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.

International Bestseller Lists, December 2013

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: Mexico and Holland.  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. Editor’s note: Regrettably,  the bestseller list for France was not available by deadline.






Top 5 Publishing Predictions Posts for 2014

number_5_redEvery week, we recommend 5 publishing articles/blog posts that supplement the major news for the week. As we near the end of the year, we thought we would change things up and instead post 5 links to articles with predictions for the publishing industry in 2014.

DBW’s list of Ten Bold Predictions says Barnes & Noble will sell off the Nook and go private, Amazon will open a physical store, publishers will work to “verticalize” their assets, libraries will be able to buy the Big Five‘s full catalog, and more.

Penny C. Sansevieri shares some book marketing predictions, including shorter copy, micro-topics, and emphasis on keywords.

Good Ereader predicts that ebook sales and tablet reading will be on the decline, in addition to the suspension of Sony of Barnes & Noble’s consumer ereading device efforts.

Publishing Technology declares 2014 the year of ebook subscription services.

Execs from the industry weigh in with their thoughts for 2014 in a survey from Book Business Magazine.

Partners’ Corner December 2013

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

For the past few months, we’ve been planning  for DBW’s  Launch Kids conference (presented by Publishers Launch on January 13, 2014 at The Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers), which we’ve helped organize since its inception. Now in its third year, we’ve learned a lot from past iterations, finding some truly standout speakers and touching on important issues in topics like licensing, marketing and creating original IP. Every year, we are met with the inevitable changes in the industry: startups that we host one year have completely changed direction by the next, or past speakers have since moved positions/companies – sometimes industries. Still, we always are looking to find what the big issues are in the children’s publishing market and to draw out connections, if not solutions, that will be helpful to publishers.

Our goal with this upcoming conference from the start was to expand our focus to find the latest trends in the children’s market. What can publishers learn from other types of media? What can trade publishers learn from the educational market? What can US publishers learn from international markets?  Are we ready for mobile?  Is social media really a panacea for disappearing retail promotion?

The more we explore these topics, the more we see an industry that is becoming more flexible, or at least is trying to evaluate how flexible it can be. Publishers like Pearson are exploring partnerships with schools to gamify learning in a way that responds to teachers’ needs. Kids are connecting with books through a variety of channels, whether by engaging with social media platforms that are built into publishers’ sites or via new players like KidzVuz or Biblionasium. And meanwhile, publishers continue to create and flexibly exploit their own IP like Poptropica’s Galactic Hot Dogs.

With all the changes and innovation in the industry, it seems partnerships and connections are more important than ever. While not all publishers can be quite as agile as new players and new players do not always have the traction or staying power as established publishers, there is a lot they can learn from one another.

If you have a topic in children’s digital media that you think we should explore, please let us know.

Top 5 Publishing Articles/Blog Posts of the Week 12/16-12/20

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 survey of 300 Amazon users suggest that owners of inexpensive Kindles spend almost $450 more than other Amazon customers.

How a single post went viral on Tumblr turned new author Cory O’Brien’s book into an overnight bestseller.

Newly released data on how consumers use their tablets raises the question as to whether or not publishers are wasting their time on tablets.

Could the separation between genres in young adult sections in bookstores limit discoverability for readers?

Ebook subscription services Oyster, Scribd, and newly announced Entitle, compete for users and titles, but which will come out on top?

Off the Beaten Path: Rachel Fershleiser

With the increasing fluidity among industries, it’s not unusual for executives to leave traditional publishing roles in favor of new business ventures. In this Off the Beaten Path series, we asked four former traditional publishing professionals how their publishing experience affects their roles in their current companies and what they miss about their old stomping grounds.

Rachel Fershleiser

Literary Community Organizer, Tumblr;
formerly in publicity at William Morrow and Scribner

How has your publishing experience been helpful in your current job/industry?

My job at Tumblr is to help authors, publishers, bookstores, libraries, etc. to understand and use our tools, so it’s invaluable to understand the challenges and goals those people are working with. I see myself as something of a bridge — it’s important that I speak both languages or I’m not much help to anyone.

What can publishing learn from your current job/industry?

We definitely work faster and most experimentally at Tumblr than at the publishers where I’ve worked. We can launch a new project in a few days and make it up as we go along.  I actually think an independent bookstore or small press is more like a startup that way. A lot of publishing houses can learn from them too.

What do you miss about publishing?

I miss being part of a female majority. I miss not being the oldest person in the office at 33. Mostly I miss being around book nerds all the time.

What do you like about your current industry?

I’m really so excited about what online communication can do for all kinds of people, but especially writers and readers. We’re enabling new communities united by passions and interests regardless of oceans, time zones, what you look like and who you are. Famous authors are taking book recommendations from 10th graders. Fans of obscure poets are trading chapbooks. Aspiring novelists are workshopping together. Fandoms are becoming forces for positive change. It’s all pretty incredible.