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

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 12/26-12/30

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.

All Romance eBooks and OmniLit are shutting down on December 31.

Milo Yiannopoulos, notorious for his ties to the alt-right, struck a $250k book deal with Simon & Schuster, causing some backlash online.

The publishing climate in Hong Kong is characterized by fear.

Black comics creators are turning to Kickstarter to finance diverse projects.

Two losses for literature this week: actress and writer Carrie Fisher, and Watership Down author Richard Adams.

 

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 12/19-12/23

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.

Industry email newsletter GalleyCat has shut down

The founder of the infamous pro-Hillary Clinton Facebook group, “Pantsuit Nation,” got a book deal to much controversy

The company that develops E Ink devices, E Ink,  has opened an online store for developers.

Google is being sued over some internal policies, including needing to approve novels written about the tech industry by their employees. 

Barnes & Noble Education will open a very large store in Newark, New Jersey for the Rutgers-Newark campus. 

Fourth Annual Best of the Best of 2016 Lists

As soon as December 1 hits, and in a few cases even earlier (I’m looking at you, Publishers Weekly), the internet is filled with lots of hot, cold, and lukewarm takes of what was the best of the year. It’s tradition by now, and we here at Trendsetter both like to keep with tradition ourselves and acknowledge that the best kind of best of lists are the ones that have to do with books. So, without further ado, let’s begin with what some of the best (as very scientifically determined by your editor) best-of lists about books and reading for 2016.

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Best list of words most often used on our homepage.

Best list to find out one favorite read from some of this year’s buzziest authors

Best list to consult if you want to be prepared for this year’s “was the book or the filmed version better?” debates.

Best list of in-depth looks at the year’s most stunning science books

Best list to share with someone wondering why this was such a great year for comics.

Best list to scan when you need to grab a last minute gift for a book-lover.

Best list to make you feel like you didn’t read enough new books this year

Best list to peruse if you want to admire some beautiful book covers

Best list of 2016 literary TED Talks for those moments when you can’t be reading

Best list of titles to keep you organized and prepared for the next four years

And now for a few perennial favorite best of lists

Best list to see what every literary person you admire loved reading this year

Best list to go from a wide view of the year’s best books to the very niche category of long, geeky, NPR staff picks.

And as ever, last but not least, the motherlode of the year’s bookish best of lists

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 12/12-12/16

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 and HarperCollins are bringing Devotionals Daily to Amazon electronics.

The Association of American Publishers sent President-Elect Trump a letter about copyright.

Children’s Book Week will be seeing some changes in 2017.

Jaime Carey has resigned as head of development and restaurants at Barnes & Noble.

Macmillan and the New York Public Library are launching an imprint of books inspired by the library’s holdings.

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 12/5-12/9

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.

Several publishers are quickly pushing out books on the subject of a Trump presidency

Abrams has ceased publication of Bad Little Children’s Books after claims of racism.

Through their #GiveaBook campaign, Penguin Random House gave away 100,000 books in three days

Authors United announced it will merge with the Authors Guild

Bob Dylan wrote a speech to be read at the Nobel Prize ceremonies, since he will not be in attendance. 

 

 

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 11/28-12/2

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.

Julian Barnes, and some of his peers, have objected to American inclusion in the Man Booker Prize for Fiction.

Penguin Random House announced that it will cover half the price of a PEN America membership for interested employees.

Johanna Basford, adult coloring book doyenne, was appointed to the Order of the British Empire at Buckingham Palace.

Amazon is closing a North Carolina-based book-manufacturing warehouse next year, cutting 149 jobs.

Iowa is considering implementing an ebook sales tax, while the EU has announced that ebooks may be sold with a lower value-added tax rate.

This is a Post about Trendsetter Internships

Hey Trendsetters!

As you may have noticed, we offer internships on a rolling basis. We’ve been thinking that it makes the most sense to have a permanent space with information about that since we’re not always the best at remembering to repost it on BookJobs and NYU’s job board. (Thank you, BookJobs and NYU job board, for sending us so many great interns over the years!) We will continue to use those places, but this post will serve as a permanent spot for information about our internship. Still have a question that isn’t answered here? Comment on this post or email [email protected], and you’ll hear back from one of us soon.

A description of us:

Market Partners International, a consulting company that specializes in digital and traditional trade book publishing, is looking for an intern 2-3 days per week. 
The intern will serve as the main assistant for Publishing Trendsetter, a website aimed at those who have been in the book industry fewer than 10 years. Depending on the intern’s areas of interest and past experience, there may be opportunities to suggest and write original articles. The intern will also be integral in running Publishing Trends, MPI’s news website on happenings and trends in book business. From editorial meetings to research and writing, the intern can exercise his or her interests and strengths in this respected trade publication. 
This internship is an excellent chance to learn about book industry analysis and is suitable for someone who may have had a previous introduction to publishing but is interested in a more “macro” view of the business.

How long will it last?

A semester is the typical length, but we are flexible to the intern’s schedule and needs.

Where are we located?

Our office is near Grand Central Terminal, Manhattan, New York.

What’s the compensation?

We will provide a monthly Metrocard and will comply with any requirements to make the internship count for college credit.

How should you apply?

Please send resume and cover letter elaborating your specific interest and suitedness to this internship to Nina Sabak at [email protected]

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 11/21-11/25

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.

Indies First Day will celebrate its third year this Saturday. 

President Obama wrote a travel essay for Lonely Planet. 

Publishers are in a mad dash to publish political books post-election. 

Barnes & Noble hired a new COO, Demos Parneros, formerly of Staples.

Amazon will no longer allow incentive-based product reviews and may delete existing ones. 

The Beginner’s Guide to the Backlist

Historically, American publishing houses had three seasons a year: fall, winter, and spring. This had a lot to do with the physical limitations of selling and shipping books across the country, especially in the eras before air-conditioning and Skype. Most modern publishers still operate on two to three seasons a year, in part because it’s often easier to break a year’s business goals down into sub-goals.

After six months, a once-new title is replaced by something even newer, and the focus of the industry moves on – and that’s where the backlist comes in. Once a publisher has been in business for more than a season, its catalog will list all of in-print titles, not only the forthcoming ones. A house that publishes only a dozen books a year is still responsible for over a hundred after a decade; houses like W.W. Norton (founded in 1923) or Penguin Random House (home to almost 250 imprints and houses) have catalogs listing thousands of titles. It’s perhaps no surprise that backlist sales account for a large amount of total revenue, which can then be used to fuel future frontlists.

Of course, not all titles are created equal. There’s no guarantee that a book will continue to be sold indefinitely by a publisher, and quite a few go out of print for reasons ranging from declining sales to contract negotiation to controversy. (Stephen King famously allowed Rage to fall out of print after it became associated with several school shootings.) Most books go out of print at some point in their lifespan, and though many do make it back into circulation – like William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, which sold less than 3,000 copies in its initial run – many don’t. Back in 2010, Google Books estimated the total number of different books ever published as 129 million, a sum that can’t have been comprehensive even before self-publishing further muddied the waters. Only a tiny minority are in the marketplace at any given moment.

If a title is profitable, though, it obviously has a better shot at longevity. There’s a steady demand for certain books, including classics that are commonly assigned in schools. Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried was routinely selling 100,000 copies a year back in 2006, sixteen years after it was released; today, the paperback edition ranks #10 in War Fiction, #15 in Short Stories, and #1,022 on Books overall on Amazon. Other titles have continued appeal for niche audiences. Irma Rombauer’s 1931 classic The Joy of Cooking can be easily found in multiple versions: two editions (the eighth, released through Scribner in 2006, and a perfect facsimile of the 1931 original, released in 1997) continue to be printed and stocked. Earlier editions circulate through the used-book trade as well, although those sales are unrelated to publishers’ profits.

In other words, all is not lost for publishers that don’t happen to have a stable of perennial bestsellers. A more modest property with devoted fans will bring in revenue too. Books for young readers provide plenty of examples: Green Eggs and Ham, first published in 1960, and The Going To Bed Book, first published in 1982, ranked in the top 20 for Publishers Weekly’s Bestselling Children’s Picture Books as of November 2016.

This is part of what’s known as the long tail, a business model that has come to prominence across multiple industries in the Internet age. With more options for warehousing, digital publishing, and print-on-demand fulfillment than ever before, it’s possible for a house to keep many titles in print even if some of them don’t move much volume. (It remains to be seen how print-on-demand will change publishing in the future. As the technology continues to evolve toward more individualization and efficiency, a book might never truly be out of print.) Broadly speaking, as long as those costs are low enough, there’s no reason not to offer a book for sale if someone wants to buy it. Of course, there’s plenty of debate over whether this is the best way to conceptualize the book business, and the decline of chain bookstores has changed the course of the long tail since it was first proposed. For now, though, the basic principle holds: planning around a single blockbuster is less practical than planning around the sales of many smaller books.

(A note about “moving volume”: booksellers often buy backlist packages from large publishers, like Penguin Random House. Books that sell over a certain threshold – sometimes as low as 25 copies a year – are eligible for the packages. The earlier example of The Things They Carried should not be considered representative of sales for all backlist titles.)

Relying on the backlist can and does change how the frontlist operates. If pressure is lessened on each new book to be a bestseller, there’s a better incentive to invest in titles that might sell slowly but consistently over the years. This is how Akashic, otherwise best-known as a publisher of minority and dissident voices, has proceeded in the wake of its immensely popular Go the F**k to Sleep. Proceeds from that 2011 title, a humorous picture book for beleaguered parents, funds the publication of new books by and publicity for the press’s other authors, which include Edwidge Danticat, Chris Abani, and Amiri Baraka.

So, if backlist sales can propel frontlist programming, it’s worthwhile to know how to market them both. To that end, as 21st-century consumers become accustomed to resource accessibility being the norm, many publishers are hiring for specifically backlist-focused jobs. Associate managers, backlist; inventory analysts; and reprint managers deal directly with the unique problems of older books, and plenty of the job postings for editorial assistantships viewable at the time of this writing list both frontlist and backlist as responsibilities. If a frontlist manager must drum up excitement and press for a new title, possibly by a debut author, then a backlist manager must sustain that excitement and translate it into continued sales.

The specific marketing practices that most benefit frontlist and backlist are in constant flux and could fill another article. As a general principle, then, it’s useful to think of these two sides of the business as being in constant conversation with each other. With ingenuity and savvy, a press can help its books can find their way to an interested reader no matter when they were originally published. Every book, to quote Charlie Nurnberg, is new to the person who hasn’t heard of it yet. Publishing might have seasons, but some ideas never go out of style.

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 11/14-11/18

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.

Wednesday night’s National Book Awards offered stirring speeches.

Bob Dylan won’t be attending the Nobel ceremony after all.

Penguin Random House‘s employees will start 2017 with a new chairman and a student loan repayment program

Barnes & Noble announced a new $49.99 Nook ahead of Black Friday.

After a lease scare, Greenwich Village’s Three Lives Bookstore is staying put.

Bonus: The Oxford Dictionaries‘ word of the year is “post-truth.”