Net Flex

Speaking recently before the AAP’s Young to Publishing Group, as the first installment of its Living Legends Series, former editor-in-chief of Random House, Jason Epstein, presented his now somewhat infamous vision of publishing’s future. By his estimates, it’s only a matter of years before an ATM-like machine located at your nearest “Kinko’s, on the corner of your street, or [at] a Starbuck’s, or a school, or a library or hospital” would receive transmission of a book in digital format and instantly print, trim and bind it, essentially making the term “print on demand” literal. Using the Internet, the consumer would order the book directly from the publisher, who would stock its entire list in digital form, and the end product would be of the same quality as current paperbacks. Epstein’s dream machine, which he claims to have witnessed “in a shed beside an airport in St. Louis,” would eliminate the current financial burdens of warehousing and distributing, and would make maintaining backlists all the more palatable for publishers. It might also eliminate the bookseller. (It’s Sprout déjà vu all over again.)

However farfetched this magical printer may sound now, few publishers would deny that the Internet is already an integral intermediary between them and their readers. The extent to which publishers use the Web — whether for marketing or sales, or both — is not only a topic of heated debate, but a matter currently in flux. Increasingly, authors create their own websites, with or without their publishers’ help, and often the book’s or author’s URL is printed on the jacket. But, according to some, Penguin recently went too far on the Internet. It stunned many in the industry by adding that familiar little shopping cart icon to its website, suggesting publishers shouldn’t stop short of using the Internet to sell directly to consumers. Despite many scientific, medical, reference, and specialty publishers having sold directly online for years, many obviously thought that trade publishers should not take the reins into their own hands and risk trampling the traditional booksellers.

Penguin says its objective — contrary to what many may have thought — was not to put the bookseller out of business. To date, they have not offered discounted products nor any other incentives to lure the buyer; and in fact, Penguin’s site still links to other retailers’ sites. So, why did they do it? Besides, the question that pretty much everyone asks — except, perhaps, those in the biz — is, why would a publisher sell directly to consumers, when the average reader goes by a book’s title or author? Thinking the average reader knows the publisher’s moniker is as naive as believing the average film-goer knows who the cinematographer is. But two words begin to explain Penguins motivation: Penguin Classics. “With a backlist of over 30,000 titles, it’s the case that very few physical stores, if any, can stock and support all our titles,” says John Schline, Senior VP of Corporate Business Affairs, Penguin Group (USA). “Our sales have confirmed this, with the vast majority being for books published more than two years ago.” So far, less than 1% of the company’s total sales occur through its site, which is managed in-house, though hosting and some database administration is handled outside. Schline also said that feedback from past site visitors, as well as from authors, implied that “people using the Web expect a site that markets products to also accept orders for those products.”

And, finally, part of Penguin’s purpose was simply survival. With traditional notions of retailers, wholesalers, authors, and even publishers becoming increasingly blurry, Penguin thought it might be time to re-examine its flippers. “In a world of auction sites, online used book networks, retailers who publish, authors who sell directly, etc., we feel that some of the separations have become unrealistic and peculiar to trade book publishing,” Schline says. “To ignore something that is growing as quickly as the Web because it is inconvenient to existing business structures would be short-sighted.” The company’s existing infrastructure basically put it “one step away” from being able to accept online orders.

In many cases, small publishers working with very tight budgets witnessed the power of the Internet and its cost-effectiveness long before the big houses. Brook Noel, CEO of Fredonia, Wis.-based Champion Press, which began in 1997 and now has 130 available titles, says online retailing put her on equal footing with the big players. “Programs like Amazon Advantage or Abe Books allow publishers great access to online sales,” she says. “The way consumers are purchasing is changing dramatically, and publishers need to adapt and track those modes of purchasing to remain competitive. Don’t get me wrong, I love working with booksellers. We do many author events and signings and special promotions — however, we need to be prepared to sell to those who are buying online.” Not only do publishers increase sales with websites, but they can build mailing lists as a way to remain in touch with customers to announce future books, she says. “We have mailing lists by topic — educational, lifestyle, cooking — that our readers can subscribe to for monthly newsletters” — and, of course, to buy more books.

Elongating Shelf Life?

Ultimately, Epstein sees the Internet as a tool connecting readers with the right publishers. “The books in digital form will be posted on websites of related interest — a book on fly fishing will be on all the fly fishing networks — so that people will find the books they want as they go to the websites that interest them,” he predicts. “Rather than put a book in a bookstore where people may or may not find it, where it may be taken away in three months and junked, now books can be available forever on those websites.”

This scenario, which Epstein thinks will draw “great opposition from publishers,” is not so much a vision of the future as a slightly altered version of the present. The self-publishing-and-promotion guru M.J. Rose, who now publishes with traditional presses and teaches classes on how authors can better promote themselves by using the Internet, thinks the average reader is flummoxed by the number of books he has to choose from, and the Internet helps readers find authors of their liking, and vice versa. “With six to 12 weeks of work, [an author] can reach from 3,000 to 50,000 readers … and with under $2,000 you can do a serious outreach that will sell books.” Plus, Rose points out that the Internet has elongated the lives of non-bestsellers. “A year-old … or 10-year-old book can get buzz and traction online and take off in an amazing way. Plus, they are always available to be bought, when stores are no longer stocking them,” she says.

You can’t talk about online marketing or book longevity and not mention The South Beach Diet. Dr. Arthur Agatston’s book — craze might be a better word — has been on the New York Times “Advice, How-to, and Miscellaneous” best-seller list for over a year. The “blanket the Web” campaign, produced by Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Waterfront Media, is responsible for approximately one-third of all online sales, says Cindy Ratzlaff, VP/Associate Publisher at Rodale. Online book sales, however, is not the “key focus” of Waterfront’s Internet marketing campaigns, which also include Tyndale House’s Andrew Weil’s My Optimum Health Plan and the Left Behind series, among others. Noting the sensitive issue of publishers selling directly, Heidi Krupp of Krupp Kommunications, who works on external PR for Rodale, said, “Publishers are still very diplomatic with their brick-and-mortar booksellers. The booksellers are the ones who have always given them their bread and butter, and I don’t think anyone wants to take that away.” Instead, Krupp calls what the South Beach Diet Internet campaign does “creating a content community to retain customers” and compares it to the way bookstores now have coffeeshops and live music. “Waterfront is not replacing books,” she explains. “It is making a longer shelf life for a book.”

Publishers finally have woken to the benefit of online marketing, said CEO of Waterfront Media Inc. Ben Wolin. Unlike traditional book campaigns that are strong right around the pub date, Wolin said Waterfront’s campaigns remain aggressive from launch forward, always attracting more subscribers and, presumably, more book buyers. “We can definitely give consumers a way to get familiar with the brand, to learn a little bit about the brand, and then they can decide to purchase if they want,” he said. To date, Waterfront manages more than 5 million total subscribers for its handful of newsletters — 300,000 of which are paid subscribers who get other benefits.

When it comes down to survival, the Internet is the best way to reach your target market without emptying the coffers, says Noah Kerner, partner and Senior VP of Marketing and Creative at SoulKool, LLC. Instead of buying ads in the various media to promote the release of Love & Death (April, Atria Books), an exploration into the death of Kurt Cobain, Simon & Schuster hired SoulKool to create an Internet marketing campaign “with more grassroots appeal,” which included building a microsite, that posted a new “clue” each day for three weeks before the pub date. The site, its message board, and newsletter reached 45,000 unique users. SoulKool also hyped the book on its own site, and about 500 other sites, chat rooms, message boards and egroups — most aimed at young people who would have an interest in the book. “If you’re not aware of Internet marketing, you’re not going to stay at the front of the pack,” Kerner says. “It’s by far the most influential medium.”

Museum Hoots

The book business, like any other, is in a perpetual search for new retail outlets, and nowadays just about everyone explores so-called specialty or non-traditional outlets. The Museum Store Association show (this year in Portland, Ore.) used to be a yearly Mecca for trade and academic art and illustrated book publishers. This particular sales channel has experienced exponential growth (in all categories, including books) and has gone so mainstream, that art publishing exhibitors have declined as they now have reps regularly calling on them. You won’t find DAP, who represents MOMA and MFA, nor Abrams, nor Yale, who represents the NY Metropolitan Museum of Art. This has opened up a big niche for the likes of Barron’s, where Sales Director Alex Holtz says they do great business with their children’s educational titles. Although, Sales Rep Mike Campbell says it’s really not the best place to take orders unless you’re a tightly focused publisher of subjects like the Civil War, Railroads, etc. Others disagree, at least on the order taking. Single-topic museums work hard to ferret like publishers at the event — and place an order too. Workman’s Heather Carroll says the MSA meeting is one of publishing’s “best kept secrets.” Exhibiting for the third year, she sells to a broad range of museums, most of whom order the hugely successful Fandex series. They write substantial orders here — almost as many as at Toy Fair, she asserts. The publishers’ presence, with samples, allows buyers to “stretch their mission” and pick up titles that they’d skip in a catalogue. And buyers “share their secrets,” which results in increased sales across the board. Scholastic’s Meaghan Hilton has pretty much the same experience. They have been exhibiting at MSA for over 10 years and sales are on the increase — including orders written in situ. Its series such as Dear America, Scholastic’s Q&A and The Magic School Bus titles, do best, ranging across all ages.

The trade show, with its selling and merchandising seminars, usually surpasses the retail expo. However, the Met’s Valerie Troyansky thinks that interest in the panels has been waning in recent years, as indicated by the fact that smaller museums, such as the Dayton Museum of Art and the Cincinnati Museum Centre, did not send store reps. Sean Halpert, senior book buyer for Boston’s MFA, hasn’t attend since the museum gave up its direct mail catalogue, despite declaring that museum stores have a huge opportunity to fill the gap left by traditional book stores that rarely carry big-ticket art books anymore. Boston’s MFA has a huge market for cutting-edge and less mainstream art and photography titles, with visitors and students attending the multiple art schools nearby. They are “the very model for a museum bookstore,” asserts DAP President Sharon Gallagher.

While the for-profit book trade has figured out how to lure some money from museums, the Museum Publishers Association is still grappling with their own non-profit, educational-but-somehow-we-have-to-carry-our-own-weight conundrum. This year’s MPA biennial seminar was also on the West Coast, in Pasadena, Calif., and although the subjects were practical (Digital Imaging, Legal Issues, Tapping Your Collections, Ephemera Development), carrying one’s own publishing weight is still a major roadblock. DAP’s Gallagher, who speaks regularly here on the art of the trade sale, gave tips for getting the books into commercial retail outlets, while urging the publishing and retail sides to act together to each other’s mutual benefit. The fact that they are frequently at odds with each other — not only do stores refuse to represent their own museum’s titles, they won’t represent titles from competing museums — further undermines both sides’ struggle to survive.

Christopher Hudson, Publishing Director of The Getty, says museums are torn by their noble mission, the “numbed down” (to quote Martin Amis) visitors who have no time for contemplation and are only seeking a cheap souvenir, and the financial expectations of their management, who in this rarefied non-profit world still expect retail to be profitable. And based on recent research, there appears to be no organizational model or pattern — successful or otherwise — for a museum store and its publishing arm to follow.

Perhaps the most important development for museum publishers came to light during the Digital Imaging and Print on Demand seminars. The nature of their work may change drastically in the near future, as POD technology quickly becomes available, and the quality and cost make it feasible. Also of high concern are the ensuing copyright issues, which were covered in the legal session. Increasingly stringent requirements to gain clearance for reproducing works of art (previously treated rather cavalierly by non-profit institutions) should make museum publishers think once, twice or more before proceeding with certain projects.

But, the last word on museum sales come from Workman’s Carroll. As an example of the serendipitous nature of the market, her reveals her hottest title: Owl Puke. Don’t ask.

Laws on the (Text)Books

Since the NYT first tackled the thorny subject of textbook pricing, voices on both sides of the debate have been getting hoarser. But if the chatter at recent textbook trade shows — CAMEX, College Bookstores of America (CBA), and the BN College Stores Show — is any indication, textbook prices may indeed have hit their ceiling. Despite freshman classes steadily bulging to an expected peak in 2009, unit sales of textbooks are down and returns are on the rise. Not only are some retailers taking matters into their own hands by promoting buy-backs and used-book sales, but a few states have legislation pending to force publishers to ease students’ post-tuition financial burden.

“Textbook publishers add bells and whistles that drive up the price of textbooks, but faculty do not use these materials,” gripes one such bill, California’s AB 2477. “Half of all textbooks now come ‘bundled’ or shrink-wrapped with additional materials, such as CD-ROMs and workbooks. Sixty-five percent of faculty ‘rarely’ or ‘never’ use the bundled materials in their courses. Textbook publishers put new editions on the market frequently — often without content changes — making the less-expensive used textbooks obsolete and unavailable.”

Though the bill is unsettling for publishers, it is more cautionary than legislative, in that the state “urges textbook publishers” to unbundle instructional material, giving students more choice; disclose the various products they sell and how much each costs; disclose how the newest edition is different from the previous one; and disclose to faculty members how long they intend to produce current editions. However, the pending law exhorts officials at Cal. State, the Cal. Community Colleges, and the UC regents to work with faculty to make it cheaper to acquire textbooks and promote used book availability on campuses.

Meanwhile, Georgia’s HB 1368 seems to push responsibility for change to the seller, not the publisher. It would limit the maximum price for a textbook by any bookstore owned or operated by the State of Georgia to no more than 15% over wholesale price. NY State, on the other hand, is applying a free-market approach by encouraging more competition between on-campus stores and stores surrounding the schools.

There is even a bill in the US House directing the Comptroller General to “conduct an investigation of the high price of college textbooks” (HR 3567, introduced last Nov.), stating that students spend nearly $1,000 on textbooks per year, and often find “the exact same textbook can be purchased overseas at half the cost.” With this in mind, one could say it’s up to the publishers to help themselves by decreasing students’ need to look elsewhere.

In defense of the publishers, the AAP’s Pat Schroeder led a delegation to the hill during the recent AAP Annual Meeting and made the case on behalf of her embattled member publishers. The publishers, she said, are justified in what they charge because of huge development costs, competition from course packs, and adoption uncertainties. But Congressman Dennis Miller of California opened the meeting with a salvo of his own. As one of the authors of the “No Child Left Behind” bill, he roundly declared that “cost is a barrier to higher education,” especially when states are cutting financial aid and the Feds don’t allow refinancing of long-term student loans (which have more than doubled since 1992, to $35 billion in new annual student loan commitments). On the subject of textbook pricing, he bluntly said: “If customers think they’re being abused, they’ll go around the system” — which translates to “know your customer.”

In this case, the customer is the student who doesn’t have much choice in the matter, except to go online and buy internationally or from peers on eBay (a recent search came up with 18,200 items listed under College Textbooks). Wiley’s William Pesce, in one of the meeting’s shockers, agreed with Miller, arguing that the future of textbooks lay in the distribution of information as (paid) digital delivery, concurring with Miller that publishers let their customers down and were now paying the price. And even some US booksellers are sympathizing with students. The BN College team has unveiled a compelling promo campaign for used-book buy-backs, which shows an image of students demonstrating against the price of textbooks and a paucity of used copies.

School Days

Youths Kick-Start Japanese Market, China Makes the Grade, French Teacher Explores Afterlife

When 19-year-old Hitomi Kanehara and 20-year-old Risa Wataya recently became the youngest authors ever to win the coveted Akutagawa Prize (which helped launch the careers of greats like Kenzaburo Oe and Ryu Murakami), the Japanese literary scene received just the spark it needed to ignite an unprecedented boom in book sales. Both authors are storming up the bestseller list — compiled by Japan’s largest wholesaler Tohan (translated for us by Naoko Maeda of Kodansha America) — and have become nothing less than superheroes of the Japanese book biz, even evoking one headline that read, “Young Women Emerge to Save Poor Literary Sales.” Wataya’s latest, A Back(side) I Want to Kick, (900,000 copies sold) is a tale of two high-school outcasts who become friends because of one’s obsession with a model with whom the other had a brief encounter. Her previous book, Install, reveals a disturbing adult world through the eyes of a high-school girl and her younger sidekick who make money in a pornographic chat room. In Kanehara’s smash hit, Snakes and Earrings (500,000 copies sold), a teenage girl meets a man with a forked tongue and is inspired to alter her own body with piercings and tattoos. Japan Today reports that sales of the March issue of Bungei Shunju magazine, which is republishing the two prize-winning stories, have soared to nearly 1.2 million copies (nearly double their usual sales).

An author and entrepreneur who answers to the name Yoshi is on to something pretty big in Japan — or as small as a cell phone, as the case may be. He created a website in 2000 to provide content for cell phones and then self-published his novel Deep Love — the story of a 17-year-old girl who finds love in a chance encounter — on the site in installments of 1,600 characters or less. Yoshi incorporated plot twists suggested in his readers’ emails and developed quite a following through simple word of mouth and by handing business cards to high school girls. The novel sold more than a million copies when a print version was finally published. Other authors and publishers are catching on to this cell-phone-book mania, while Yoshi, who seems to be one step ahead of the pack, is already directing the film version of his novel.

And this month we present you with our first-ever listing of Chinese bestsellers, compiled by Open Book (see PT, March 04) and supplied by Luc Kwanten of the Big Apple Tuttle-Mori Agency in Shanghai. Kwanten reports that the list reflects actual sales in the nationwide Xinhua Bookstores as well as major bookstores — the so-called Book Cities — in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou, as well as a few smaller cities such as Nanjing and Hangzhou. The categories are a little haphazard to say the least, he adds, but it is a new effort that is still being formalized.

Eight-year-old Nathan drowns in a lake and is pronounced dead at the scene in French high-school teacher Guillaume Musso’s “entrancing” novel Afterwards…, which “oscillates between Stephen King and Marc Lévy, but above all, creates its own character and style.” In a supernatural twist of fate, the boy wakes up and loses all memory of the episode, moving on to become a successful attorney in New York twenty years later. But, his days of prominence and prosperity are interrupted when Nathan learns why he had to come back to life. He meets a mysterious doctor who claims he can sense when people are about to die. Initially unconvinced, Nathan begins to witness some disturbing scenes that confirm the doctor’s claims, but the key to the doctor’s credibility lies on the final page of the novel. This simmering mystery was born from an actual event in Musso’s life: In 1998, while returning from a visit to his fiancée in Nice, he lost control of his car, and the accident inspired him to construct a story about a man rejected by death. Rights have been sold to seven countries, including Germany (Bertelsmann), Italy (Rizzoli), and Spain (Planeta). Major film producers are already on the prowl. Contact Axelle Hardy at XO.

There’s surely something in the water in Germany, where Frank Schätzing’s thousand-plus-page ecological thriller The Swarm, a “gripping cocktail of fact, thriller and sci-fi,” has wormed its way onto the list this month. The story opens as marine biologist Sigur Johanson is hired by an oil company to investigate the presence of a subaquatic worm that is breeding prolifically and threatening the stability of the North Sea continental shelf, not to mention the company’s oil rig. At the same time, sea mammal expert Leon Anawak is thrown for a loop as the whales he’s observing start attacking ships and killing humans. An unidentified swimming object, nicknamed the Yrr, just might be behind this “systematic assault on mankind that will bring the world to the brink of destruction.” Presented in short chapters with diary-like headings, this startling look at the uncharted depths of the ocean hearkens back to the exploration fantasies of Jules Verne, but adds the chilling sense that nature could unite to combat the destructive ignorance of mankind — with catastrophic results. Well known in Germany for his political and historical thrillers, Schätzing conceives of plagues of biblical proportions, including poisonous jellyfish, deadly sea-wasps, and a horde of eyeless crabs. Offers have been submitted from several foreign publishers, but deals are still pending. US rights are available from Jennifer Lyons at Writers House.

Eager to follow in the footsteps of Ernest Hemingway who described himself in Paris as “very poor, but very happy,” Spanish author Enrique Vila-Matas ships off to the city of lights where he finds himself holed up in a dreary attic — his landlady none other than Marguerite Duras. “Brilliantly fusing autobiography, fiction, and essay,” Vila-Matas relates his experiences in Paris Never Ends (which also happens to be the title of the final chapter of Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast).

Reeling and Dealing

The books-to-film biz was a “mystic river” of movement this year as Joel Gotler & Associates teamed up with Scott Steindorff’s Stone Village Pictures and Mandalay Bay Resort Group President and CFO Glenn Schaeffer to form the Intellectual Property Group; Richard Green made his move to CAA; and Judi Farkas and Irene Webb set up their own shops. By most accounts, it’s not simply feast or famine when it comes to selling film rights — it’s feast or starvation. Deals require more goldplating (directors, writers, stars) than ever before and most occur at the high end or entry level, with not much in between. Here is a relatively comprehensive list of agents who, in addition to representing screenwriters, directors, and others in the film world, sell film and dramatic rights to books on behalf of other literary agents and publishers.

Agency for the Performing Arts
Steven Fisher
9200 Sunset Blvd., #900 Los Angeles, CA 90069
(310) 888-4214
[email protected]

Brandt & Hochman Literary Agents
William Contardi
244 Madison Avenue, Penthouse L New York, NY 10016 (212) 661-6474[email protected]

Kassie Evashevski
9150 Wilshire Blvd., Ste. 350
Beverly Hills, CA 90212 (310) 205-5159 [email protected]

Lisa Callamaro Literary Agency
Lisa Callamaro
427 North Canon Drive Beverly Hills, CA 90210
(310) 274-6783

Creative Artists Agency
Robert Bookman, Richard Green, Brian Siberell, Matthew Snyder, and Sally Willcox
9830 Wilshire Blvd. Beverly Hills, CA 90212-1825
(310) 288-4545 [email protected]

Endeavor Talent & Literary Agency
Brian Lipson
9701 Wilshire Blvd., 10th Floor
Beverly Hills, CA 90212 (310) 248-2000

Judi Farkas Management
Judi Farkas
116 N. Mansfield Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 939-9880 [email protected]

The Firm
Alan Nevins
9465 Wilshire Blvd., 6th Floor
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
(310) 860-8053 [email protected]

The Gersh Agency
Amy Schiffman
232 N. Canon Dr. Beverly Hills, CA 90210 (310) 205-5834
[email protected]

The Gotham Group (juvenile)
Ellen Goldsmith-Vein
9255 Sunset Blvd., Suite 515
Los Angeles, CA 90069
(310) 285-0001
[email protected]

Hotchkiss and Associates, Inc.
Jody Hotchkiss
611 Broadway, Suite 741 New York, NY 10012
(212) 253-0161 [email protected]

Intellectual Property Group-Literary Management
Joel Gotler
9200 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 520 Los Angeles, CA 90069-3605 (310) 786-8930 [email protected]

International Creative Management
Ron Bernstein
8942 Wilshire Blvd. Beverly Hills, CA 90211
(310) 550-4324
[email protected]

Paul Kohner Agency
Stephen Moore
9300 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 555
Beverly Hills, CA 90212 (310) 550-1060 [email protected]

Monteiro Rose Dravis Agency (juv.)
Candy Monteiro
17514 Ventura Blvd., Suite 205
Encino, CA 91316 (818) 501-1177
[email protected]

Lucy Stille
10100 Santa Monica Blvd., 25th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90067
(310) 277-4400
[email protected]
Lynn Pleshette Agency
Lynn Pleshette
2700 N Beachwood Dr. Hollywood, CA 90068
(323) 465-0428

Protocol Entertainment
John Ufland
8899 Beverly Blvd., Suite 606 Los Angeles, CA 90048
(310) 550-9600 [email protected]

The Rabineau Wachter & Sanford Literary Agency
Sylvie Rabineau
522 Wilshire Blvd. Santa Monica, CA 90401 (310) 587-2700

Relevant Entertainment Group
Michael Prevett
144 S. Beverly Drive, Suite 400 Beverly Hills, CA 90212
(310) 246-1212

Michael Siegel & Associates
Michael Siegel and Priscilla Cohen
8330 W. 3rd St. Los Angeles, CA 90048 (323) 658-8600
[email protected]
[email protected]

United Talent Agency
Howard Sanders, Geoff Morley, and Elizabeth Ziemska
9560 Wilshire Blvd., #500 Beverly Hills, CA 90212 (213) 273-6700
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]

Irene Webb Literary
Irene Webb
9255 Sunset Blvd., Suite 500 Los Angeles, CA 90069
(310) 275-4973
[email protected]

Writers & Artists
Angela Cheng Caplan and Marti Blumenthal
8383 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550 Beverly Hills, CA 90211
(323) 866-0900

iPod Nation

Sleek, Digital Audio Players
Could Be ‘Cable TV for Books’

The book-on-tape is a dying breed. But another analog-era ending is no tear-jerker for the audiobook industry, according to publishers and retailers who are witnessing an array of new audio formats such as MP3 CDs, digital downloads, and even satellite radio feeds that are swiftly supplanting the hoary cassette format — and bringing new readers in the bargain. Streaming Al Franken’s Best-Spoken-Word-Grammy-winning Lies, and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them (HighBridge Audio) to their iPods with one click, while downloading the new Norah Jones album with another, the headphone-clad masses are helping propel the audiobook’s popularity forward at a rate that puts the paperback or hardcover to shame. While sales of adult hardcovers slid 2.4% in 2003, net sales of audiobooks rose more than 12%, according to the Audio Publishers Association — a growth rate that has held steady since 1997.

Indeed, while Apple’s sleek devices and other portable audio players take the music market by storm, audio publishers are hoping to lure a vast new audio-rabid demographic on over to preview, say, The Da Vinci Code (it’s iTunes’ #2 spoken audio title, after an improv comedy performance featuring Jerry Seinfeld) and smack the “Download This” button. iPods, which boast “robust support for spoken word content” and can hold up to 800 audiobooks, now have access to more than 5,000 audio titles via the company’s iTunes site. Moreover, the installed base of iPods and other digital audio devices is exploding. More than 3.8 million MP3 players were shipped to dealers in 2003, jumping 121% compared to 2002, according to the Consumer Electronic Association, and that number is expected to soar again in 2004 to more than 5.1 million units. Meanwhile, more than 2 million iPods alone have hit the stores and upwards of 50,000 have sold since its introduction in October 2003, according to an Apple spokeswoman. It’s no wonder Random House’s Richard Sarnoff recently dubbed the iPod “cable TV for books.”

“Our customers tell us they can consume three books a month now via, where they used to struggle to read three books a year,” explains Donald Katz, CEO of online audiobook provider Audible, where half of the customers have never tried an audiobook before. Audible’s partners, which include many big houses as well as periodicals like the Wall Street Journal, offer content in exchange for a share of the revenue from sales via Audible’s download site. Audible reported that its 2003 sales jumped 55.6% to $19.3 million, with content sales up 68.2% to $18.5 million. It finished the year with 311,000 customers, over 100 public library clients, and many deals with MP3 player vendors to ensure plenty of Audible-friendly devices. “And as many of our publishing partners know, the quality and quantity of great audiobooks is clearly part of the story,” adds Katz. “The more compelling our collection of literate listening, the easier it is to create habitual life-long purchasers of digital audio.”

Not Just for Dyslexia Anymore

Indeed, the ample growth of the audiobook market should be cause for joy — and not charges of trade-book-market cannibalization — among traditional publishers, emphasizes Mary Beth Roche, APA President and Publisher of Audio Renaissance. “The big thing that we need to stress to our publishers is that the audiobook consumer is the most avid book reader,” Roche says. “Some publishers totally get it, but many still think, ‘Oh, audiobooks are great for the elderly or people with dyslexia.’ And they are. But that’s not the core business. As more and more consumers test the format, they find it’s a fabulous way to stay on top of all the books they want to read but don’t have time to read.” Granted, the audiobook demographic still has a way to go before it hits the Justin Timberlake sweet spot. The average audiobook listener remains middle-aged to older, well educated, and relatively affluent. According to APA stats, audiobook listeners are 76% female, with an average age of 45 (the average male is 47). And, more telling than any other trait, the average listener does so while driving. New York and Northeast New Jersey drivers spend an interminable 7 more hours stuck in traffic than they did in 1996, according to the Texas Transportation Institute, while overall each American spends 25 minutes each way commuting to work.

It doesn’t take a highway surveyor to see that as the auto industry loads new models with CD players instead of tape decks, all that grid-lock is money in the digital-audio bank. Some publishers report that the sale of CDs has shifted into overdrive, and many say it’s only a matter of time before cassettes go the way of the Edsel. Ana Maria Allessi, associate publisher of Harper Audio and Harper Childrens Audio, said her mass merchant clients are “very closely to solely” asking for CDs now. “If you asked me this literally three months ago, I would have said cassettes were a little stronger,” she stressed. “The advent of MP3 players is going to have a very positive effect as well. Whether you actually listen to it or not on an MP3 player, the awareness of spoken word will increase. A lot of people are going to go to MP3 for music first, and spoken word is next.” Incidentally, Allessi notes that the independent bookseller must not get lost in the streaming audio mix. “We really want to keep the bookstore model for this,” she said. Though Harper has an arrangement with for downloads of its titles, Allessi wants to work with the bigger independent booksellers, such as Powell’s, so they can offer downloads as well. Though it’s hard to predict the future, she said, “much further out” we may see in-store download kiosks, enabling customers to leave the store with their iPods full of books, much as film developers adopted self-help digital photo kiosks with the shift to digital photography.

Audio execs aren’t expecting to see the final nail in the coffin of old-school analog any time soon, however glorious the future may be. “We keep expecting cassettes to die,” says Maja Thomas, VP of Time Warner AudioBooks and VP of the APA. “But we have an older demographic as a core of our business, and they’re holding on to their cassette players. As long as the consumer wants them, we’re going to keep making them.” The core cassette market sometimes means one title in four formats — abridged and unabridged on both cassette and CD — especially with popular authors such as James Patterson, Thomas said. Notably, however, Time Warner’s David Sedaris Live at Carnegie Hall is currently the No. 3 best-selling spoken audio download on Apple’s iTunes site.

Now Stream This

But the times they are a changin’, said Jim Brannigan, President of BBC Audiobooks America, which primarily buys the audio rights from publishers for sales and distribution to libraries. He said he is seeing a “pretty rapid migration” to CD and MP3 CDs. While the ratio of cassette to CD sales is still about 1-to-1 on new releases from the company, the high-compression MP3 format could eventually mean major cost savings for the consumer. Whereas a library-packaged audiobook on eight cassettes would cost about $80, that same book on 10 regular CDs would be $94.95; however, the book could fit on a single MP3 CD and only set the library back $29.95. BBC reported a 20% to 25% increase in sales in 2003. “We aggressively compete for rights. We’re out there bidding for exclusive library rights and exploiting them,” Brannigan added, naming Janet Evanovich as one of his prided titles. Within its deals, the publisher retains the rights for retail. As for the library market, Brannigan thinks MP3 CDs are an even better answer than downloads. Fewer disks means less packaging and less room for destruction. Also, “it fits into their traditional distribution model, which is loan and return — it’s not download and destroy,” he pointed out.

Nonetheless, Daniel Walters, chair of the Public Library Association’s Technology In Libraries Committee and the Executive Director of the Las Vegas–Clark County Library District, said it’s only a matter of time — say, 18 to 24 months — before most libraries offer digital downloads of books. Because libraries don’t have budgets to experiment with new formats, the majority are waiting for a proven format and loan method before they jump on board. “Right now [ebooks and digital audiobooks] are just a blip,” he said. “But once there’s a good model in place, people will move very quickly to it.” In terms of the mix in his district, Walters said about 75% of the current audiobook budget is spent on CDs and 25% on cassettes, but he expects cassettes to be nearly nil in a year.

It seems only a matter of time before an audiobook will await you at every turn. The APA’s Roche said publishers are in constant negotiations with airlines and car rental companies to offer stories for the weary traveler. But, all deals are pending, with the exception of the “strictly promotional” Listening Library (a Random House imprint) offerings on Continental. For the early adopters among us, there’s this new nationwide audiobook venue: the burgeoning satellite radio biz, which includes competitors Sirius and XM Satellite Radio. The latter boasts 1.5 million subscribers and has a 24-hour channel devoted to audiobooks and contemporary radio dramas. Called Sonic Theater and located at 163 on an XM tuner (it’s all explained at, the channel includes everything from The Odyssey to Sherlock Holmes to The Best Man by Gore Vidal — and, rest assured, plenty of Louis L’Amour.

Bookview, April 2004


Neil Ortenberg, EVP of the Avalon Publishing Group and Publisher of Thunders Mouth/Nation Books has resigned. He may be reached at (917) 620-4435.

Becky Saletan is joining Harcourt as Editor in Chief in June. She was Editorial Director of North Point Press. Tina Pohlmann is also joining as Senior Editor, Harvest. She was Senior Editor at Carroll & Graf and replaces Kati Hesford, who has resigned to join her husband who has been posted to the American Embassy in Rome. … Rosemary Ahern has joined Other Press as Executive Editor to spearhead their fiction program. She was most recently at Washington Square Press.

Chuck Adams is joining Algonquin Books “overseeing the editorial effort,” and based in Chapel Hill, though he will spend time each month in New York. He was at S&S. … Michael Kazan, EVP, Director of Business Development and Client Relations at Spier Inc., has left the company and may be reached at [email protected]. … Jeannie Bailey is moving to Nashville to work for Thomas Nelson as Director National Accounts. She will report to Ron Land. Most recently she was Director of Mass Market Sales for DK. … Kathleen Halligan, formerly manager, National Accounts Random House Children’s Books, has joined Ripe Ideas, a brand development company. She may be reached at (212) 905-3173 or kathleen@ … Ben Bruton, Assoc. Director of Publicity at Doubleday, is taking his title and going to Atria/S&S.

Sara Nelson, Glamour’s Senior Contributing Editor, Books, and columnist for The New York Observer, will do a regular Monday morning stint on Air America, the new liberal radio network.

Atlanta-based The News Group has opened new offices in New Jersey to service the book publishing community. Sharon Hails has left Harlequin after eight months, to become VP Book Sales and Marketing. Marcia Roney is Director of Book Marketing. They may be reached at [email protected] and mroneytng@ or (973) 237-9600.

PGW has hired two Marketing Managers — Eric Kettunen, former US General Manager for Lonely Planet, who replaced the departed Michele Crim, and Rick Bauer, former Senior VP of Viz, the US publisher of Japanese animation comics.

In agency news, Elizabeth Sheinkman is opening a London branch of the Elaine Markson Agency. Jennifer Repo joined the Joelle Delbourgo agency based in Los Angeles. She was at Riverhead and Perigee. Anita Diggs has joined Frank Weimann’s The Literary Group as an agent. She recently left now-defunct Savoy magazine.

Elsewhere, Gordon Macomber has been named President of the Thomson Gale Publishing Group. Macomber was most recently CEO of Merriam Webster. … Keith Titan has joined RH as VP, Director of New Media. He was Senior Director of e-publishing & e-commerce at S&S. … Michael Morrison has hired Rob McMahon as Senior Editor of Morrow/Avon. He was most recently at Putnam. … Beau Friedlander has gone to Reed Elsevier’s Reed Press as Executive Editor, working for Fred Ciporen. He had been Publisher and Editor in Chief of Context Books, and replaces Nick Weir Williams, who left recently.

Houghton Children’s Books’ Editorial Director Judy O’Malley has left the company after just over a year.


Perseus announced that Stephen Bottum, formerly Executive Managing Editor and Publishing Manager for Basic Books, Basic Civitas, and Counterpoint, has been promoted to VP, Group Managing Editor. William Morrison Garland has been promoted from Associate Managing Editor to the position of M.E. of Basic Books, Basic Civitas, and Counterpoint. Megan Hustad has been promoted to Editor for Basic Books, Basic Civitas and Counterpoint. … James Howitt has been promoted to Director of Client and Product Development at Bookscan. He moved from the UK to the US office last April.


The Academy of American Poets, whose Ninth Annual National Poetry Month takes place in April, kicks off with its second annual benefit, Poetry & the Creative Mind on April 6, at Lincoln Center. Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Tony Kushner, Kevin Kline, Wynton Marsalis, Louis Menand, Vanessa Redgrave, and Meryl Streep, among others, will read their favorite poems.

• The final lecture in the five-part series on the Algonquin Round Table, “Wit’s End on West 44th Street” will feature biographer Marion Meade speaking about the life of Dorothy Parker. April 13th at 6 p.m. at the Small Press Center, 20 West 44th. Call (212) 840-1840 or go to www.

Jupitermedia’s Digital Rights Management Strategies Conference will be held April 12-14 at the Crowne Plaza Times Square. The conference focuses on DRM business and technology issues and explores copyright, online piracy and other current issues. Speakers include ContentGuard CEO Michael Miron, Wiley’s Director, New Initiatives, Jonathan Stowe, and Siva Vaidhyanathan, Director, Communications Studies, NYU, and author of Copyrights and Copywrongs and the just published The Anarchist in the Library. To register email registration@ or call (203) 662-2857. Also at the Crowne Plaza this month: The April 20th PAMA luncheon features a panel discussion entitled “Break Out Books.” Denise Berthiaume is moderator and St. Martin’s John Cunningham and Lisa Gallagher and S&S/Atria’s Judith Curr will participate. Contact: [email protected].

NYU’s Center for Publishing will hold its second Management Forum for Independent Publishers on April 23-24. Speakers include Borders Phil Ollila, Harvard Business School Press’s David Goehring and keynote David Godine. Call (212) 992-3236 for details.

• The LA Times Festival of Books takes place April 24-25, and the LA Times Book Prizes will be presented at UCLA on April 24. In addition to nine category awards, the annual Robert Kirsch Award will recognize an author whose oeuvre focuses on the Western region of the US. For more information call (800) LATIMES, ext. 72366.


The Village Voice reports that Tod Sacerdoti’s How to Use Google has been at the top of Amazon’s bestseller lists for months. A 12-page PDF, it costs $1.99. Now Sacerdoti is taking the concept of short and cheap to traditional books, providing summaries of popular nonfiction books, including Jack, Straight from the Gut, and Atkins New Diet Revolution in PDF formats. He contacts publishers for rights, and claims that, “while some have said please don’t do this, some have said, please do do this.”

• The March 29th edition of the NYT contains an editorial that begins “Last September the Office of Foreign Assets Control — part of the Treasury Department — made a surprising ruling. Publishers could publish works by authors living in certain countries, including Iran, Libya, Sudan and Cuba, but they couldn’t edit them. Those countries are subject to American economic sanctions, and the office decided that to consult with an author about a manuscript was against the rules.” The editorial ends with the rousing line, “Ideas pose no risk to us until we begin to try to control them.” Separately, AAP and member publishers have met with Bush Administration officials to protest this ruling. The AAP board is meeting in April to discuss options, which are said to include the possibility of a lawsuit. Separately, PEN American Center sent a letter to the Treasury Department — and cc’d President Bush, among others — requesting “an immediate review of OFAC regulations that could be interpreted to bar or restrict in any way publication of literature.” The letter strongly suggested a First Amendment infringement. Several book and magazine publishers have already vowed to flout the ruling, and the Council on Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP) stated it will support their efforts.

• Services for Spalding Gray have been planned: The first service will be April 15 at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre at Lincoln Center in New York City, at a time yet to be determined. The second service is scheduled for 5 p.m. on May 15 at the Whaling Church in Sag Harbor, N.Y.

Stick ‘Em Up!

The AAP’s Director of International Copyright Development, Patricia Judd stunned her audience at the group’s annual meeting in late-February with Jesse James-like tales of raiding unsuspecting copyshops around the globe to stamp out the estimated $500 million black-market book biz, in which copy-machine crimes are at an all-time high. That estimate, she pointed out, is based on publishers’ accounts in fewer than 50 countries and does not include Eastern Europe, South America or Internet sales. In the three months prior to her talk, Judd visited local and regional government officials and publishing associations in the eight countries where the AAP is currently proselytizing copyright-protection: China, where estimated losses reach $40 million, Thailand ($28 million), Philippines ($45 million), Taiwan ($20 million), South Korea ($38 million), Singapore ($2 million), Hong Kong ($9 million), and Malaysia ($9 million). In addition to many already successful anti-piracy ventures, springtime raids are planned for Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and other far reaches.

The AAP’s role in ending word piracy goes beyond catching violators with their hands in the printing presses. The committee — which includes big US houses such as Harper Collins, McGraw-Hill, and Random House and the overseas Cambridge University Press, Elsevier, and Oxford University Press, to name just a few — is actively negotiating with foreign governments on free trade agreements. It launched poster and letter-writing campaigns urging members of various Asian university communities to respect copyright laws. Committee Chair Deborah Wiley spoke at a meeting of the British Publishers’ Association in September 2003, and the groups may join forces on future projects in India, the Middle East and China. It also participates in the working group of the International Intellectual Property Alliance.

Plenty of lobbying is done on US soil, as well. The group presented a special report to the US Trade Representative in mid-February, which highlighted all the major territories that the AAP is engaged in anti-piracy enforcement initiatives (for more information on this report, see The group presses the US government to engage in bilateral or multilateral discussions regarding copyright protection whenever an Executive or Legislative Branch team travels abroad or when a foreign government sends a delegation to the US.

Book View, March 2004


Changes in the far-flung HarperCollins realm: Carl Raymond has left ReganBooks to go to DK as Director of Marketing. Claudia Riemer Boutote has joined HarperSanFrancisco as Senior Director of Publicity. She was most recently at Workman as Marketing and Publicity Director. In New York, Mimi Kayden has been named Marketing Consultant at HarperCollins Children’s Books reporting to Diane Naughton and Susan Katz. Victoria Stapleton has been hired as Library Services Manager, from S&S. Meanwhile, HC announced that Josh Marwell has been appointed President of Sales. George Bick, SVP Sales Morrow/Avon, has been promoted to SVP Sales and now also oversees Field Sales. Brian Grogan, VP, Director of Distributor Sales, has been named SVP Distributor Sales, reporting to Bick. Nina Olmsted, VP of National Accounts, has been promoted to SVP. Mark Hillesheim, currently National Accounts Manager, has been named VP, Director of National Accounts and Backlist Sales for the General Books Group, reporting to both Bick and Olmsted. In a subsequent announcement, Carl Lennertz, VP Marketing, has been named to the newly created position of VP Independent Retailing, reporting to Marwell. Jeanette Zwart will become VP Sales, Eastern Region; Kristin Bowers has been promoted to VP Sales for the Western Region; both report to Bick. Charlie Trachtenbarg has been named Manager of Sales Analysis. He had previously been Regional Sales Manager.

Ex-S&S people are finding jobs around town: Bill Seibert was named Senior Director of Operations at Rodale. He was most recently VP Director of International Finance and Operations at S&S. Alan Smagler, who was most recently at S&S Children’s, has formed Smagler Associates, providing Executive Coaching and Management Consulting services. Smagler can be reached at (516) 295-5180 or [email protected]. And Karen Weitzman ([email protected]), former VP of Foreign Rights at S&S has agreed to act as the representative for Big Apple Tuttle-Mori Agency for China, which was previously handled by the Greenberger Agency. She joins longstanding U.K. reps, Anne Martyn and Nina Martyn, as well as French rep Marie-Pierre Robert.

Rich Kelley has moved from a consulting role to a permanent position as Director of Marketing and Membership for the NY Academy of Sciences. He was most recently SVP for Bookspan’s Computer and Science Clubs. In other Bookspan news, Joe Pittman has moved to the company’s Venus and Doubleday Book clubs, reporting to Sharon Fantera. Pittman was most recently at NAL, and has published two novels.

Nader Darehshori, previously CEO of Houghton Mifflin, has founded supplemental ed publisher Cambium Learning Inc. … Neal Goff has left Columbia House, where he had been consulting, to become EVP of Marketing at Weekly Reader Corp., reporting to the new President, Emily Swenson. … Natalie Kaire has gone to Clarkson Potter as Editor. She was most recently at Hyperion.

Ellen Beal has been named Editorial Director at Running Press. She was Director of Product Development at Berlitz International. Jennifer Kasius recently joined the company as a Senior Editor, from Crown. As of the end of March Running Press co-founder Buz Teacher will work part-time for the company, and CEO David Steinberger announced the new reporting structure: Executive Director of Sales John Whalen will become Group VP and Publisher for Running Press, dividing responsibilities for the division with COO Al Struzinski. Both will report to Steinberger. Matty Goldberg has been reassigned to Group VP and Director of Sales, reporting to new Perseus Group COO Joe Mangan.

Meanwhile, Associate Publisher Carlo DeVito has left Running Press for Penguin, where he will become Publisher of a new, yet-to-be-named, multi-faceted division, which will feature “book-plus” products, hardcover and paperback books, as well as other merchandise. And Counterpoint Publicist Patty Garcia has gone to Viking.

Publishers Lunch reports that Google has “bolstered their efforts to develop the beta feature Google Print into a major repository of online book text with the hiring of Tom Turvey.” He had been at ebrary, and before that,

In retailing, Vin Altruda, who has been President of Borders international stores since 1997, has become President of Borders stores worldwide, assuming the responsibilities of Tami Heim, who had been president of Borders’ US stores for the last four years. Heim has resigned. Tanya Rojas has become B&N’s Director of Community Relations, replacing Judy Collins, who has left the company. Rojas previously worked as Senior Director of Communications at L’Oreal. Mary Carlomagno, who worked on marketing and sponsorships, has left the company.


Geoff Shandler has been promoted to Editor-in-Chief at Little, Brown, a position previously held by Publisher Michael Pietsch. … Eileen Bishop Kreit has been promoted to VP Publisher at Puffin, succeeding Tracy Tang who has left the company. … Philip Turner has been promoted from Executive Editor to Editor-in-Chief of Carroll & Graf Publishers, as well as to Senior Director of the Avalon Group.


Romantic Times Booklovers Convention will be in NY March 24-28 and brings writers, publishers, agents, and fans together. Romance editors attending include Bantam’s Wendy Mcauley and Harlequin’s Isabel Swift. Agents include Anne Hawkins (Paul Reynolds), Nancy Coffey, and Meredith Bernstein. More than 100 writers will attend, with Barbara Taylor Bradford as a headliner. Registration is required for all options except the book fair. Go to and click the NY Convention link or call (718) 237-1097 ext. 10.

March is the eighth annual Small Press Month, organized by Small Press Center and Publishers Marketing Association (PMA). The theme for 2004 is “Let Every Voice Be Heard! Support America’s Independent Small Publishers,” and events include The Small Press Book Fair at the Small Press Center, 20 W. 44, March 27-28. Over 200 independent book and magazine publishers take part. Admission is free. For info call (212) 764-7021 or visit

(Meanwhile AAP has announced a national conference for independent publishers, “2005 and Beyond,” on September 10 in New York. Contact Anne Garringer at [email protected].)


The 100th anniversary of Theodor Seuss Geisel’s birthday is on March 2, and Random House has created the “Seussentennial” to celebrate it. A yearlong tribute to Dr. Seuss, “Seussentennial: A Century of Imagination” began with a 40 city tour and includes a year-long rotating exhibit at the Geisel Library at the University of California,  San Diego. Meanwhile, NEA’s Read Across America Day will be celebrated as usual on March 2.

While on the subject, The Council of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP) writes about changes at the National Endowment for the Arts. NEA literature specialist Amy Stolls is quoted saying the NEA “did get an increase in funds” for 2005. She says NEA guidelines are now only available online at Stolls is available at (202) 682-5771.

To celebrate its eight years of existence, comScore re-released the January 1996 Media Metrix Website rankings alongside the January 2004 ranking of the top Internet properties, together with some interesting stats: The number of Internet users has grown from about 20 million in 1996 to 152 million in 2004; while broadband was almost unknown in 1996, today 35-plus percent of home Internet users have broadband; e-commerce was almost non-existent in 1996. Spending in 2004 will easily surpass $100 billion. The top sites of 1996:;; The top sites of 2004: Yahoo! Sites; MSN-Microsoft Sites; Time Warner Network.

In January alone, 83.5 million Americans, or 55% of Internet users, visited either eBay (ranked fourth) or Amazon (sixth). On that note, Kosmo Kalliarekos of the consultancy The Parthenon Group stated at the recent AAP meeting that a used book is “ flipped” online five times — a number that “will doubtless expand.”

Small, Feisty at AAP

The AAP’s “Annual Meeting for Smaller and Independent Publishers” was devoted, as it has been for the past 6 years, to the small and feisty. Executive Director Pat Schroeder skipped her intro to go attend an “urgent” meeting by the Higher Ed Group to discuss textbook prices, but the conference proceeded with an ebullient and always impressive Dominique Raccah, who revealed the strategies that have made her 17-year-old Sourcebooks a 60-plus person operation with 387 titles—including its first bestseller Outsmarting the Competition, which is still in print. She told the audience to be realistic about the industry’s stagnation, and to focus on market share. Meanwhile, to help realize her lofty ambition of doubling revenues in two years, Sourcebooks has just signed a deal to publish the new Encyclopedia Britannica Almanac.

After a working lunch (participants joined whichever roundtable offered a topic of interest), NBN’s Jed Lyons presented the first Miriam Bass Award, which went to Alexander Skutt of McBooks. Skutt said he should have been awarded it for the “creative survival skills” he used when his distributor went bankrupt. He gave thanks to Edwards Brothers printers (as did Texere’s Lee Thompson) for being patient as well as creative.

The afternoon was spent reviewing cost-effective methods for small presses to sell, market and generally get business done on shoestring budgets. Eric Yaverbaum, President of the PR agency Jericho Communications, handed out four very different press releases for his book, Leadership Secrets of 100 of the World’s Most Successful CEOs, all aimed at different audiences and demonstrating a very cost-effective way to deliver the message. In a segment on sales, Bloomberg’s John Crutcher claimed that by focusing on special sales last year, they rose from 21% to 32% of total sales. And Sterling’s Marty Schamus said he made up some of the lost special markets sales after its sale to B&N by recruiting Sterling’s publicity people to pitch for him.

Sandra Killen, president of Tech Materials, got the most laughs when discussing export sales—she was once asked by a US publisher, “what part of Turkey is Oslo in?”—an area where the US has not made much of a name for itself, despite recent advances. After years living and working around the world (not in publishing), she returned to the US and in 1985 founded her company where she acts as an intermediary between US publishers and the international bookselling community. She is, she said, “paid by foreign retailers so they do not have to deal with US publishers.”

The session ended with discussions of how to increase staff productivity when most of them are virtual or part time. The former head of HR for Madison Square Garden terrified everyone when she talked about working for an organization that grew from 900 to 18,000 employees and 132 union contracts.