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

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 8/22-8/26

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.

William Morris Endeavor acquired the LA-based boutique agency Rabineau Wachter Sanford & Gillett.

A Spanish publisher won the rights to clone the mysterious, centuries-old Voynich Manuscript.

Kenya’s 16% VAT on books is not going over well with the country’s publishers.

Amazon and Kobo announced their respective ongoing literary projects.

Donald Trump may have gone afoul of the FEC by using campaign donations to buy $55,000 in copies of his own book.

Book Jobs Not by the Book: Joel W. Coggins, Design & Production Editor at the University of Pittsburgh Press

Joel W. Coggins is the Design & Production Editor at the University of Pittsburgh Press, where he has worked since 2010. He was awarded an AAUP Mellon Residency Grant to visit the Design & Production Department at Columbia University Press in 2016. The only thing he seeks out more eagerly than bookstores while traveling is a good doughnut shop.

 

What was your first exposure to book business and what were the most important things you gained from it?
Somewhat typically, I worked on my high school’s literary magazine, which, while a small-time operation, at least lead to my realization that there are many necessary steps to bring a book into existence. I had a much more hands-on experience working on the Three Rivers Review of Undergraduate Literature while in college. It was during this time that I had to start actively making the phone calls and sending the e-mails that would keep everything moving. Overseeing the design & printing concerns for TRR were really what made me realize that those were things I care a lot about in the making of books.

How do you explain your current job to people?
I usually say “I’m a book designer.” And then they’ll ask, “like book covers, or…” and I say “yes, though I spend a lot more time concerned with the production of the books overall.” So then I usually go on a pedantic spiel about how cover design and book design are really separate production matters and tell them how much the phrase “interior design” grates on me in regard to book design. Then I explain that my job title is Design & Production Editor and I give a little overview of what goes into coordinating the production of a book. They usually say “that sounds pretty cool.” And I say “It is! I’m very lucky to have a job I’m really passionate about.

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

I worked a lot, since I was a kid, at many jobs: swimming pool concessionaire, fry cook, sandwich artist. I’ve always had a streak of the Midwestern work ethic in me. My college work-study job, as a building/house manager at the student union, was really important in that I learned a lot about office organization and efficiency.

What value has this job brought to the way you think about book business as a whole and your own relationship to books?

Now that I work in scholarly publishing, I have much more insight into the financial realities of getting each book into the world. It’s been valuable to learn more about this, because from a production standpoint I’m now able to find a way to make every book the best, most beautiful book it can be within its budget. And that’s what I want: a world full of beautiful books.

 What advice would you give someone who is interested specifically in scholarly publishing?

It is important to learn what makes scholarly & university press publishing different from other publishing pursuits. It is largely a matter of mission: prioritizing the advancement and dissemination of scholarship ahead of profit (though both are important concerns!). University Presses have differing speciality areas and functions within their home institutions, and each is a little different from the next. The most valuable resource I can suggest is the Association of American University Presses, the organizational body that brings U.P.s together: www.aaupnet.org.

What principles of book design do you wish were more widely embraced – not just in books, but in our daily lives?
No orphans. Rimshot!

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 8/15-8/19

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 & Noble fired their CEO, Ronald Boire.

HarperCollins unveiled a new design for their website this week.

For the first half of 2016, bookstore sales are up over 6%.

Wattpad is rolling out ads that will allow their writers to earn money through their posts.

Pamela Paul will soon be in charge of all books coverage at the New York Times.

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 8/8-8/12

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.

Penguin Random House will consolidate its two offices in 2019.

Bonnier Publishing announces a new US division.

After four years, Target will once again sell Kindles.

The National Endowment for the Humanities will endow over $4 million in publishing grants.

CliffsNotes is getting new digital features, including subscription-based test prep.

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 8/1-8/5

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.

Post-Cursed Child release, J.K. Rowling says that Harry Potter is “now done.”

Sourcebooks is adding customization options to certain titles through its Simple Truths business imprint.

No new novel cracked the bestseller list in the first half of 2016.

Hachette is partnering with Tapas Media to release several of its titles in “bite-size” mobile form.

Forbes released its list of highest-paid authors for 2016.

What Brexit Means for the Publishing Industry

General Response

Citizens of the world were shocked when the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union on Thursday, June 23rd . Many have likened the scenario to one of doomsday fiction. English novelist Robert Harris wrote on Twitter, “Feel as if I’m living in a bad dystopian political thriller.” However, despite people’s shock, British feelings of separatism from the EU are not new. According to the New York Times, Britain was initially reluctant to join with its neighbors in Europe when the European Economic Community was founded in 1957. After only two years of membership, Britain held an exit referendum similar to the one that just occurred, but one that resulted in a “Remain” majority vote.

After the landmark “Leave” majority vote was announced this past June, financial markets experienced immediate impacts. The value of the pound plummeted, and stocks fell worldwide. In contrast, the effects of Brexit within the publishing industry will be slower to reveal themselves, but those working in the book business have already expressed their pessimism. In this article, The Bookseller commented on a poll they ran online between June 10th  and 14th . Their polling revealed that 78% of people in the book trade opposed the EU Referendum, and that a quantifiably similar majority thought that a “Leave” vote would have negative-to-catastrophic consequences for the book business.

A general dismay concerning the UK’s decision was immediately apparent within the industry. Many British authors, including J.K. Rowling and Kazuo Ishiguro, publicly voiced their frustrations online, and several UK publishing professionals have also spoken out. Chief executive at Faber & Faber, Stephen Page, condemned the UK’s decision on Twitter, along with Canongate’s Jamie Byng. The Guardian reported that Gail Rebuck, chair of Penguin Random House UK, referred to the passing of Brexit as “a disastrous night,” and that Hachette UK Group Chief Executive Tim Hely Hutchinson confessed that he was “disappointed.” The Bookseller commented that it has “become clear” that few people in publishing endorsed the “Leave” campaign.

Possible Effects

…On Profitability

Some effects on the publishing industry have already been observable. Literary agent Barry Goldblatt revealed immediate losses on June 24th, only a single day after the “Leave” vote.

brexit tweet

Some in the book business have expressed fears of an impending recession, such as Philip Jones, an editor for The Bookseller, who wrote that the publishing industry is “not so healthy that it could easily survive another recession.” A seasoned publishing journalist writing for Publishers Weekly, Liz Thomson predicted a destabilizing of consumer spending, due to an increase in the cost of living in the UK. If this reveals itself to be a true consequence, British citizens will be less likely to purchase discretionary goods, which will most likely mean a drop in book buying according to Thomson. With less money being spent on books, jobs in the book trade will also be put at risk. Employment loss is to be expected, according to James Daunt, the Managing Director at Waterstones, a UK-based chain of bookshops. In an email to his employees sent days before the vote occurred, Daunt warned of impending job cuts if the UK were to vote to leave the European Union. His reason: he expects “significant retail downturn.” Read More »

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 7/25-7/29

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 Man Booker Prize longlist was announced on Wednesday.

Nielsen will now sell ISBNs, making it easier for self-published authors to have ISBNs.

Marvel Comics has hired black female writers for the first time.

The Eisner awards were this week, and winners included Representative John Lewis.

AAP reports that publisher revenues were up this February.

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 7/18-7/22

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.

Hachette and Booktrack are partnering to provide soundtracks for select young adult novellas.

Amazon launches “Singles Classics” for the Kindle app, a service dedicated to stories and essays from years past.

The Library of Congress continues to recover from a July 17 denial-of-service attack.

With its expansion into “Channels,” Audible brings “a Netflix sensibility to reading junkies” – but don’t call it podcasting.

Hastings Entertainment is shutting down all of its stores for liquidation.

Bonus: See the original homepage from Amazon’s 1995 launch.

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 7/11-7/15

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.

After a long wait, Carla Hayden was confirmed to be the new librarian of Congress.

Tor began a new monthly book club that offers a free ebook each month.

DC announced the new Superman will be Kong Kenan, a Chinese boy.

IPG purchased InScribe Digital.

Barnes & Noble announced two new changes, a partnership with Adaptive Studios and selling cosmetics in their college bookstores.

A Trendsetter Farewell from Jen Donovan

waving emojiEditor’s note: It is with both great excitement for Jen and sadness for me that I share this today. Last Wednesday was Jen’s last day with Trendsetter. She’s given so much energy and work behind Trendsetter, and I can’t wait to see what comes of her new chapter at St. Martin’s.

After what feels like the shortest two years of my life, I’ve decided to leave Publishing Trendsetter to work as an assistant editor at St. Martin’s Press.

I originally joined the Trendsetter team hoping to learn more about the publishing industry as a whole, especially the more business-oriented aspects that are often ignored in editorial departments. I’m so happy to be taking away a wealth of knowledge from this experience and can’t wait to put it to use in my new position.

The things I’ve learned by writing for Trendsetter and for its parent site Publishing Trends have varied greatly, from the basic like how ISBNs work in self-publishing and which newsletters I should subscribe to, to the more complicated like how libraries license ebooks and what VAT has to do with DRM in Europe. This is in large thanks to my editor Samantha Howard who always encouraged me to research whatever interested me or whatever I cared to learn more about.

In addition to learning by writing, a lot of what I’ve learned here was done through reading. This learning was achieved partly by reading as many books in as many genres as possible to broaden my reading horizons. But I believe an even larger amount was through reading everything and anything on news sites that had to do with the book publishing industry. This is how we find articles for our Top 5 Links series, but it’s also how I learned about the trends in the industry, which I think is important knowledge for anyone who hopes to find the next bestselling novel.

So here’s my parting advice to anyone in the beginning of their publishing career, based on my own limited experience:

  1. If there’s any small part of publishing that interests you or that you don’t understand but want to, research it until you know everything about it. Just because you might’ve finished school doesn’t mean it’s time to stop learning. Instead, it’s time for you to take the initiative to learn about your chosen industry on your own.
  2. Read everything. Don’t limit yourself to one genre, or one publishing department or one company, but instead read whatever books are recommended to you, read the news, and read the op-eds. Everyone knows publishing is in a state of flux. You need to know what’s changing and how it affects what you do or want to do.

I hope you find this advice helpful and that you’ve found my posts helpful. Thanks for everything!