Top 5 Publishing Articles/Blog Posts of the Week 6/1- 6/5

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 there so few literary agencies in the Middle East?

What is the prevalence of digital services doing to physical audiobooks?

Why aren’t magazines utilizing more video streaming services to promote their content?

What are the benefits of proprietary ebook formats?

Why do new authors cling to physical books?

People Round-Up, Early June 2015


Catherine Makk joined HarperCollins as VP, Global Insight.  She was Director, Retail and Consumer Insights at Vogue.  Additionally, Allison Jarvela is now Senior Manager, Consumer insight. Previously, she was Market Research Analyst at Wiley.

Laura Owen joined Nieman Journalism Lab as Deputy Editor.  She was previously Managing Editor of GigaOM.

Mark Kuyper was named Executive Director of Book Industry Study Group, effective June 15th. He came from Evangelical Christian Publishers Association.

Chriscynethia Floyd joined David C Cook as VP, Sales and Marketing for Books and New Media, effective July 6th. She is currently VP, Marketing, Trade for Harper Christian and VP of Marketing for Zonderkidz.

Terry Newell joined Insight Editions as Head of Sales and Marketing.  Most recently, he was President of Weldon Owen.

Publisher of Cleis Press and Founder of Viva Editions Brenda Knight has left the company, citing irreconcilable differences with the new ownership, Start Publishing.  The rest of the original staff resigned as well. Knight announced plans to launch an author-centered marketing consulting firm.

James Ernest is now Editor-in-Chief at Wm B. Eerdmans Publishing. He was Executive Editor at Baker Academic and Brazos Press.

Baker Publishing Group VP, Editorial Director Susan Allison will retire in July after 40 years in publishing.

Martin Barabas joined Regan Arts as Publicity Manager.  He was most recently at Ingber & Associates Talent Agency as Associate.

Avalon Radys joined Inkshares as Marketing Manager.  She was previously Editor-in-Chief at Umano.

In children’s publishing, Jessica Shoffel will join Little, Brown Books for Young Readers as Director of Publicity, leaving her current position as Associate Director of Publicity at Penguin Young Readers Group.

Publicists Kimberly Burns, Whitney Peeling, and Michael Taeckens have formed a full-service publicity group called Broadside: Expert Literary PR. They have previously worked for Random House, Perseus Books Group, and Graywolf, respectively.

Katharine Smalley Myers joined Little, Brown as Publicity Manager. She was previously Director of Sales at Princeton Architectural Press.

McKenna Jordan, the owner of independent bookshop Murder By the Book, was appointed to the newly created role, Publishing Consultant at Minotaur Books.  The position will report to Associate Publisher Kelley Ragland. She will provide her expertise on the positioning, selling, and marketing of mysteries and crime fiction exclusively to Minotaur.

Sarah Knight left her position as Senior Editor at Simon & Schuster to launch Sarah Knight Books, which provides editorial, book doctoring, and ghost writing services.

Declan Taintor joined Picador as Senior Publicist. Previously, he was Publicist at powerhouse Books.

Ariel Lewiton joined Sarabande Books as Director of Marketing and Publicity. She is also Interviews Editor at Guernica Magazine.

Brad Woods joined VIZ Media as Chief Marketing Officer.  He was SVP at DreamWorks Animation.

At literary agencies, Julie Barer, Faye Bender, Brettne Bloom, and Elisabeth Weed have teamed up to launch the full-service literary agency The Book Group. Rebecca Stead has also joined the agency as Agent. Anna Geller, Jenny Meyer, Caspian Dennis and Lora Fountain will act as Foreign Rights Agents. Bloom was previously Agent at Kneerim, Williams, & Bloom, which will revert to its previous name Kneerim & Williams. . . Amanda O’Connor will join Trident Media Group as Agent in mid-June. She was previously Editor at the discontinued Image Books imprint at Crown. . . Frances Coady joined Aragi Inc. as Literary Agent.  She was formerly Publisher at Atavist Books and Picador. . .  Moe Ferrara joined BookEnds Literary Agency as Literary Agent and Subsidiary Rights Director. Previously, she was Contracts Manager at The Guild Agency. . . Fuse Literary acquired Penumbra Literary.  Penumbra Principal and Owner Jennifer Chen Tran joined Fuse as Associate Agent. . . Hannah Bowman, Senior Agent at Liza Dawson Associates, will open a West Coast office of the agency in August 2016.

Imani Mixon joined Sourcebooks as E-Commerce Copywriter/Storyteller.  Ami Vanderhoof has also joined the company as Brand Marketing Manager, E-Commerce.  She was Marketing Manager at Fannie May Confections Brands, Inc.

Sherrie Slopianka joined Humanix Books as Director of Publishing, replacing Andy Brown who was recently named COO of Humanix’s parent company, Newsmax Media.  Slopianka was Executive Director of Online Sales at Worthy Publishing.

Neil Strandberg is now Director of Technology and Operations at Shelf Awareness. He was Director of Technology at the American Booksellers Association.

Alicia Simons joined Bibliomotion as Senior Director of Marketing. She was most recently Senior Consultant at Monaco Associates.

Debra Woodward is now Sales Manager at Red Wheel/Weiser.  She was New England Rep at Candlewick Press.

Tobi Harper joined Red Hen Press as Development Associate.

Trent Hart joined Diversion Books & EverAfter Romance as Marketing Manager. He was previously Convention Coordinator at RT Booklovers Convention.

New York Times Book Critic Janet Maslin has switched from full-time to contributor, effective July 1st.

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Parsing the BEA Buzz Panels

For many who attend BEA, the Editor’s Buzz Panel is a highlight.  But, depending on whom you ask, that means Adult, Middle Grade, or Young Adult.  (For those who haven’t done so, many book samples, including some buzz panel books, are available for download from Publishers Marketplace.

What are the differences between the three panels?  A visit to each suggests one obvious dividing line:  the Adult panel had an equal number of fiction and nonfiction books, six in all.  The room was filled with a broad range of industry players, including editors and agents, but also many who have little to do with the content side of the business — and some who are no longer even in the business.  It has reached the status where people say to one another “let’s meet at the Buzz Panel,” and the SRO crowd attested to that.  The event, meanwhile, routinely runs past its 75 minute allocation, and this one was obviously no exception.
The YA and Middle Grade Buzz presentations were addressed to a room full of editors, agents, and what seemed like a lot more book retailers — all of whom seemed familiar with both the editors and their authors.  It felt a little more clubby. The attitude of the panelists — several of whom were repeat presenters — was more that of first among equals.  As well — and this goes for Middle Grade in particular — the humor (well, they are for middle graders) was very much in evidence.
What struck this attendee is how the story of how each book arrived on that particular editor’s desk is very similar for all books and all editors — but nevertheless, as one editor put it, familiar in that discovering the story you’ve never read before, is the moment when you know you’ve got a winner.  Check out this year’s Buzz Books and the editors who presented them below:

Adult Buzz

Anna deVries, Senior Editor, Picador with Damon Tweedy’s Black Man in a White Coat: Reflections on Race and Medicine; Diana Tejerina Miller, Editor, Alfred A. Knopf with Garth Risk Hallberg’s  City on Fire; Scott Moyers, Publisher, Penguin Press with Ottessa Moshfegh’s Eileen; Colin Dickerman, Editorial Director, Flatiron Books with Dan Marshall’s  Home is Burning; Alison Callahan, Executive Editor, Scout Press with Ruth Ware’s In a Dark, Dark Wood; Deb Futter, Publisher of Twelve and Vice President, Editor-in-Chief, Hardcovers, Grand Central Publishing with Julie Checkoway’s The Three-Year Swim Club: The Untold Story of Maui’s Ditch Kids and their Quest for Olympic Glory. 

YA Buzz

Laura Chasen, Assistant Editor, St. Martin’s Griffin with Marie Marquardt’s Dream Things True; Wendy Loggia, Executive Editor, Delacorte Press with Nicola Yoon’s  Everything, Everything; Arianne Lewin, Executive Editor, G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers with Jake Halpern’s and Peter Kujawinski’s Nightfall; Christian Trimmer, Senior Editor, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers with Daniel KrausThe Death and Life of Zebulon Finch, Volume 1: At the Edge of Empire; Elizabeth Bewley, Executive Editor, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers with Estelle Laure’s  This Raging Light.

Middle Grade

David Levithan, Editorial Director, Scholastic Press with Alex Gino’s George; Nancy Paulsen, Publisher, Nancy Paulsen Books with Lisa Lewis Tyre’s Last in a Long Line of Rebels; Martha Mihalick, Senior Editor, Greenwillow Books with Nicholas Gannon’s The Doldrums; Elise Howard, Publisher and Editor, Algonquin Young Readers with Adam Shaughnessy‘s The Entirely True Story of the Unbelievable Fib; Andrea Spooner, Editor, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers with Ali Benjamin’s The Thing about Jellyfish.

Partners’ Corner: BEA 2015 Edition

One of my key takeaways from conversations and panels at BEA is the necessary degree of paranoia that publishers feel as they face new selling models in a digital world. The bottom line at the panel on subscription offers is that publishers and authors make the same amount if their book is read as part of a subscription offering that they do if it is bought as an individual title. So the question becomes, why would anyone care which approach is used?

And the answer is a familiar one…especially if you think back to the early days of Amazon.

Back then, publishers sold at traditional wholesale terms and Amazon took the hit if they decided to offer the book at a discount. Sales went up; publishers did very well — and everyone worried. Why? Because it seemed clear that sooner or later, the boom would fall and publishers’ margins would be negatively affected.

And the boom fell.

So the same fears seem to be at issue with the new subscription model. How can an Oyster or Scribd continue to pay publishers fully if users are getting unlimited books for a low monthly fee? There are no guarantees of how long publishers will be paid in full, and if consumers become accustomed to spending only $8.99 a month for their reading, and if single book sales subsequently weaken (think music industry), publishers may be at the mercy of subscription companies’ new terms.

So the debate rages between addressing consumers’ desire for content at good prices and the economics of the business…and maybe it’s time for publishers to look at the numbers from a different point of view.

For the last 3 or 4 years, publishers have reported improved profits due to the impact of the higher margins that digital publishing affords. Given the lack of inventory and returns, the effect of converting 20-30% of sales to digital has had an impact that would have been a pure fantasy less than 10 years ago. So yes, publishers needed this vast improvement to overcome other increased expenses and waste, but perhaps it’s time to think of the extra margin as means to support new sales streams in the interest of broader marketing.  What if people did start to consume books through monthly subscriptions? Would more people read? Would there be a hunger for a new title so if publisher chose to window for a short time, the individual sales would go up? Would there be other benefits in terms of awareness of books among the average consumer? Now that television and video have shown that subscription models can spur  improved quality, they have become a far more respected and accepted art forms. Could books gain ground in a similar way, if access and price were more in line with other entertainments?

Top 5 Publishing Articles/Blog Posts of the Week 5/25-5/29

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 don’t books from a woman’s perspective win awards?

How are children’s publishers embracing digital as a way to make print books more special?

Why didn’t color e-paper catch on as a trend when e-readers were first developing?

What should book reviewers be doing to ensure more diverse books are being reviewed?

Why is curation important for publishers in a digital world where readers can act as their own gatekeepers?


Top 5 Publishing Articles/Blog Posts of the Week 5/18-5/22

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.

Should literary magazines stop charging writers to submit their work?

What are the positives and negatives of a single epub workflow?

What are the most successful ways to sell books direct-to-consumer?

Why are there so many long novels being published this year?

The Millions takes a look at the history of colloquial book and short story titles.


People Round-Up, Mid-May 2015


Gail Gonzales is joining Rodale on June 15th as VP, Associate Publisher in the Trade Books division, replacing Kristin Kiser. Gonzales has been at Simon & Schuster as Director of Integrated Marketing.

Harper Children’s President and Publisher Susan Katz is retiring after 30 years with the company.  Suzanne Murphy has been hired as her successor.  She was previously VP, Publisher at Disney Book Group.

Philip Ruppel joined Phaidon as COO.  He was President of McGraw-Hill Education’s professional division.

There have been a number of key changes at Perseus. Kristin Kiser joined Running Press as VP, Publisher, beginning on May 20.  She was formerly VP, Deputy Publisher at Rodale. Charles Regan is now Academic Director, Client Services at Perseus Books Group.  Formerly, he was Manager of Sales Development for Global Research and Education at John Wiley & SonsBen Platt joined Basic Books as Editor.  He was Associate Editor at Penguin Press.

Michael McKenzie will become Executive Director of Publicity at Algonquin Books at the end of May.  Previously, he was Senior Director of Publicity at Ecco/Harper.

Melanie Denardo joined Random House as Associate Director of Publicity.  She was previously Deputy Director of Publicity at Henry Holt. Emily Cunningham will join Penguin Press as Editor at the beginning of June.  Previously, she was Editor at Harper. Colleen Lindsay left her position as Associate Director, Marketing, Social Media, & Reader Experience at Berkley/NAL. She can be reached at [email protected].  Stephanie Bowen joined Perigee Books as Senior Editor. She was Senior Editor at SourcebooksMaria Gagliano has left her position as Senior Editor at Portfolio to pursue freelance editorial work.  She can be reached at [email protected]. Patrick Lee joined Crown as Data Analyst.  He previously held the same title at Fluent, Inc.

In other children’s publishing news, Atheneum Editorial Director Caitlyn Dlouhy has started her own imprint within the company, called Caitlyn Dlouhy Books. She will continue as VP Editorial Director of Atheneum.. .  . Ksenia Winnicki joined Simon & Schuster Children’s as Publicist.  Previously, she was Publicist at Macmillan’s Children’s Publishing Group. . . Zoe Luderitz is now Senior Marketing Manager at Candlewick. She was formerly Content Manager at Alibris.

Eric Nuzum will leave his position as VP of Programming at NPR in June in order to join Audible as SVP of Original Content Development.

Rob Kirkpatrick is joining Dey Street Books as Senior Editor.  Formerly, he was Senior Editor at Thomas Dunne Books. Also at Harper, Ruchir Pandya is now Senior Pricing Analyst. He was previously Revenue Management Analyst at JetBlue Airways.

Larry Dorfman joined Capstone Publishing as Trade Sales Manager. He will be working for the Minnesota based publisher from his home in Connecticut.  He was most recently Business Development Manager at The Waterford Press.

The Booker Prize Foundation appointed Gaby Wood Literary Director, succeeding Ion Trewin, who passed away in April.  Wood was Head of Books at the Daily Telegraph.  She will continue to contribute to the newspaper.

Emily Logan joined Houghton Mifflin Harcourt as Specialty Retail Sales Manager.  She was previously Sales and Marketing Director at America’s Test Kitchen.

Erica Gordon-Mallin is now Acquisitions Editor at Skyhorse.  She was Senior Editor at Moseley Road.

Kait Heacock joined The Feminist Press as Publicist.  She was previously Publicist at The Overlook Press. Clarissa Wong has joined as Editor.  She was Assistant Editor at Disney Publishing Worldwide.

At literary agencies, Melissa Carrigee, Johnnie Bernhard, and Mary Ellen Gavin are now agents at Loiacono Literary Agency. Carrigee is a Freelance Writer for Gulf Coast Parents & Kids Magazine and a Teacher, Bernhard was previously a teacher and journalist, and Gavin is also a teacher and writer. . . Monica Odom joined Bradford Literary Agency as Agent.  Previously, she was Associate Agent and Manager at Liza Dawson Associates. . . Bree Ogden joined Red Sofa Literary as Agent.  She was formerly Agent at D4EO Literary Agency.

Ray A. Griffith is now President and CEO of the Follett Corporation.  He was previously CEO of Ace Hardware. The preceding President and CEO, Mary Lee Schneider, is leaving after three years in the position.

Michael DeMonico is now CBA Sales Manager at Bookmasters. Previously, he was National Sales Manager at Franciscan Media, LLC.

At university presses, Janice Audet joined Harvard University Press as Executive Editor, Life Sciences.  Formerly, she was Publisher, Fundamental Life Sciences at Academic Press/Elsevier. . . Cambridge University Press has laid off more than 60 people in its New York office.

Robert Darnton will be retiring from his position as Chief Librarian and Co-Creator of the Digital Public Library of America at Harvard University this summer.

At bookstores, Michelle Axelson is the new Owner of the feminist independent bookstore Womencrafts.  The previous owner Kathryn Livelli will stay on to guide Axelson as the shop changes hands. . . Chad Bunning will become Retail and Operations Manager of the Rizzoli Bookstore, which will open this summer.  He was most recently General Manager of BookCourt.  Additionally, Chris Pangborn will be Head Buyer.  He was Backlist Buyer and Head Merchandiser at Shakespeare & Co.

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Top 5 Publishing Articles/Blog Posts of the Week 5/11-5/15

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 is the book business in Brazil not booming anymore?

Do consumers regularly upgrade to newer models of ereaders?

Is self-publishing becoming more mainstream, and less stigmatized?

Why do female writers rarely win awards for their translated works?

Booknet Canada made an infographic depicting the state of digital publishing in Canada in 2014.

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

Editor’s note: This post originally appeared on Publishing Trendsetter.

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).


*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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