International Bestsellers, January 2015

Every month, Publishing Trends runs fiction international bestsellers lists from four territories–France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. This month, our four regular territories are joined by two more: Canada and Poland. Those books that have been published in English are listed with their official English-language title. All others are translated as literally as possible from the original. Where applicable, the US publisher is listed after the local publisher, separated by a “/”. The lists are taken from major newspapers or national retailers, which are noted at the bottom of each list.





BestsellerJan2015 Italy






Top 5 Publishing Articles/Blog Posts of the Week 1/19-1/23

number_5_redEvery week, we recommend 5 publishing articles/blog posts that supplement the major news for the week. Whether data or industry commentary, we hope these 5 links will be a simple way to keep you in the know.

How should the ebook sales data from Nielsen Bookscan be interpreted?

Book sales, especially print, rose in October, according to the AAP.

What are some of the lessons to be learned from the Macmillan and Springer merger?

Are future readers going to cultivate two separate personal libraries: print and digital?

What can the publishing industry take away from data being collected by ebook platforms?

People Round-Up, Mid-January 2015


Nathaniel Marunas was named Publisher at Quercus USJason Bartholomew, who is based in the UK, is Director in addition to his current role as Rights Director for Hodder, Headline, John Murray Press, and Quercus.

In children’s publishing, Michael Eisenberg joined Highlights in the newly created role of Director, Book Marketing.  He will report to VP Print and eBook Sales and Marketing Jack W. Perry. Eisenberg has been Consultant at Highlights for the past five years and was previously SVP and Co-Publisher of Children’s Books at Farrar, Straus & Giroux. . .Michelle Bayuk joined Quarto Publishing Group US in the newly created position of Associate Director Children’s Book Marketing, Publicity, and Social Media.  She was previously Associate Sales and Marketing Director at Egmont Publishing. . . Martha Rago will join Random House/Golden Books Young Readers Group as Creative Director in February.  She was previously Associate Creative Director at HarperCollins Children’s. . . Sandee Roston left her position as Publicity Director at HarperCollins Children’s and can be reached at [email protected]. . . Tim Ditlow joined Epic! as VP of Content.  He was most recently Associate Publisher, Children’s Audio at Amazon.

Rebekah Anderson joined Sasquatch Books as Director of Marketing.  She was most recently Supervisor, Customer Engagement Communications at Puget Sound Energy.

Ami Webster McConnell joined Howard Books as VP, Editor-in-Chief.  Previously, she was Senior Acquisitions Editor for Fiction at HarperCollins Christian Publishing.

Disney/Hyperion hired Kieran Viola as Senior Editor.  She was previously Editor at Alloy Entertainment.

Taylor Sperry joined Melville House as Editor. She was previously at Farrar, Straus & Giroux.

Holly LaDue is now Acquisitions Editor at Prestel Publishing US, based in NY.  She was previously Freelance Editor for Rizzoli.

Sarah Carstens joined Rizzoli as Client Publisher Sales ManagerShe was formerly Sales Manager, Stationary & Calendars at teNeues Publishing.

At literary agencies, Camille Goldin joined Ann Rittenberg Agency as Agent while Penn Whaling has left. . . Andrea Hurst is retiring from the agency division of Andrea Hurst & Associates after 13 years.  She will continue to work as Developmental Editor and Consulting.

Kristi Pfeffer joined Timber Press as Senior Designer.  Formerly, she was Art Director at Lark Crafts.

Sharon Hancock is retiring from her position as Executive Director of Library Marketing and Outreach at Candlewick after more than 10 years with the company.  She can be reached at [email protected].

Frank Weihenig joined Gutenberg Technology as VP, Sales, US.  Formerly, he was Director Business Development-Prepress at codeMantra, LLC.

Katie Powell Bell joined Icon Media Group as Senior Publicist.  She was previously Senior Publicist at HarperCollins Christian.

Chila Woychik retired as Managing Editor at Port Yonder Press after 5 years with the company and can be reached at [email protected].

Bob Minzesheimer will work Part-Time at the Village Bookstore in Pleasantville, NY in addition to working as Freelance Book Critic.  He was previously at USA Today as Books Reporter.

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Top 5 Publishing Articles/Blog Posts of the Week 1/12-1/16

number_5_redEvery week, we recommend 5 publishing articles/blog posts that supplement the major news for the week. Whether data or industry commentary, we hope these 5 links will be a simple way to keep you in the know.

Why are publishers so keen on ebook subscription services?

Is there a downside to teaching children to read at a young age?

Do publishers overestimate the importance of social media as a marketing tool?

Apple announced that the release of iOS8 and larger iPhones have driven sales in the iBook store.

Michael Cairns makes his predictions for trends in publishing this year.

DBW 2015: Data and Direct-to-Consumer Engagement

During the second day of the Digital Book World Conference, we attended two events about the future of publishing: Building the Trade Publishers of the Future: Trade Publishers Remaking Themselves and Gaming the Page: Book Publishing Meets Games.  Both of these sessions noted how traditional publishing is using trend information discovered through data collection and reader feedback to make informed decisions on their publishing program.

During the Building the Trade Publishers of the Future session, moderator Carolyn Pittis from Welman Digital introduced the panelists by saying that “some of the people here might not describe themselves even as publishers anymore.  I think what you’ll hear here are four leaders of businesses that are blending traditional publishing…with what is now required to sell content in all forms.”

According to Pittis, the way that the publishers can narrow down how to sell that content is through a utilization of data from readers (such as Bookscan numbers) to make informed decisions about acquisitions based on trends.  F+W President Sara Domville said “The book doesn’t necessarily come first.  The webonomics do.”  It was also pointed out, however, that while publishers should look at the trends to make informed decisions, at no point should this data eclipse a publishing house’s instinct to take on the projects that make their company unique.

Toward the end of the session, Regan Arts Associate Publisher and Executive Editor Lucas Wittmann predicted that live events and unique experiences that accompany the books – instead of just the writing – will be important to the future of publishing.

The Gaming the Page sessions also mentioned how publishers can use games to collect information for their books and reach their audience in a different format.

Scholastic, for example, has launched games to accompany its series The 39 Clues and Spirit Animals, among other.   Associate Producer Keith Fretz said of gathering feedback to improve the books, “We don’t always know the exact points that [readers] get confused, the exact points where they lose interest without asking them directly.” With games, publishers can answer these questions without asking, which makes the results more organic.  From there, the game, and by extension the books can evolve to better engage the audience.

Full Fathom Five Editorial Director Greg Ferguson said that his company is using a game based on the James Frey Endgame series as a way “to bring in a different audience that might not necessarily want to pick up the book, but after playing the game, might go back for the book” as well as for the audience already reading the series.  This sentiment was echoed by Fretz who said that the games are meant to be a social and gaming outlet for kids already interested in the original books, who are looking for more content that is familiar but not identical to the book so that both are standalone formats.

While the industry will always depend on publishers and game creators and other content developers to bring experience and intuition to the acquisition process, it is clear from this year’s DBW sessions that now that content creators have learned how to commune directly with their consumer, the wealth of analytical data that is available will be put to great use to ensure a receptive audience.

Launch Kids 2015 Recap: Data, Communities, Storytelling

Launch Kids celebrated its 4th year on the first day of Digital Book World on January 13th, 2015 at the Midtown Hilton. The morning sessions were data-rich and the rest of the afternoon showed attendees how digital for kids grows through community and storytelling.


One of the most shocking pieces of data came from Jonathan Nowell from BookScan’s presentation: 80% of YA titles are purchased by adults for themselves, which brings up some interesting questions about audience and genre:

Nowell’s presentation had plenty of heartening news about the children’s book market too. 2014 saw a significant boost in sales in children’s books.


Nielsen book market

But David Kleeman from PlayCollective showed us the stiff competition that children’s books face every single day: tablets and smartphones.

tablet usage David Kleeman

A big take away from the morning is that digital efforts can boost print sales significantly.

Eric Huang from Made in Me explained that some important sales from their company have come from print rights from some of Made in Me’s popular digital-only books.


And some of the digital-to-print success of course comes from online marketing. Director of Marketing at Random House Children’s, Kim Lauber talked about the big success of We Were Liars, due in large part to their marketing efforts on Tumblr.

we were liars tumblr

Morgan Baden at Scholastic echoed the same sentiment saying “You know a book is going to be a big deal if we launch a Tumblr for it.”

Tumblr is an attractive place for marketing because of the communities within Tumblr that can make campaigns exist without the marketers. Lauber said, once their images hit Tumblr and the book came out lots of fan art and original posts about the book blossomed all over the site.

Another community heavy area of the internet is the fanfiction community. Lots of young people spend time reading and writing there to be a part of a group that loves the same thing Lanie Taylor from Alloy Entertainment admitted that she came to fanfiction as an outsider but what she sees is that “The object is what gets you, but the community is what sustains you.” Wattpad’s Ashleigh Gardner talked about how celebrity fanfiction is on the rise, and cited One Direction fanfiction being one of the most popular fanfics on their site, mentioning the success of Anna Todd’s After.


Helping a story come to life doesn’t always begin with an author. Co-owners of Paper Lantern Lit, Lauren Oliver and Lexa Hillyer discussed stories built from intellectual property, or IP, with  President and Publisher of HarperCollins Children’s Susan Katz. Katz said that HarperCollins’ use of IP came from a desire to have “full creative rights” of a story, but maintained that flexibility with the author is essential.

2014 seemed like the year of ebook subscription services and children weren’t left out of this trend, but catering to kids creates its own set of challenges. As Neal Shenoy from Speakaboos stated, the person buying the subscription isn’t the person reading the story.

Each of the panelists from this segment came from three different subscription services Speakaboos, MeeGenius, and SmartyPAL (which will officially launch this month) feature ebooks unique to them. Speakaboos and MeeGenius also have licensed content from partners like Thomas the Tank Engine and Sesame Street, respectively.

Barbara Marcus, President and Publisher of Random House Children’s wrapped up the day very well responding to Mike Shatzkin’s question: What really is the difference between children’s publishing and adult? “We don’t publish for a 6 week cycle. We publish for backlist…We’re on another planet.”

Top 5 Publishing Articles/Blog Posts of the Week 1/5-1/9

number_5_redEvery week, we recommend 5 publishing articles/blog posts that supplement the major news for the week. Whether data or industry commentary, we hope these 5 links will be a simple way to keep you in the know.

Is calling a book “difficult” subjective, making the concept of readability a myth?

Overdrive announced a 32% increase in ebook lending in 2014.

Does reading aloud to older children help their reading comprehension skills?

In a survey from PEN American Centerwriters said they self-censor due to worries about government surveillance.

New study from PlayCollective and Digital Book World shows that more kids are using devices for e-reading.

People Round-Up, Early January 2015


Geoff Shandler joined William Morrow as VP, Editorial Director at its new unnamed imprint, handling the nonfiction side of the list, which will also feature literary fiction.  He was most recently Editorial Director of Adult Trade at Little, Brown.

Bob Spizer is leaving his position as Group Director of Domestic Rights at HarperCollins at the end of January after 31 years. He can be reached at [email protected].

W. Ralph Eubanks is leaving his position as Editor-in-Chief at the Virginia Quarterly Review in June. He may be reached at [email protected].

Brant Rumble joined Blue Rider Press as Senior Editor after leaving a position with the same title at Scribner.

Hilary Teeman joined Crown as Senior Editor.  She was previously Editor at St. Martin’s Press.

In children’s publishing, Gillian Levinson is now Paperback Publishing Manager at Random House Children’s.  She was previously Editor at Razorbill. . . Kara Sargent joined Little, Brown Books for Young Readers as Executive Editorial Director for brand, licensed, and media tie-in publishing.  Formerly, she was Editorial Director at Simon & Schuster Children’s. . . Michael Petranek is now Senior Editor at Scholastic.  He was previously Associate Editor at Papercutz.

Nan Vermylen Thornton joined Zachary Shuster Harmsworth Agency as Agent.  Previously, she was practicing copyright law as In-House Counsel at Pearson Education.

In religious publishing, Shaun Tabatt is Nonfiction Publicist, Bethany House and Chosen at Baker Publishing Group.  Formerly, he was Community Development Manager at Fortress Press.

Amanda Diehl is now Publicity Manager at David R. Godine. Previously, she was Publicity Intern at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Pamela Sandstrom is now Reference Editor at Choice, the publishing unit of the Association of College & Research Libraries.

Rebekah Anderson is now Director of Marketing at Sasquatch Books. She previously was Supervisor of Customer Engagement at Puget Sound Energy.

Leon Wieseltier joined The Atlantic as Contributing Editor and Critic.  He was previously Literary Editor at The New Republic.

Read More »

Listen Up! The Audiobook Revolution

With audiobook sales numbers on the rise over the past two years, retailers have been searching for new ways to appeal to wider audiences. So far, the most common trends have been straight-to-audio publications, library digital downloads, abridged audiobooks, and an increase in subscription services.  However, speculation has begun to spread as to whether publishers should repackage audiobooks to be more similar to podcasts, given the format’s latest successes.

At the end of November, Audible published The Starling Project by thriller writer Jeffery Deaver.  This publication differs from other audiobooks in one major way: it has never appeared in print.  In The New York Times, Alexandra Alter wrote that the book will “test the appetite for an emerging art form that blends the immersive charm of old-time radio drama with digital technology” and points out that this initiative shows that audiobooks are “coming into their own as a creative medium” in the publishing industry.

Deaver, who has no plans to authorize publication in print or digitally, is the most recognizable name in Audible’s content creating program, which has produced 30 other audio-exclusive original works.

Audible is not alone.  According to the same New York Times article, audiobook producer GraphicAudio is planning on releasing two of its own original series in 2015.

These new audio-first programs aren’t surprising given the surge of popularity for audiobooks in the last two years.  According to The Digital Reader, the American Association of Publishers (AAP) released a new report in October that stated downloadable audiobooks are the fastest growing format with a +26.2% growth in 2013.  In 2014, the AAP reported that sales were up 28%.  Meanwhile, ebooks are the second fastest growing with +7.5% growth in 2013 and 6% in 2014.

Read More »

Top 5 Publishing Articles/Blog Posts of the Week 12/29-1/2

number_5_redEvery week, we recommend 5 publishing articles/blog posts that supplement the major news for the week. Whether data or industry commentary, we hope these 5 links will be a simple way to keep you in the know.

What will be the biggest digital trends for libraries this year?

How do professional bookbinders carry on in the digital age of books?

Will 2015 be a sluggish year for ebooks?

What can publishers do to make ebook subscription services worth their while?

What do publishers stand to gain from the trend of direct-to-consumer sales other than money?