Publishing Round-Up: 25th January 2016.

Scottish Book Trade Conference 2016 registration open

The joint Publishing Scotland and Booksellers Association Scottish Book Trade Conference 2016 will take place on Thursday 25 February at Central Hall, Tollcross, Edinburgh.

The conference will include a keynote from Profile MD Andrew Franklin, annual key book market trends from Nielsen UK Research Director Steve Bohme, a talk from Patrick Neale, breakout sessions including one from the SYP for students.

Booking and more information here.


Translation Fund grants awarded

‘Designed to encourage international publishers to translate works by Scottish writers, a new Translation Fund was launched on 25 August 2015 at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. The fund is administered by Publishing Scotland. Its purpose is to support publishers based outside the UK to buy rights from Scottish and UK publishers and agents by offering assistance with the cost of translation of Scottish writers. The funding will be received in the form of a grant.’

The following titles will be translated in 2016 with the funds:

  • The Testament of Gideon Mack – James Robertson (Penguin): Bokbyen Forlag, Norway
  • The Secret Life and Curious Death of Miss Jean Milne – Andrew Nicoll (Black & White Publishing): Sonzogno Di Marsilo, Spain
  • A Lovely Way to Burn – Louise Welsh (John Murray): Verlag Kunstmann, Germany
  • Straight White Male – John Niven (Windmill Books): Malapso Ediciones, Spain
  • The Accidental – Ali Smith (Penguin): TRI Publishing, Macedonia
  • His Bloody Project – Graeme Macrae Burnet (Contraband): Europa Verlag, Germany
  • The Girl in the Bunker – Tracey S Rosenberg (Cargo Publishing): Atmosphere Libri, Italy
  • The First Person and Other Stories – Ali Smith (Penguin): Editura Univers, Romania
  • A Painted Field – Robin Robertson (Picador): Aleph Klub, Albania
  • Ath Aithne – Martainn Mac an t’Saoir (Gaelic)/Reacquaintance – Martin MacIntyre (Clar): Vents D’Ailleurs, France
  • Tony Hogan Bought me an Icecream Float before he Stole my Ma – Kerry Hudson (Vintage): Minimum Fax, Italy

Read more about the grants here.


Universities and trade back PRH degree stance

‘Other publishers and universities are welcoming Penguin Random House UK’s decision to disregard university degrees as a prerequisite for applications.

The move, intended to broaden the talent pool and “attract the best people”, was announced by PRH on 18th January as part of a “concerted action to make publishing far, far more inclusive than it has been to date”.

Despite offering publishing degrees, universities have praised the move by Penguin.

“The PRH move to scrap its degree requirement is very welcome,” said Claire Squires, professor of publishing studies at the University of Stirling. “This might seem odd, coming from someone who runs a publishing degree programme, but a diversity of routes into publishing is really important to sustain and develop the future industry, and crucially to open out its employment base.”‘

Read more comments from universities and trade on the stance here.

Scottish Government ‘will approach Amazon about paying workers living wage’

It was recently announced that Amazon will create 2,500 jobs in the UK in 2016 but their working conditions have been brought into discussion again.

‘The Scottish Government will ask Amazon to pay more workers a living wage amid claims it is “an exceptionally horrible place” to work.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said he has been contacted by workers at the online retailer’s warehouse in Fife complaining about conditions.

Amazon also told him it pays workers 65p-per-hour less than the Scottish living wage, Mr Rennie revealed at First Minister’s Questions.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she will dispatch Fair Work Secretary Roseanna Cunningham “to engage directly with Amazon … to get more people paid the living wage”.’

Read more about the Scottish government’s position here.

Pearson restructure to hit 500 UK jobs

‘Pearson is set to axe 500 jobs in the UK as part of its restructure this year.

The educational publisher announced it was set to slash 4,000 jobs – the equivalent of 10% of its workforce – in a bid to save costs. At the same time the company issued a profit warning.

Pearson said it has been forced to take “immediate and decisive action” following a “rigorous bottom-up review of Pearson’s markets” in a bid to get the company “growing again”.

It is too early to confirm which departments will be hit by the job losses, Pearson said, but staff at Penguin Random House will not be affected.’

Read more about the job cuts here.

Independent Booksellers Week 2016


It was announced last week that Independent Booksellers Week 2016 will be held on the 18th – 25th June.

Independent Bookshop Week is part of the Books Are My Bag campaign, and seeks to celebrate independent bookshops in the UK and Ireland.

Read more about the week here.

Textbook market ‘in turmoil’

‘Academic bookselling has “changed fundamentally”, with one bookseller questioning the “commercial future” of selling textbooks. In a column for The Bookseller following the closure of his independent academic bookshop in Plymouth after 42 years, Ron Johns argues the structure of the academic book trade is “about to fall apart” and that traditional print textbooks have become “obsolete”.

Among the reasons he cites to support his claims are: direct selling by academic publishers to universities; digital, course-specific textbooks and online platforms; low margins (of 30%) offered by publishers to bookshops; and the “extraordinary price increases” of the past five years. The last is due, in part, to the US Supreme Court’s 2013 Kirtsaeng ruling, which resulted in publishers implementing global price hikes. Johns says the pricing led to a “breakdown in trust” between teaching staff, booksellers and publishers.’

Read more about the textbook market problems here.

Pan Mac launches pocket-sized classics imprint

‘Pan Macmillan has launched a new hardback classics imprint: Macmillan Collector’s Library.

Pan Macmillan will launch Macmillan Collector’s Library with 26  titles in July, and will publish around 100 titles in the first six months after launch.

The launch follows the company’s acquisition in March last year of independent publisher The Collector’s Library, known for its high-quality pocket hardcover classics. The three founders of Collector’s Library – Marcus Clapham, Clive Reynard and Ken Webb – worked with Pan Macmillan to “support a smooth transition of the business to its new owners”, before retiring from the business.

The Collector’s Library has a “loyal” national and international consumer base for Macmillan’s list to develop and it will initially draw on much of its portfolio. The new imprint will retain the pocket size hardback format and “high production values” of the original books, including gilt edges, top and tail bands, section sewn cloth binding and ribbon markers, and will be launched with a completely new case and dust jacket design. The average retail price will be a “giftable” £9.99.’

Read more about the classics here.

SBT New Writers Award Showcase

The Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award showcase will take place this Thursday.

Don’t forget!

Our How to Get Published event is this Wednesday at the Augustine United Church in Edinburgh at 5:30pm, for a 6pm start. Panelists include Jenny Brown, Helen McClory and Jamie Crawford. Full event info on Facebook and tickets HERE. (SYP Members: Free, Non-members: £5)


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