In Case You Missed It…PT Picks: Written in the Dark, ed. by Polina Barskova

PT Picks: Written in the Dark, edited by Polina Barskova (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2016)

From Nina:

wrtitteninthedark_giant_300dpi-copyIn the best of times, translating poetry is difficult; Russian poetry, doubly so. By that logic, it’s frankly miraculous that Written in the Dark made it into English at all. The five men collected in this volume were writing in the midst of World War II’s Siege of Leningrad, which claimed the lives of some million and a half Russians – one of the deadliest blockades in history. The poetry they produced describes the resulting hunger and death in unsparing detail. As this ran contrary to the Soviet policy of depicting only heroism, this work was quite literally hidden away from the censors by the poets and their heirs for decades.

For this project, poet and professor Polina Barskova led a fleet of students in the translation effort, presenting the English directly alongside its Russian original. Literary critic Ilya Kukulin contributed an essay for the back matter. The book provides a brief and brutal window into the past, as recorded by artists who doubted their own survival – and who, even so, continued to innovate the Russian language and poetic form. There’s much to appreciate here, whether you’re new to the Slavic corpus or already a scholar, because the poetry dazzles in its own right.

A note: Ugly Duckling Presse is a micropress based out of Brooklyn, NY. Its catalogue features a number of forgotten, lost, or obscure texts, particularly of Soviet origin. Though their print runs are small many titles are available through UDP’s distributor, Small Press Distribution, or through their website. UDP also has partnerships with a number of bookstores across the US, as well as Canada and Europe.


The five poets in this anthology survived the deadly Leningrad winter of 1942. Their poetry, written in during tremendous horror and now collected and translated into English for the first time, reflects an era of Soviet suffering in the vernacular of the avant-garde.

Top 5 Publishing Articles/Blog Posts of the Week 10/31-11/4

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.

Paypal released survey data that shows readers are willing to spend more money on ebooks than video games.

What does the long tail of a graphic novel series look like?

The Bookseller presents a roundup of trends to watch in publishing.

What are the best parts of using an ereader?

How is text-to-speech technology growing?

International Bestsellers, October 2016

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: Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates. 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.







What Kids Want: Nielsen’s Children’s Book Summit 2016

Nielsen’s annual Children’s Book Summit took place on Oct 27th in Manhattan’s Financial District. With an overflow crowd in attendance, the daylong conference delivered information that went well beyond Nielsen’s own data and analytics. The day was filled with stats and information from a range of speakers on what kids are reading, what devices they’re using, and—to the surprise of many attendees— the role of YouTube in kids’ lives.

DubIt’s David Kleeman explained that today’s children use YouTube as Google because when they’re curious about something, they don’t want text: they want images, sound, and/or video. Kleeman went on to explain that YouTube is one of the most influential factors on children, second only to their friends. Later in the program, Nadine Zylstra, Head of Family Learning and Entertainment for YouTube Originals said, “Non-fiction is growing on YouTube because parents and kids watch together.” When some kids (who ranged from 2nd to 4th graders) showed up to tell attendees what technology they like and use, three out of the four children were enthusiastic YouTube watchers. Dog videos (pugs and Pomeranians, to be specific) were favorites among two of the children and another said he loved watching videos because “We can learn anything, and it’s fun.” As Zylstra explained, YouTube is popular with kids because it’s “so collaborative, so active, so engaging.”

Another common thread for the day was the tricky path of finding success in media directed at children that must also appeal to an older age group: parents. Betsy Loredo of Sesame Workshop explained “We know that kids learn best when their parents are in the room, but we must include content for parents. Otherwise it doesn’t get shared….We don’t exist if parents don’t share.” CJ Kettler, EVP of Consumer Brands and Strategy at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, explained the difficulty of having profitable children’s technology products: “The content is always for the kids, but you need that moment when the device is in the parents’ hands. That’s the selling moment.” Nielsen Summit Chair Kristen McLean’s morning data presentation also highlighted the importance of parents and their kids.  In mentioning that the juvenile non-fiction category of Holidays and Celebrations is steadily growing, she explained that it is it’s an area where parents and family members are willing to invest money in high quality books to share. Additionally, she said that board books have been “exploding” in the last three years because parents see them as very affordable.

Toward the end of the day, attendees were presented with the data on an even trickier age group to understand: the millennial parent. (For this research, a millennial is considered someone aged 18-34.) While this presentation by Jordan Rost didn’t center specifically around books, it provided insight into what they value. Some takeaways were that millennials themselves are 24% of a global population. Also, they have less money, but they’re willing to spend more money on something if it’s high-quality and will last a long time. They want to be associated with “doing the right thing” and therefore be associated with companies with  sustainable missions. Perhaps one of the most important things that Rost shared about millennials is that “building communities and connections is what energizes” them.

Though each presentation and panel was different, each came back to the idea that there is a lot of high quality content out there for children – and their parents – and there’s a lot more of it to come. As ever, our challenge in the book industry is finding ways to get our content into their hands, on their smartphone screen, or even in a YouTube video.

Top 5 Publishing Articles/Blog Posts of the Week 10/24-10/28

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.

Publishers could learn from the film industry as they develop subscription services.

Crime fiction is seeing more critical respect.

Why is digital content priced higher than the hard copy?

What role should the Copyright Office play at the Library of Congress?

Why are there so many “girls” in the titles of contemporary releases?

People Round-Up, Mid-October 2016


Abrams has announced two new imprints. Jess Brallier has been named Vice President, Publisher of Abrams Plus. He previously worked in marketing and as a publisher at Little, Brown, Addison Wesley, and Penguin, and as Publisher and President of the Family Education Network. Jamison Stoltz has been appointed Executive Editor for a soon-to-be-launched imprint focusing on narrative nonfiction. He previously worked as Senior Editor at Grove/Atlantic. Amy Vreeland has joined Abrams as Senior Managing Editor, children’s division. Previously she was managing editor at Farrar, Straus Children’s.

At Holt Children’s, Christian Trimmer will take over as Editorial Director on November 7, following a reorganization of that unit. He previously worked as Executive Editor at Simon & Schuster Children’s. Also in the children’s group, Laura Godwin is starting a Godwin Books imprint, reporting to Jean Feiwel. Editors Sally Doherty and Lauren Bisom are leaving the company.

At Penguin Random House, John Schline is stepping down after over three decades with both Penguin and Random House. He had most recently been Senior Vice President, Corporate Director Business Affairs, and will serve as a consultant through the end of 2016. David Sanford has been promoted to Senior Vice President, Executive Director, Contracts and Permissions Worldwide. He was previously Vice President/Director, Publishing Contracts.

At Open Road, Caroline Ziegler has joined as Director, Business Development. She was previously Director, Business Development at Yodle. Carolyn Cox has joined as editor of The Portalist, a new website for fans of “fans of science fiction, fantasy, and genre-related pop culture news.” She was previously Editor at The Mary Sue.

At Ecco, Martin Wilson is joining as Senior Publicity Manager.

Erin Kottke is joining Catapult as Director of Publicity effective October 24. Previously, she was head of Erin Kottke Public Relations.

Fiona Kennedy, former Managing Director and Publisher of Orion Children’s, will join Head of Zeus in 2017 to run their new children’s imprint, Zephyr.

At Chronicle Books, Brittany Boughter has joined as Marketing Manager, Entertainment and Art. She was most recently Digital Marketing Manager at Penguin Random House.

At Wiley, Judy Verses is joining as Executive Vice President, Research. She succeeds Philip Carpenter, who is retiring. Verses was previously President, Global Enterprise and Education, at Rosetta Stone.

At Rare Bird, Andrew Hungate has joined as Marketing and Publicity Director. He previously worked for Dalkey Archive Press as Marketing and Development Fellow.

Narda Zacchino has joined Los Angeles-based Heyday as Executive Editor. She previously worked at the Los Angeles Times, as Associate Editor and Vice President, and at the San Francisco Chronicle, as deputy editor.

At DK, Christi Sheehan has joined as Associate Publicist. She was previously Publicity Assistant at Harlequin.

Vicki Jaeger has joined Printers Row Publishing Group, a division of ReaderLink Marketing Services, as developmental editor for Portable Press. Vicki was marketing manager at Mattel Consumer Products, and most recently a licensing consultant for entertainment and consumer products companies.

Colton Long is now Project Coordinator at Insight Editions.

At agencies…Jessica Craig has launched her own international literary agency, Craig Literary, based in Barcelona. She was most recently an agent at the Pontas Agency. Sarah Bedingfield has joined Levine Greenberg Rostan as Associate Agent. She was previously Assistant Editor at Crown and Hogarth.

At Disney Publishing Worldwide, Jeanne Mosure is leaving her position as Senior Vice President & Group Publisher. She had been with the Walt Disney Company since 1998.

Kathy Schneider is leaving her position as Senior Vice President, Associate Publisher at HarperCollins. She may be reached at [email protected].

Cristina Lee, Operations and Commercial Director of Harlequin for Australia and New Zealand, is leaving the company as it is integrated into the operations of HarperCollins.

Gregory Henry has left his position as Assistant Director of Publicity at Regan Arts and can be reached at [email protected].

  Read More »

Top 5 Publishing Articles/Blog Posts of the Week 10/10-10/14

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.

Who are the stars of the audiobook world?

Indie ebooks don’t often use ISBNs, but there are compelling reasons to consider adding them.

A warning from Penguin Random House UK: publishing may “become irrelevant” if it fails to diversify.

Open educational resources are raising questions about copyright that affect publishers, too.

What is the difference in quality between self-publishing and traditional publishing?

The 2016 Book Distributors Profiles

Publishing Trends has assembled an updated version of our annual book distribution chart. The year’s largest change is Ingram‘s expansion after the purchase of Perseus.

We welcome your feedback to help make it more accurate and comprehensive. Please click the link below to download a PDF of this year’s Book Distributors Profiles and Contact Sheet.


Click on the image of the chart above for a full PDF version of the 2016 Distributor Profiles and Contact Sheet.

Top 5 Publishing Articles/Blog Posts of the Week 10/3-10/7

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.

Just because a children’s book is a bestseller, does that make it good?

The National Book Foundation is sponsoring a study on translation in the United States.

The possible unmasking of Elena Ferrante spurred a lot of thinkpieces.

A new study from Bowker revealed that over 625,000 books were self-published last year.

What can big data do for educational publishing?