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ePublish a Book » ePublishing - The week in Brief » ePublishing Week in Brief – January 21st to 25th, 2013

ePublishing Week in Brief – January 21st to 25th, 2013

ePublishing NewsePublishing Week in Brief – January 21st to 25th, 2013



Book Publishing in the UK Industry Market Research Report Now Updated by IBISWorld

Revenue in the Book Publishing industry is estimated to have decreased at a compound annual rate of 3.9% over the past five years due to weak consumer confidence and consumer spending negatively affecting consumer book sales. Improving economic conditions and the growing influence of e-books should see industry revenue return to modest growth over the next five year to 2017-18.

The United Kingdomis home to some of the oldest and most respected book publishers in the world. In fact, Cambridge University Press is the world’s oldest publisher and has been operating continuously since 1584. A good reputation and strong local copyright laws have made the United Kingdom the biggest exporter of books in the world.
The Book Publishing industry is expected to generate revenue of £3.96 billion in 2012-13, down 1.7% from the previous year. The industry is export-oriented, with exports accounting for 46.1% of revenue. Industry revenue is estimated to have decreased at a compound annual rate of 3.9% over the past five years. Weak consumer confidence and consumer spending negatively affect consumer book sales. According to IBISWorld industry analyst Andrew Johnson, “growth in electronic book (e-book) sales will erode sales of physical books but e-book profit margins are higher than physical books even though they sell for less”. Schoolbook sales have been, and are expected to continue to be, influenced by a decline in the number of school students due to demographic factors. Book sales to the university market have strengthened in response to an increase in total university enrolments (and in full-time enrolments). Government funding pressures are expected to adversely affect education book sales. Imports are expected to gain market share, although growth in book exports will partly compensate for this.

Industry revenue is forecast to grow modestly over the next five year to 2017-18.

Macmillan to Begin E-book Library Lending Pilot

As the American Library Association Midwinter conference kicks off its run inSeattle, Macmillan has announced that it will begin its first e-book library lending program by the end of the first quarter. Using the agency model and working with a number of distributors, Macmillan will offer libraries over 1,200 backlist e-books from its Minotaur Books imprint. At launch, Baker & Taylor, OverDrive and 3M will be selling the Macmillan titles to library systems. Once purchased by a library, the titles will be available to them to lend for two years or 52 lends, whichever comes first. All of the books in the program will have the same digital list price.

Macmillan refered pricing questions to its distributors and OverDrive said each title will be $25.

The announcement, leaves Simon & Schuster as the only “big six” publisher without any library e-book offerings. Among the major publishers, Random House offers its full list to libraries for perpetual access, although at increaed price points. Harpercollins offers its titles to libraries for 26 lends before the licenses must be renewed. Hachette offers a portion of its backlist at increased prices, and Penguin recently expanded its pilot project offering windowed access to a portion of its catalog for one-year licenses.

E-Commerce Platform Gumroad Adds New Publishing Features, Says Some Authors Have Made $100K+

Gumroad, the Kleiner Perkins-backedstartup that allows you to sell anything through a simple link, is announcing some additions to its publishing program today, while also sharing some of its early success stories.

Ryan Delk, who leads the company’s growth and partnership efforts, said traditional publishing is “still operating on economics and strategies that were invented 20 years ago.” Specifically, he said, “The power has shifted — it no longer lies with these aggregators and marketplaces, but with individuals and their existing platforms.” That’s the kind of shift that Gumroad (with its ethos of “share and sell the stuff you make directly to your audience”) is trying to take advantage of, in this case giving authors an easy way to sell to fans directly. Delk added that publishing is one of the company’s “biggest verticals.”

Amazon Children’s Publishing expands with more books for younger kids and teens

Amazon is expanding its children’s publishing division with two new imprints. “Two Lions” will publish picture books, chapter books and middle-grade fiction, while “Skyscape” is aimed at teens. The imprints’ first titles will be published in spring 2013.

Amazon is expanding its children’s publishing footprint with two new imprints based out ofNew York, the company announced ahead of the American Library Association’s annual meeting this week. “Two Lions” will publish picture books, chapter books and middle-grade fiction (for kids ages 8 to 12), while “Skyscape” is aimed at teens. The imprints’ first titles will be published this spring.

Amazon acquired 450 children’s titles from the publisher Marshall Cavendish in December 2011, and Margery Cuyler, who had been publisher at Marshall Cavendish and is a children’s author and illustrator herself, will head the new Two Lions imprint. Tim Ditlow, associate publisher of Amazon’s children’s publishing unit, will oversee Skyscape (per a tweet by Publishers Weekly).

The expansion could help feed Kindle FreeTime Unlimited, Amazon’s new subscription product for kids. The program, aimed at 3- to 8-year-olds, offers unlimited access to ebooks, movies, TV shows, educational apps and games for a set monthly price (starting at $2.99).

According to Amazon, the lions of Two Lions represent “the past” and “the future.” Titles include Slugger (“a slug wants to join a baseball team, but how can he hold a bat?”) by Susan Pearson, who published previous picture books with Marshall Cavendish, and Gandhi: A March to the Sea by Alice McGinty, who published previous books with Random House and Houghton Mifflin.

From the Digital Frontier: A Shifting $12 Billion Publishing Market

The publishing world is a $12 billion space. It’s also a shifting market, as the old business model of printing books and selling them through bookstores is all but extinct. Barnes and Noble is the last bastion of the traditional bookstore, and publishing giants are rapidly consolidating and merging, lest they cease to exist too.

Despite this shifting landscape, the 2013 Digital Book World Conference and Expo that took place last week was an event filled with optimism and energy. New and innovative companies have flooded the space with products to serve this emerging digital book frontier. As CEO David Nussbaum writes, “The mainstay of it all is opportunity.”

In the Expo, our top picks that you should check out are: Inkling, a new digital platform for interactive books; IDSAmerica, a full service outsourcing company specializing in the publishing industry; and Flipside Publishing Services for interactive books.

Piracy is yesterday’s worry for today’s ‘artisan authors’

File sharing and self-publishing are becoming the norm for a generation of writers looking beyond a moribund publishing eco-system

The community of SF writers has reason to dislike digital copying, or “piracy” as it’s commonly labelled in the tabloid press. Genre writers exist, by and large, in the publishing mid-list, where mediocre sales might seem most easily eroded by the spectre of illegitimate downloads. SF, fantasy and horror are also the literature of choice for the culture of geeks most likely to share their favourite authors’ works on torrent sites. Not surprising, then, that many professional genre writers and editors respond to the growing reality of copying with the absolutist position that piracy is theft, and should be punished as such under the law.

But SF writers are far from united in that position. Novelist, blogger and digital rights activist Cory Doctorow is well known for providing free digital copies of all his books as a marketing strategy, arguing that in a digital economy, obscurity is a far greater threat than piracy. Charlie Stross blogged such an effective argument against digital rights management on ebooks that it influenced at least one publishing imprint to drop DRM on its novels. And interviewed on the subject in 2011, Neil Gaiman, ever the gentleman, kindly points out that if you are a writer courting fans, screaming “THIEF!” at them and threatening legal action for copying might be … counterproductive.

A Publisher’s Year: Mastering the perilous trade

On the second last day of 2012, Scott Griffin, the owner and chair of House of Anansi Press, was appointed an Officer of the Order ofCanada.

It’s surprising it took so long; Griffin, 74, is one of Canadian literature’s leading patrons, not only through his proprietorship of Anansi, which he saved from near-collapse in 2002, but as founder of the international poetry prize that bears his name, and a poetry recitation contest, Poetry In Voice, which has grown from a handful of participants in Ontario and Quebec to 177 schools nationwide.

“I do feel that probably the whole of Anansi deserves it, not just me,” he says of the award, which he will receive later this year. “I’m only one of many wheels in this tremendous progress Anansi has made over the last 10 years. So I feel that it really should be a group award, but I guess it doesn’t work that way.”

Griffin, who made his money in manufacturing before bestowing much of it on the world of books, is speaking on the phone from Puerto Escondido, Mexico, about 175 miles south ofAcapulco, where he winters with his wife, Krystyne. (An accomplished aviator who has soared over both Africa and theArctic, he flies himself down and back).  Though he says he talks to Sarah MacLachlan, the company’s president and publisher, “two or three times a week,” he leaves day-to-day affairs to his employees; of the dozens of times I was in the Anansi offices this past year, I didn’t see him once.

“I really couldn’t ask for anybody better,” says MacLachlan. “What I love about working for him is that I can talk entirely straight to him. And we have arguments, but I never feel like I can’t make my point of view heard.”

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