall thesis to how to approach writing your own narrative. There were a lot of outlines and lists in the book that were helpful but they didn’t transition from one to the other as smoothly as I would’ve liked. That being said, were there any particular parts that stood out to you?

Samantha: I think one of the most eye-opening parts of the book was when Pamela Slim spoke about her friend, Desiree, who was being turned down for so many jobs because the prospective employers saw her as being overqualified. But once Pamela set her friend up with a resume specialist they were able to rearrange her narrative, so to speak in the parlance of the book, to show someone that didn’t seem too overqualified and then before you know it she had some job offers. They didn’t understate her experience, they just revamped her resume to create a more streamlined focus that showed her in a powerful, just not overly intimidating, light. That was a powerful moment for me. I also liked the section where she talked about how each person fits into a category: connector, maven, and salesperson. I think I learned that I’m a connector, though someone else might say differently of me, of course.

Kimberly: Well the thing that drew me to choosing this book is that I think it’s just so important and relevant for young people – well, all professional people – who are applying for jobs in this difficult job market. It’s so competitive out there, that it’s nice to have a guide for putting together your story in an attractive package. “Branding” and having a “personal brand” have been buzzwords for the past few years, but it’s true that being able to pitch yourself is becoming essential.

It’s also interesting because needing this skill is important to everyone, but everyone has such different job experience. Do you struggle with anything in particular in building your “story” with your job experience? Read More »

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 2/17-2/21

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.

Barnes and Noble quietly discontinued the Nook Simple Touch, leaving only the GlowLight and tablet models available for purchase.

James Patterson announced he will give $1 million over the next 12 months to independent bookstores across the country and got started this week by sending out over $267,000.

After previously stating that this year’s AWP Conference would not be open to the public due to a tax issue, conference holders paid an aggregate tax to Seattle and now the public can attend, free of charge.

Book distributor Baker & Taylor will be streamlining their media library service, Axis 360, by partnering with Blackboard Learn.

Popular online community for readers and writers, Wattpad, revealed updates to their apps including offline access and inline commenting.

Second Screens and Customization: Digital Kids Conference at Toy Fair 2014

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

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Books and toys often present licensing opportunities for the author or brand, but this year’s Toy Fair further proved how closely these industries are linked when it comes to selling to parents and children. This was also the first year that Toy Fair partnered with BEA to cross-promote the conferences to their respective trade attendees, and with more toys popping up in bookshops and special sales opportunities for publishers, this symbiotic relationship is only strengthening.

digitalkidscon2014-logo-final-w17-19-200x87Digital Kids Conference at Toy Fair on February 18-19 also echoed many of the themes at the Launch Kids/DBW Conference in January. As with Launch Kids, a primary concern in the industry is reaching children in a way that is COPPA compliant while still profitable, as is an emphasis on personalization and customization. Finally, both the toy and publishing industries are grappling with how to keep the physical relevant in an increasingly digital world.

Technology has brought the cost and ease of customizing to a reasonable level for many physical and digital products. 3D printing now makes it easier for smaller companies to come out with digital products that can be made physical, as Alice Taylor of Makie Lab and Antoine Vu of Potatoyz discussed at length. JibJab is another company that has been doing customization for years, starting out with adult customized ecards but now moving into the children’s space with StoryBots, a subscription play world where kids can watch videos, read books, and play games with their own faces projected onto moving avatars.  The journalists on the last panel of the day, Tales from Toy Fair, urged game makers to use 3D to replace missing figures, dice, tiles, etc. When it came to what company  successfully combines tech and physical toys , everyone  still cited Skylanders (and by extension, Disney Infinity) as a good example of toys that kids can hold and form personal relationships with but that also have functionality and purpose within the digital space.

Second screens were also a big topic of conversation throughout the conference, with many panelists seeing a majority of kids owning their own tablets not only as a possibility, but an inevitability. After all, as Michael Cai of Interpret shared, 36% (Android) and 19% (iPad) of kids have their own tablets, and 17% named tablets their favorite gaming device, beating out other consoles like the Xbox 360 and PCs. Given those stats, there was also a lot of talk about apps. In the wrap up panel, Warren Buckleitner of Children’s Technology Review and the Dust or Magic conference, mentioned the iPad and its myriad apps as being his favorite showings from the fair, including the Furby apps. Other panelists liked the newest iteration of Monopoly, MyMonopoly, which combine physical and digitally customized components.  And everyone throughout the day mentioned Rainbow Loom, a game that both boys and girls can enjoy that incorporates the physical with digital to allow kids to create their own projects. Read More »

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 2/10-2/14

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.

In response to faltering sales, Barnes & Noble overhauls its hardware division and looks to move the Nook Study platform in a new direction.

Looking to expand into digital and print books, DreamWorks launches an in-house imprint, DreamWorks Press.

Hugh Howey uses data from Amazon to prove that independent authors of genre fiction are earning as much as Big Five authors.

Oyster, an ebook subscription service, adds 100 new Disney titles and puts new emphasis on children’s content.

Consolidation rules the day in digital publishing, as Open Road Media buys ebook distributor E-Reads.

Brand New You: An Interview with Jane Friedman

Having worked as Managing Editor of Writer’s Digest, Consultant for authors, and Co-founder and Editor of Scratch Magazine, Jane Friedman (this Jane Friedman, not that Jane Friedman) is viewed as an advocate and go-to source for writers looking to build a platform. Much of her work is dedicated to giving writers the tools they need to thrive, be it through best writing practices, personal branding, or bringing transparency to what writers are being paid for their work. Being as skilled as she is at helping writers cash in on their skills, we wanted to know how some of the same branding and networking ideas she recommends to authors can be applied to young professionals in the thick of their job searches. Here’s what she had to say:
jane friedman
How can young book professionals make a personal brand for themselves?

I would consider two things to begin: First, whatever you’re doing for your day job in publishing, does it represent what you ultimately want to be known for? If it does, then you should be describing and showcasing that work on your own personal website, and including highlights in your professional bio, wherever it may be found (LinkedIn, Facebook, etc).
If your current day job in publishing isn’t necessarily what you see as your long-term future, then find ways to express or pursue your vision for your career. This might mean committing to online or offline activities (volunteer work, blogging, freelancing, etc), but either way, your personal website and social media presences should probably give preference and priority to that side of your life, rather than the day job. Remember that you’re the one who tells the story about your life and career—particularly at your own website—so tell it in a way that attracts the right opportunities to you. The goal is to have a cohesive message surrounding your name and the kind of work you do or want to do. Read More »

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 2/3-2/7

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.

Two new digital book platforms: German company, Readfy, launched an ebook subscription service this week, offering 15,000 free titles with advertising throughout the book, and NoiseTrade also expanded its free music program to include books as well.

Sony relinquished its place in the ebook market to Kobo, and will start transferring its customers to the Kobo ebook platform as early as March of this year.

Amazon Publishing holds its own on Digital Book World’s ebook bestseller list with a record breaking 4 Amazon original titles on this week’s list.

Daniel Handler, also known as Lemony Snicket, is sponsoring a new prize entitled The Lemony Snicket Prize for Noble Librarians Faced with Adversity, which will be awarded at the ALA Annual Conference this year.

Amazon considers increasing the price of its Amazon Prime service by $40 per year.

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 1/27-1/31

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.

This week, Kate DiCamillo won her second Newbery Medal for Flora and Ulysses, and Brian Floca was awarded the Caldecott Medal for his book, Locomotive.

Epic! Books, another “Netflix for ebooks” subscription service, was announced this week, but this one is specifically geared toward children.

New business Book the Writer brings the authors to book clubs featuring their works for a fee of $750 per visit.

Ebook subscription service Scribd shakes things up by finding a workaround to make their app available for use on the Kindle Fire.

Used digital content retailer Redigi secured a patent allowing them to sell used ebooks without making a copy.

Bonus: Get your literary karaoke game on this weekend with Quirk Books’ suggestions for bookish songs for karaoke.

Partners’ Corner January 2014

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

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Partners’ Corner is a place where the principals of Market Partners International can share their observations of the publishing industry for the month.

Recently we have been speaking to people outside publishing who might be candidates for a position we are recruiting.  They express concern about moving from whatever medium they are currently in – television, digital, music — to the world of book publishing.  In our recent series, Off the Beaten Path, which profiled publishing professionals taking their skills to other types of companies and media positions, former publishers expressed similar concerns. With many people moving out of the industry, it’s easy for outsiders to wonder if book publishing is a dying industry they should move away from, not into. Read More »