Partners’ Corner January 2014

Partners’ Corner is a place where the principals of Market Partners International can share their observations of the publishing industry for the month.

Recently we have been speaking to people outside publishing who might be candidates for a position we are recruiting.  They express concern about moving from whatever medium they are currently in – television, digital, music — to the world of book publishing.  In our recent series, Off the Beaten Path, which profiled publishing professionals taking their skills to other types of companies and media positions, former publishers expressed similar concerns. With many people moving out of the industry, it’s easy for outsiders to wonder if book publishing is a dying industry they should move away from, not into.

However, we have found ourselves answering these queries with a surprising optimism, as we explain that the advent of digital has had an enormously positive impact on profitability. In effect, publishers have successfully converted 20-30 percent of their business to a high margin, low risk model that has allowed for new audiences and platforms. Even back in December 2011, Jeff Dodes, EVP, Marketing and Digital Media Strategy at St. Martin’s (and a music industry immigrant) remarked in an old Publishing Trends article (from our printed newsletter) that “on the whole publishers seem to be embracing digital and restructuring their companies around the future at a faster pace than the music business did.” While digital may have been daunting when it first disrupted the industry with the Kindle, publishers have been able to adapt over the past five or so years.

Plus, where else can passionate book readers find work that requires them to read and talk and market (e)books?

International Bestseller Lists, January 2014

Every month, Publishing Trends runs fiction international bestseller lists from four territories–France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. This month, our four regular territories are joined by two more: Switzerland and Australia.  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.








Top 5 Publishing Articles/Blog Posts of the Week 1/20-1/24

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 would a truly worthy rival of Amazon look like, and where would it come from?

The Oxford English Dictionary’s new Chief Editor plans a new trajectory for the prestigious publication in digital and print to match the evolving English language.

To understand the future of bookstores, the future of publishing must first be uncovered: a look at what may come for brick and mortar stores.

A recent survey of ebook buyers indicates strong loyalties to a chosen retailer, pointing to some clear implications for ebook retailers both small and large.

There is no clear answer on solving the issues of discoverability when selling a book as an ebook versus an app.

Top 5 Publishing Articles/Blog Posts of the Week 1/13-1/17

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. 

A recent study from the Pew Research Center reveals that despite the growth of ereaders, print books remain present in American households.

Digital Book World 2014 focused on an industry in transition, citing new data tools, and growing digital and foreign markets.

The National Book Critics Circle Award nominees were announced for 2013, revealing that 2013 was perhaps a great year for women writers.

The amount of children reading on ereaders is on a steady rise according to a study from PlayCollective.

Why are digital sales of Mein Kampf suddenly so high?

The Subscription Prescription?: Subscription Services at DBW 2014

The word on everyone’s lips during the 2014 Digital Book World conference seemed to be “subscription,” whether it was in the context of the inevitability of Amazon launching their own book service or Michael Cader’s comment at the CEO Roundtable that there are lots of opportunities for subscription models at the niche level. DBW hosted two dedicated panels on January 15th exploring subscriptions for books: the first, from the publisher’s point of view, with F+W’s Sara Domville, Scholastic’s Deborah Forte, HarperCollinsChantal Restivo-Alessi, and Diversion BooksMary Cummings; and a later panel  moderated by Devereux Chatillon, that included Entitle BooksBryan Batten, Scribd’s Andrew Weinstein, Oyster’s Matthew Shatz, and 24symbolsJusto Hidalgo.

The first panel, moderated by Market Partners International’s Lorraine Shanley, focused on how publishers viewed partnering with subscription services, as well as what plans they had for their own direct-to-consumer programs. Mary Cummings commented that, in offering readers a monthly all-you-can-eat subscription as Oyster and Scribd do, it takes the pricing of individual titles out of the equation, thereby offering readers – and publishers – a chance to look the book from a more purely editorial perspective.

Deborah Forte used Scholastic’s relationship with Netflix to argue that the partnership did not have to cannibalize sales – and that it actually enhanced them. HarperCollins has been known for striking deals with a few of the newest subscription startups like Oyster ad Scribd, and Chantal Restivo-Alessi talked about the benefits of subscription services to promote backlists. Sara Domville talked of the many ways in which F+W creates subscriptions for its vertical communities, including very successful how-to videos. Read More »

All About the Kids: Launch Kids 2014

It was a lively gathering at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers in NYC on January 13th, as professionals from the children’s book industry gathered for the Launch Kids conference as a part of Digital Book World. Early on in the program, Nielsen Book’s Jonathan Nowell and Jo Henry presented data stating that the main means of discovery for parents buying books for kids ages 7-12 comes directly from the child. While it was just one of many stats presented in a data-packed morning, it proved to be a common theme throughout the conference. If kids themselves are driving sales, how should publishers be reinventing themselves to reach their target audience?

Indeed, it seems like kids are being put at the forefront when it comes to all aspects of book business. On the retail side, Tara Catogge of ReaderLink highlighted the third and fourth rows of a typical retail book display, calling it the “buggy level,” an area where children in strollers had access to grabbing books off the shelves.  This idea was also echoed throughout the day with other ideas that put children in positions of choice: Deborah Forte highlighted a mobile Scholastic Book Fair app that let children scan books for their wish lists; Marjan Ghara presented her startup BiblioNasium, which acts as an online social recommendation site for kids a la Goodreads; and Dominique Raccah talked about the increasing success of Sourcebooks’ Put Me In the Story that creates a narrative around the reader itself.

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When it comes to marketing, being able to communicate directly with kids was also a focus. Rebecca Levey of KidzVuz talked about her Youtube-like platform, the only COPPA-compliant video website available for kids where books are the most popular category on the site, making peer-to-peer book recommendations possible over the web. Author Sarah Mlynowski presented the various social media platforms she uses to communicate with her middle grade and YA audiences, demonstrating how hashtags and giveaways can spark viral interest. Random House’s Anna Jarzab and Wattpad’s Ashleigh Gardner also echoed the importance of personalized voices for every social media platform where a company has a presence, stressing the fact that young users should be made to feel special. Read More »

People Roundup, January 2014


Barnes and Noble has moved Michael Huseby, former CEO of the Nook division, into the top CEO spot left by William Lynch, who vacated in July.

Craig Bauer, SVP Publishing Operations and Strategic Planning at Hachette, will be leaving HBG to become SVP of Global Publishing Operations at Macmillan Science and Education. His last day at HBG will be Friday, January 17.

As part of Macmillan’s acquisition of Cookstr, Will Schwalbe will continue in his current role, while taking on the additional title of VP, Editorial Development and Content Innovation for Macmillan, where he will acquire books to be published across Macmillan’s publishing imprints. Kara Rota, Director of Editorial and Partnerships for Cookstr, continues in her existing role.

Shannon O’Neill, previously Editorial Director and Agent at The Sagalyn Agency, has joined Lippincott Massie McQuilkin as Agent. O’Neill will remain based in DC, focusing on projects in narrative nonfiction, popular science, current affairs, and the history of ideas, as well as literary and upmarket fiction. She can be reached at: [email protected]

At the start of 2014, Jim Becker stepped down as President of becker & mayer!  Becker founded the book packager more than 30 years ago with Andy Mayer, and was succeeded by Mike Oprins who had been COO of the company. Becker is moving into the new role of Creative Director of SmartLab, becker & mayer!’s educational toy division.

At Scholastic, Durya Aziz has been promoted to SVP, International Education Publisher in the International Division.

Cathy Gruhn has left Hilsinger Mendelson East to become the Associate Director of Lifestyle Publicity at Little, Brown and Company.

Neil Levin has become the VP, Strategic Alliances at Librify; previously, he was President of EverPub LLC. Read More »

Top 5 Publishing Articles/Blog Posts of the Week 1/6-1/10

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. 

Could selling self-published books in physical bookstores boost profits?

An author survey reveals indie authors prefer the path of traditional publishing over self-publishing.

Barnes and Noble released their sales figures for the holiday season showing significant drops in sales.

In the ever-changing landscape of publishing, some fear the end of of the historically experimental mid-list.

An exploration of what the deeper motive behind Zola’s acquisition of Bookish may be: Amazon.

Who’s Scouting Whom: Literary Scouts Contact Sheet 2014

The companies on our latest annual Who’s Scouting Whom Literary Scout Contact Sheet remain largely the same as previous years’. The most notable change among the agencies is the retirement of Jutta Klein at the end of 2013 and the addition of Kelly Farber. Each scout’s clients are separated by country or region, and representation for children’s titles is denoted where applicable. We also include the handful of TV and film studios represented by the scouts in our roundup.

Please click here or on the image below to download the PDF of the Publishing Trends 2014 Literary Scouts Contact Sheet:

Scouts 2014

Click on the image of the chart above for a full PDF version of the 2014 Literary Scouts Contact Sheet.

Top 5 Publishing Articles/Blog Posts of the Week 12/26-1/3

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. 

Goodreads saw impressive growth in 2013, doubling their users for the second time in two years.

Pitchfork, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and many online-only publications are moving into the realm of print editions to supplement their web content.

Mike Shatzkin gives nine areas of change in publishing for 2014 including a revised view of the “big five,” the role of literary agents, and celebrity imprints.

A new study shows that consumers are willing to pay for apps with upgraded privacy and no advertisements.

Porter Anderson delves into the belief that men don’t read fiction.