People Round-Up, Mid-January 2016


Suzanne O’Neill will become VP, Executive Editor at Grand Central at the beginning of February. She was previously VP, Executive Editor at Crown.

Jane Manning Hyatt joined Chronicle Books as Executive Director of Sales. She was previously VP, Higher Education at Teachscape.

Laura Dew is now Creative Director at Quarto Publishing Group USA.

At literary agencies, Molly O’Neill joined Waxman Leavell Literary Agency as Agent. She was previously Head of Editorial at Storybird. . . Angela Scheff joined The Christopher Ferebee Agency as Agent. She was previously freelancing. Jana Burson has also joined The Christopher Ferebee Agency. She was previously Owner of The Burson Agency. . . Megan Reid is now Senior Scout for Adult Fiction and Nonfiction at Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. She was Associate Editor at Emily Bestler Books and Atria. . . MacKenzie Fraser-Bub has left her position as Agent at Trident Media Group to become an independent Agent. . . Molly Glick is now Agent in CAA’s books department, based in New York. She was previously Agent at Foundry Literary + Media, and will bring her clients over with her. . . Barbara Berson is now Agent at The Helen Heller Agency. She was most recently a Freelance Editorial Consultant. . . Margaret Sutherland Brown is now Agent at the Emma Sweeney Agency. She was most recently at Freelance Editor. . . Kent Wolf joined The Friedrich Agency as Agent and Foreign Rights Director. He was previously at Lippincott Massie and McQuilkin.

Ben Bruton launched his own book publicity firm Ben Bruton Literary. He was previously Senior Director, Publicity at William Morrow.

Eric Shoup joined Scribd as COO. He was previously Chief Product Officer at

David DeWitt joined Little Bee Books as Designer. He was previously Designer at Scholastic.

Paola Crespo is now Marketing Coordinator at Open Road Media. She was Publicity Assistant at Penguin Random House.

Jonathan Lee joined Catapult as Senior Editor. He was Editor at A Public Space.

Paul Fisher is now Senior Marketing Director, Fiction Books for HarperCollins Christian. He was previously  SVP, Marketing at THIEL Audio.

JD Wilson joined Northwestern University Press as Director of Marketing and Sales. He was previously Sales and Marketing Director at University of Alabama Press.

Nicole Pavlas joined Worthy Publishing as Director of Publicity. She was Publicist at HarperCollins Christian.

Matt Harris joined Vearsa as Head of Sales. He was Director of Business Development at LibreDigital.

Read More »

Top 5 Publishing Articles/Blog Posts of the Week 1/11-1/15

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.

What outside forces significantly shape publishing today?

A scientist explains why adult coloring books are so popular.

How do movies make better writers?

Do interactive ebooks help or hinder students in the classroom?

Studies show that popular historical books published in the US and UK are overwhelmingly written by men.

Amazon and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Year Abroad

A recent article in The Telegraph calls 2015 “the year Amazon delivered on its founder’s vision.” The reporter James Titcomb explains that in 2015 Amazon grew to double its share price, finally became profitable, and is now “almost untouchable as an online retailer” due to its streamlined delivery  service. While it’s been a good year in many respects, the company has also had its share of troubles – facing government investigations, employee strikes, and new privacy laws in Europe.

Here’s a timeline of Amazon’s problems in Europe in 2015:

January 16, 2015

The European Union’s antitrust office (the European Commission) releases a preliminary report that the tax deal established between Amazon and Luxembourg’s government in 2003 gave unfair state aid and could have enabled Amazon to underpay its taxes. (Note: countries in the European Union can offer businesses low tax rates, but must offer all deals to every company. To not offer the same tax rates to Amazon’s competitors makes this a possible case of illegal state aid.) The investigation into this allegation began in October 2014 and included other multi-national companies like Apple and Starbucks, but this is the first announcement of any findings. Amazon and Luxembourg’s Finance Ministry “deny any special tax treatment or benefits” and say all allegations are unsubstantiated.

May 1, 2015

Amazon announces that it has begun reporting revenue from its operations in Britain, Germany, Italy, and Spain differently. Previously, Amazon reported this revenue via Luxembourg and Ireland for lower taxes. This change will have Amazon paying higher taxes in the aforementioned countries, therefore taking away more from its profits. Amazon says these changes were in the works for the past two years and that the EU’s investigation has no bearing on it. Ireland announces that it will phase out the tax arrangement that Amazon has, called the “Double Irish,” entirely after pressure from other European Union members.

June 11, 2015

The European Commission begins an antitrust investigation into “whether Amazon used its dominant position in the region’s ebooks market to favor its own products over rivals,” according to the New York Times. It reportedly did so by including clauses in contracts with European publishers to inform it if they ever offered more favorable terms for ebooks to other digital retailers. The article says that Amazon “has been estimated to sell about eight out of every 10 e-books in Britain. In Germany, the market share is just under half,” which brings into question whether these clauses are too anti-competition.

Read More »

Top 5 Publishing Articles/Blog Posts of the Week 1/4-1/8

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 are the differences between US and UK children’s literature?

Digital supplier Overdrive reported that ebook and audiobook usage in libraries increased in 2015.

Why are college bookstores closing?

Will Barnes & Noble alienate customers if it abandons its Nook business?

Should a book be categorized as YA when it has young characters but adult themes, or does this hurt the book’s chance of success?

People Round-Up, Early January 2016


Kara Welsh will join Ballantine Bantam Dell as EVP, Publisher in mid-January. She was previously SVP, Publisher at Berkley Publishing Group. Mark Tavani will become VP, Executive Editor at Putnam in February. He was previously Editorial Director, Fiction at Ballantine.

Tara Parsons joined Touchstone as Editor-in-Chief. She was previously Editorial Director of fiction at Amazon Publishing.

Claire Wachtel left her position as VP, Executive Editor at HarperCollins.

Caroline Pincus resigned her position as Associate Publisher at Red Wheel/Weiser after 10 years with the company. She can be reached at [email protected].

Adam Kowit is now Executive Editor at America’s Test Kitchen. He was Senior Editor in the culinary division of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Fay Rosenfeld will become VP, Public Programs at the New York Public Library in mid-January. She was Senior Director of Programs and COO of the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institution at Hunter College.

Nicholas Sinisi joined Diamond Book Distributors as Sales Manager. He was previously Independent Store Sales Manager, Publisher Services and Development Manager at Midpoint Trade Books.

John JD Wilson will join Northwestern University Press as Director of Sales and Marketing in mid-January.

Additionally at Penguin Random House, Kristen Schulz is now Library Coordinator at Random House Children’s Books. Sarah Grimm joined Crown as Publicist. She was previously Associate Publicist for Putnam.

Marlena Brown joined Picador as Publicist. She was previously at Oxford University Press.

At literary agencies, Elizabeth Evans has left her position as Agent at the Jean V. Naggar Agency to launch Elizabeth Evans Editorial, which will provide freelance editorial and publishing consulting services. . . MacKenzie Fraser-Bub joined Howard Morhaim Literary Agency. She was previously Agent at Trident Media Group. . . Amy Rosenbaum joined the Nancy Yost Literary Agency as Rights Manager. She was previously at Folio Literary Management.

Caroline Davidson is now Publicist at JKS Communications. She was previously Marketing Director at Turner Publishing.

Deborah Broide is now consulting as Media Relations/PR and Publicity Director at Founder and Former CEO of America’s Test Kitchens Christopher Kimball’s unnamed new company.

Miriam Markowitz retired from her position as Deputy Literary Editor at The Nation after seven years.

Read More »

International Bestsellers, December 2015

Every month, Publishing Trends runs fiction international bestsellers lists from four territories–France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. This month, our four regular territories are joined by two more: Canada and Hungary. 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 Predictions Posts for 2016

number_5_redEvery week, we recommend 5 publishing articles/blog posts that supplement the major news for the week. As we enter the new year, we are instead posting 5 links to articles with predictions for the publishing industry in 2016. 

Publishing Executive makes predictions for 2016 based on 12 key words from “mobile” to “quorum.

Publishing Technology’s CEO has 9 predictions of what’s in store for trade publishing and academic publishing in the new year.

Publishing Perspectives has 10 ideas for how Open Access will affect publishing in 2016.

DBW presents 10 things to keep an eye on in the new year from China to Pearson.

Nieman Lab suggests that this is the year news publishing will focus significantly on the business aspect of the industry.

Bonus: Here’s your chance to submit your predictions for 2016.

Top 5 Publishing Articles/Blog Posts of the Week 12/21-12/24

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.

A new research paper from the Book Industry Study Group found that library patrons prefer to check out print books and physical audiobooks over digital.

Is something lost when comics are read digitally, or are digital comics changing the genre for the better?

Are big publishers hurting their chances of finding new literary authors by only reading solicited manuscripts from agents?

What are the takeaways from the bestselling books of the year?

Do librarians need new visionary leaders to push national debates that could improve libraries?

Top 5 Publishing Articles/Blog Posts of the Week 12/14-12/18

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.

Can Waterstones’ rebound in the U.K. be a model for chain bookstores in the U.S.?

Which is more sentimental in content: commercial fiction or literary fiction?

What’s the real value of ebook reviews?

Should Amazon be concerned about crowd-sourced publishing?

How have physical books been selling this year?

Editor’s note: We mistakenly posted an out-of-date article in the original post, but have since replaced it with something more timely.

The Sound and the Story: Audiobooks and Podcasts

Hey, did you hear season two of Serial has started? Serial’s return was hard to miss on social media last Thursday. People were hungry to hear more of Sarah Koenig’s addictive storytelling and reporting. The keyword is “hear” — Serial, of course, is a podcast, and podcasts are growing in popularity, as are audiobooks. In publishing, trends come and go, but this love of all things audio may be indicative of a sea change. This year was a first in publishing: a podcast spawned a book. Not a collection of stories from the podcasts, nor a collection of new material with old; it’s a novel with all new material based on the popular fictional podcast Welcome to Night Vale (Harper Perennial, 2015). Published in October of this year, it has been on the New York Times Best Seller list, and sold over 47k  copies according to BookScan. It’s available in print, ebook, and of course, audio.

Audiobook & Podcast Timeline

Click here to see a full-size PDF download of a condensed audiobook and podcast timeline. Image by Jen Donovan.

Audio is a sector of the industry that has been steadily growing with no signs of stopping. Here’s a look at some important moments in audio history that have led to the boom that we’re seeing now. There are general timelines for audiobooks and podcasts, but I think to completely separate the two is a mistake. As the trajectory of a book like Welcome to Night Vale shows, the success of one of these mediums informs the successes of the other. So, here are some important moments in the respective histories of audiobooks and podcasts.

Cassette Tapes

In 1970 audiobooks made the transition to cassette tapes, which were much more affordable than LPs. Audiobooks on cassettes allowed public libraries to easily purchase audiobooks for patrons to check out. This caused rapid growth for audiobook sales and publishers. By August 1988, there were 40 audiobook publishers, up from about ten in 1984.

Audible opened for business in 1997, they sold a digital media player that held 2 hours of an audiobook at a time. In 1998, they became the first company to sell digital audiobooks.

Compact Discs

In 2002, CDs became the dominant format for audiobooks instead of cassette tapes. They reached their zenith of popularity in audiobook sales in 2008, and have been on the decline as a format for audiobooks ever since.

Digitally Downloaded Audiobooks

The Audio Publishers Association has been tracking the growing popularity of digitally downloaded audiobooks on and off since 2001, and regularly since 2006. Unsurprisingly, it’s been a steadily growing area for audiobook since 2006. In 2011, they reported that digital downloads had increased 300% since 2005 per dollar volume. Their most recent press release stated “73 percent of all audiobook listeners and 82 percent of frequent users report listening to audiobooks downloaded digitally. The younger the listener, the more likely they are to go digital.” Digital is here to stay.


The capability to podcast began in 2000, with the website that offered users audio-only broadcasts of sportscasts, the news, and so on. The website itself did not last long. Late in 2000, the ability to subscribe to certain audio-only feeds via RSS was instated as was the ability to “audioblog.” The term podcasting did not appear in print until 2004 in a Guardian article by Ben Hammersly. (His other suggestions for the medium were audioblogging and GuerillaMedia.) “Podcasting” was quickly adopted by many early podcasters and podcast enthusiasts and became the commonly accepted term for the media. Read More »