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

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 5/18-5/22

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 is reportedly pressuring German publishers during contract negotiations.

The MacDowell Colony announced a new retreat fellowship for diverse writers.

Writers and translators found a way around censorship in Iran by publishing their work on the internet.

OverDrive launched OverDrive Listen, a web app that lets you listen to audiobooks in your web browser.

Barnes & Noble is letting people trade in their old Nooks, iPads, and Kindles for credit toward the new Nook.

BEA Basics for 2015

It’s spring. It’s May. It’s BEA!

BookExpo America, the annual trade fair for the North American book industry, is coming once again to the Javits Center in New York City. Running from May 27 to May 29, BEA 2015 promises three busy days full of exchange, expertise, and excitement.

Two big changes set this year’s BEA apart. First, the exhibit hall is opening on the same day as the conference. This “compact” scheduling should prove more convenient for attendees, event director Steve Rosato explained to Publishers Weekly. Second, BookCon has been organized as a separate business-to-consumer event, so that BEA can stay pure business-to-business. It’s also been expanded to two days, in response to last year’s high attendance; BookCon 2015 will take place at the Javits Center on May 30 and May 31.

This is also BEA’s last year at the Javits Center for at least a little while. After six years in a row in New York City, BEA is moving to Chicago in 2016.

As with previous years, the programming is very robust. Along with the exhibit hall and the conference, BEA will also feature author presentations, autographing sessions, and other special events throughout. You can view the full schedule on the official website, using the Conference Grid tool. (It’s not easy to navigate, to say the least, but sorting by track or event type really helps.)

In the exhibit hall, you’ll see close to 1,000 booths from industry players of all shapes and sizes. All Big Five publishers will be there, as well as independent and smaller publishers. Many will have galleys to share— so look through Publisher Weekly’s lists of adult and children’s galleys at BEA 2015 and plan ahead. Distributors, booksellers, and associations will be exhibiting, too.

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Top 5 Publishing News Stories 5/11-5/15

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.

Facebook began directly hosting articles from major news outlets this Wednesday.

Barnes & Noble is facing a gender discrimination lawsuit from a transgender ex-employee.

Simon & SchusterHarperCollins, and Kobo have separately teamed up with airlines, airports, and cultural centers to offer free ebooks.

The next version of Apple’s iOS will reportedly support textbooks on iPhones and iPads.

March 2015’s bookstore sales rose a healthy amount.

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 5/4-5/8

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.

McSweeney’s launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds as it becomes a nonprofit.

A journalist discovered that Google Play isn’t policing ebook pirates and then later noticed that some of the accounts he mentioned were disabled, but many pirated books were still available.

Amazon struck a deal with JetBlue to offer customers Kindle ebooks during flights, along with other Amazon services.

McGraw-Hill Education announced its plans to go public.

The Springer-Macmillan Science and Education merger is complete, uniting the companies under the new name Springer Nature.

For What It’s Worth: Fixed Book Price in Foreign Book Markets

Earlier this year, France made publishing news headlines when its court ruled ebook subscription services like Kindle Unlimited illegal. The law cited was the Lang Law, which gives publishers the exclusive right to set the price of a book. Retailers are not allowed to discount more than 5 percent from this set price.

You may be thinking, A measly 5 percent? Here in the United States, we’re used to seeing 50 percent or more slashed off our books. Price fixing in general is regarded as suspect and is, in fact, legally so. The Department of Justice sued Apple and the five Big Six publishers when they tried to set ebook prices through agency pricing. (To clarify, agency pricing itself isn’t illegal; that the companies coordinated with each other to set prices is.)

But in other parts of the world, price fixing is even welcomed— especially when it comes to books. Many countries have a fixed book price (FBP) system like France’s Lang Law.

An FBP system is an arrangement between publishers and retailers that establishes a (more or less) fixed price for each book sold in that market. Because retailers can’t compete on price, big box stores and online retailers have less advantage in the market, and independent bookstores have more opportunity to thrive. This diversity in the distribution network, in turn, is supposed to promote bibliodiversity. An FBP system assumes that variety— in booksellers and in books— is necessary for nurturing a healthy reading culture.

In practice, FBP systems look different from country to country. In some countries, FBP is a law; in others, it’s a trade agreement. Other variables include duration, discount rate, and format. For example, how long after publication does the fixed priced apply? What, if any, is the maximum discount allowed? Are ebooks included?

Among countries with a major publishing industry, FBP is somewhat common. Below is a list of the 23 largest book markets (according to the Frankfurt Book Fair Business Club) and their current FBP practice (collected from various sources).

FBP Chart FINAL

*The original source lists Russia as both the 12th and 19th largest book market.

But this doesn’t necessarily reflect the history or the future of FBP in these countries. Sweden and Australia, for example, were earlier adopters, but both abolished their FBP systems in the 1970s. Switzerland worked to revive their FBP system, until it failed in a referendum in 2012. Mexico signed an FBP law in 2008, but without provisions for enforcement it hasn’t done much except create chaos. Poland drafted a bill for an FBP system in late 2013; more than two years later, it’s still in the works.

What makes some countries say no and others say yes to fixing their book prices?

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Top 5 Publishing News Stories 4/27-5/1

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.

President Obama joined up with the New York Public Library to give children access to popular children’s and YA ebooks for free.

Books-A-Million announced their own ebook publishing services, called BAM! Publishing DIY this week.

Six authors withdrew from the PEN America gala due to their discomfort with Charlie Hebdo being honored.

The American Library Association and American Research Association with other groups have come together to call for copyright law reform in a group named Re:Create.

Tomorrow is the first ever Independent Bookstore Day, where shoppers can get special gifts and books available only at independent bookstores across the country.

Book Jobs Not by the Book: Amy Gall, Program Manager at National Book Foundation

Amy Gall writes, creates, and sometimes sleeps in Brooklyn.  Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in PANK, Joyland, Author PhotoThe Los Angeles Review of Books, and The Lambda Literary Review, among others. She earned her MFA in creative writing from The New School and is currently a Program Manager at The National Book Foundation.

 

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

 

My first job out of college was working as executive assistant to Denis Kitchen.  He has several literary agencies that represent graphic novelists and comic book artists.  It was my first full-time job so, I learned about discipline and focus there in general, but I also learned a lot how the publishing industry functions.  It was just Denis and I, so I went through the slush pile of agent query letters and selected authors whose work seemed promising and in line with the kind of work Denis was excited about, I gave feedback and edits to authors he represented and I worked with Denis on negotiating book deals and talking to editors at the publishing houses.  It gave me a real understanding of just how long it takes to go from pitch to published book and how important patience and a sense of humor is to that process.

 

How do you explain your current job to people?

 

I’m currently a Program Manager at the National Book Foundation.  My job is twofold.  Each year we put on the National Book Awards, so a few months of the year are dedicated almost exclusively to organizing that and the other events we put on during Awards week, including 5Under35, our award for promising fiction writers under 35.  The other part of my job focuses on expanding our incredible educational programs including BookUp, our national after school reading program for underserved middle-schoolers, and Innovations in Reading, a yearly prize awarded to individuals or organizations who develop creative ways to sustain a lifelong love of reading.

 

In what ways did your previous jobs or internships prepare you for what you do here?

 

I had some sense of the for-profit book industry because of my work with Denis and I had interned at an educational non-profit previous to that, but I started as an intern at the National Book Foundation (NBF) and those first two years of work really helped me to understand the landscape of literary non-profits.  I think you develop a skillset that you take with you to each job you have, but every place has it’s own specific goals and needs and you figure a lot of that out once you’re there.

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Top 5 Publishing News Stories 4/20-4/24

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.

Goodreads added free audio samples to its website this week.

The 2015 Pulitzer Prizes were announced.

After the announcements, it was revealed that the Pulitzer Prize Board asked for an additional nomination for the fiction prize before making its decision.

Two Hugo science fiction award nominees withdrew from the race due to the political controversies surrounding the award.

A bookstore in Florida opened with the mission of only selling self-published books.

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 4/13-4/17

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.

HarperCollins and Amazon reached an agreement.

Nielsen announced a new partnership with OpenBook, a book tracking service in China.

3M Cloud Library’s digital lending services are expanding into the UK and Australia.

The ALA released 2014’s most challenged and/or banned books in the United States.

London publisher Faber has struck a deal with Perseus.

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 4/6-4/10

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.

Hachette and Penguin Random House issued statements in support of revising the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in Indiana to bar discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

After negotiating a new contract with Amazon over the last few months, HarperCollins is expected to announce its plans to force all retailers to adopt agency pricing for its ebooks.

Harper Lee’s elder abuse case has been closed and no abuse or neglect was found.

Oyster launched an ebook store that currently features over one million titles from the top 10 publishers.

The new website Literary Hub launched this week and will feature aggregated and original editorial content.