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ePublish a Book » ePublishing - The week in Brief » ePublishing Week in Brief – November 11th to 16th, 2013

ePublishing Week in Brief – November 11th to 16th, 2013

ePublishing NewsePublishing Week in Brief – November 11th to 16th, 2013

Personalization In Publishing: Books Written Just For You

[…]There have been personalized books for a while, according to Dominique Raccah, CEO of Naperville, Ill.-based publisher Sourcebooks.

“But not like we’re doing it,” she said, adding that most prior book personalization was self-published work or new brands, launching from scratch.

Sourcebooks is pioneering personalized books and ebooks with its new Put Me in the Story program. Since January, the company has inked deals with such well-known brands as Sesame Street,Berenstain Bears and, most recently, Hello Kitty. Now, through the Put Me in the Story iPhone and iPad app and website, parents, grandparents and others can create personalized versions of stories featuring characters and story-lines popularized by those brands.

The World’s Largest Book Publishers



Despite concerns about consolidation among publishing houses, sales of the top 10 companies accounted for 55% of revenue of the 50 publishers that are on the list for both 2012 and 2011, down from 57% in 2011. One reason for the decline is the increasing number of publishers from emerging markets gaining sales worldwide. That has been especially true among publishers in the 20th to 50th spots on the ranking; total revenues from those 30 companies accounted for 25% of sales in 2012, up from 21% in 2011.

As has been true in recent years, publishers that specialize in scientific/technical/medical books and journals generated the highest revenue in 2012, followed by education and then trade. There seems little interest among the largest companies to broaden the areas in which they publish; each prefers to focus on one segment. That trend was seen most recently in the U.S., when John Wiley sold off its most consumer-oriented properties to concentrate on professional information. That, of course, is also the path Pearson took with its decision to merge its Penguin subsidiary with Random House, leaving Pearson with only its (very large) educational group. McGraw-Hill Companies also decided that it would be better off focusing on one area, this one outside of publishing altogether—financial services. MHC completed the sale of McGraw-Hill Education in early 2013 to a private equity group (the sale occurred before the final numbers for 2012 were released).

Publishing salaries ‘a big issue’

Publishers have defended their record as employers after claims that book industry employees are facing tough conditions, with starting salaries failing to rise and an increasing use of short-term contracts.

Suzanne Collier of, which is running a periodic survey on salaries across the trade, said she had noticed concerning trends. “We have had over 500 responses so far. One of the things that comes out from the data immediately is that entry-level jobs are still paying the same amount they were five years ago. Middle and senior managers are doing slightly better, but there is quite a disparity with those just starting in the industry. People talk about a lack of diversity in the industry, and it’s caused by the salary issue,” she added.

Fiona Swarbrick, organiser at the National Union of Journalists, said starting salaries in the industry were “awful” and had not gone up for some years.

Suzy Astbury, m.d. of recruitment company Inspired Selection, agreed pay was “a big issue”. She said: “Publishers need to realise the cost of living has gone up, and starting salaries need to be £18,000–£20,000 . . . and even then life is tough.”

Publishing crisis? Time to create a Spotify for books

Publishers must learn the lessons from music streaming services around pricing and sourcing for their subscription models to workFaisal Galaria: ‘The digitisation of books should not be seen as a threat for publishers, rather a new way forward.’ Photograph: Bloomberg/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Dark clouds appear to be looming over the publishing industry. Figures released last week by accountants Wilkins Kennedy revealed that 98 UK publishers went bust over the last year, a rise of 42% on the previous year. Though this figure is stark, there’s evidence elsewhere to believe that all is not necessarily lost for the publishing industry.

While print sales of books stayed fairly static in 2012, falling just 1% to £2.9bn, the real success story was the ebook, rising 134% to £216m,according to the UK Publishers Association. The huge rise can be explained by a low base, but the reality is that ebooks now represent nearly 10% of book publishers’ total sales.

Publishers have been hit by the rise of the second-hand book market, but the fact that print sales have remained steady shows the opportunity in the sector. Along with the rise in ebooks, the signs actually look positive.
Not everyone has taken to ebooks. They don’t feel the same as books, nor do they look like books. Essentially, to some people, they simply do not provide the same satisfaction as a printed volume.

There are parallels with the music industry, where a similar argument was made for vinyl rather than the compact discs which followed in the 1980s. And it could actually be argued that the critics had more of a point – vinyl was widely accepted to be of much better quality than its successors.

Forbes brand to be tested as publishing firm explores sale

BloombergNEW YORK (Bloomberg)—Forbes Media LLC, famous for tracking the wealth of billionaires across the globe, will now get to see how much its 96-year-old brand, dented by the rise of digital media, might fetch in the marketplace.

The New York-based publisher of Forbes magazine and hired Deutsche Bank AG to examine a sale after receiving interest from potential buyers, according to a memo sent to employees by Chief Executive Officer Mike Perlis.

The announcement follows years of dwindling profits as the founding Forbes family, a pioneer in business journalism, tried to stabilize its fortune by selling a stake in 2006, raising money through asset sales including its Manhattan headquarters building, and moving aggressively into digital publishing.

While Forbes is seeking at least $400 million in a sale, according to a person familiar with the matter, the company will struggle to land more than $200 million, another person said. The people asked not to be identified.

Yankees great Derek Jeter plans a career in book publishing after playing days end

Jeter has decided what the next phase of his life will entail after baseball – Jeter Publishing, a partnership with venerable publishing house Simon & Schuster.

He will be 40 next June, is coming off an injury-riddled season that limited him to playing in just 17 games and he is the last Core Four teammate still suiting up in pinstripes.

And he also announced Thursday that he will partner with publishing house Simon & Schuster to start his own imprint at the venerable company.

Are signs pointing to 2014 being Derek Jeter’s swan song season?

“Man, I’m trying to focus on getting ready for the middle of February. I have not even thought about that,” Jeter said Thursday night. “My No. 1 focus is to get healthy. And what I mean by get healthy is get strong, get my strength back. I’m headed in that direction.”

Israel boycott? World’s largest children’s books publisher ‘erases’ Jewish state from map

The world’s biggest publisher of children’s titles has skipped Israel from their maps in a school book, a mother of one of the readers found out as she failed to find her motherland to show her little son, the Times of Israel reported.

“I wanted to show my son where we lived in the Middle East, but I didn’t see Israel on the map; instead it said Jordan,” Adina Golombek, a Jerusalem resident who moved to Israel from Canada last year, told the newspaper.

“Thea Stilton and the Blue Scarab Hunt,” published by Scholastic Inc, is an adventure story of the Thea Sisters, five teen-aged mice, who are invited to Egypt to participate in an archeological excavation.

As the story takes place in the Middle East, a map is provided at the beginning of the book. It outlines modern Egypt and its neighboring countries – all except for Israel. While Sudan, Libya, and Saudi Arabia can been seen in the right spots, Israel is fully covered by Jordan with the territories of both states evenly colored in red.

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