Publishing Round-Up: 8th February 2016.

Amazon Rumored to Be Opening 400 Bookstores

‘Is Amazon preparing to open hundreds of bricks and mortar bookstores? This is the question swirling in the media after a comment made by the head of a mall operator during a conference call on Tuesday.

While discussing the fourth quarter results of General Growth Properties, CEO Sandy Mathrani said it is his understanding that Amazon has plans to open between 300 and 400 physical bookstores. The comment has now sparked widespread speculation in the publishing industry about the etailer’s plans.

Mathrani’s statement came in response to a question about mall customer traffic, but Amazon itself has not responded to inquiries about the expansion. When asked whether Amazon does indeed intend to open up to 400 physical bookstores, an Amazon spokesperson said the company does not comment on “rumors and speculation.”‘

Read more on Publishers Weekly.


Waterstones turns a page as sales rise

‘Waterstones, Britain’s largest bookshop chain, is on the path to recovery with its first rise in sales under new ownership.

The company, which was sold by HMV to Russian businessman Alexander Mamut in 2011, said it had invested a further £8.3m into improving its shop environment and infrastructure. This is on top of the £50m Mr Mamut’s Cyprus-based Lynwood Investments vehicle has pumped in over the past two years.

This investment, along with an improved range of books, resulted in a sales lift of 1pc to £392.4m in the year ending April 27, 2015. By comparison, sales fell 6pc the previous year to £390m.’

Read more here.


Communities rally together in support of National Libraries Day

‘Libraries across the country hosted a range of events to encourage their communities to show “solidarity and support” in celebration of “our fantastic, vibrant libraries” to mark National Libraries Day (Saturday 6th February).

Last year, 265m visits were made to public libraries and National Libraries Day intends to celebrate and promote this “vitally important public service”, which is currently under threat of nation wide closures, organisers have said.’

Read more about National Libraries Day here.

Crime fiction steals top slots in UK library loans

‘New figures show that nine out of the 10 most borrowed books last year were thrillers, with Lee Child’s latest Jack Reacher title grabbing top slot and James Patterson the most-borrowed overall.’
See the most borrowed 15 below.
Title Contributor Year
1 Personal Lee Child 2014
2 Never Go Back (Jack Reacher 18) Lee Child 2013
3 Abattoir Blues: The 22nd DCI Banks mystery Peter Robinson 2014
4 The Silkworm Robert Galbraith 2014
5 Invisible James Patterson 2014
6 Unlucky 13 (Women’s Murder Club 13) James Patterson 2014
7 Gone Girl Gillian Flynn 2013
8 Want You Dead by Peter James 2014
9 Be Careful What You Wish For Jeffrey Archer 2014
10 Diary of a Wimpy Kid Jeff Kinney 2008
11 Saints of the Shadow Bible Ian Rankin 2013
12 Time To Say Goodbye Katie Flynn 2014
13 The Bones Beneath by Mark Billingham 2014
14 The One Plus One Jojo Moyes 2014
15 The Teashop on the Corner Milly Johnson 2014
Read more about the chart on The Guardian.


Google launches e-book ‘experiment’

‘Google has launched a new digital-only bookstore “for books that cannot be printed”.

The “experiment” into digital books, called Editions at Play, was created by London-based publisher Visual Editions and Google’s Creative Lab in Sydney and features books Visual Editions has commissioned, including a book set in Google street view.

The idea behind Editions at Play is “not to challenge conventional publishing” but to “open some doors”, according to its creators. It was born out of a “response” to the evolving digital publishing landscape, including e-books, enhanced e-books and online PDFs. The initiative’s goal is to “allow writers to create books that cannot be printed” and, said Google, “fit better with 21st century sensibilities”.’

Read more about the experiment here.

Faber launches permissions service website

‘Faber has launched a new website to provide permissions services for organisations seeking to license Faber copyrights and authors.

The Faber Permissions website will offer users the opportunity for a “fully automated experience” for a variety of permission options. The site will take payments and generate licences and fees, as well as offer a fast-track option for last-minute or urgent requests.

The website will also automatically redirect users to alternative rights holders at the very start of the permissions process.’

Read more about the service here.

Ebook sales falling for the first time, finds new report

‘Ebook sales for the UK’s five biggest publishers fell in 2015, according to a new report in the Bookseller, collectively declining 2.4%, to 47.9m units. It is the first drop in numbers of books sold in this medium for the “big five” since the digital age began.

The Bookseller magazine says that each of the five biggest general trade publishers in the UK – Penguin Random House, Hachette, HarperCollins, Pan Macmillan and Simon & Schuster – saw their ebook sales fall in 2015. At Penguin Random House, the UK’s largest trade publisher, ebook totals slipped by 0.4% in 2015, down from 16.17m to 16.1m. At Hachette, they were down 1.1% to 14.5m, while at HarperCollins, when sales from Harlequin Mills & Boon are excluded (the company was acquired halfway through 2014), ebook sales were down 4.7%. The slip at Pan Macmillan was 7.7%, and at Simon & Schuster it was 0.3%.’

Read more here.

McDonald’s to give away children’s books with Happy Meals

‘From Tuesday 9 through Monday 15 February, its stores in the US will change the plastic toys – or variations thereof – that usually accompany its kids’ menus, known as Happy Meals, for books.

The four titles that will be distributed with the food, one at a time, will be Bruce Hale’s Clark the Shark Takes Heart; Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond’s Happy Valentine’s Day, Mouse! and Kimberly and James Dean’s Pete the Cat: Valentine’s Day Is Cool – and Michael Bond’s Paddington, the only non-Valentine’s Day themed book. They have been especially made to fit into the small Happy Meal boxes, and they will be available in Spanish in some restaurants.

This is the fourth year in which the fast-food company will have distributed books this way, in partnership with HarperCollins and Reading Is Fundamental (RIF), the US’s largest children’s literacy nonprofit organisation. The company claims that it will have distributed more than 50m books to children by the end of the year through sales and donations, according to Carol H Rasco, president and CEO of RIF, who wrote about the initiative on Medium. This is “enough to provide a book to every child in America under the age of 12”, she added.’

Read more about McDonald’s scheme here.

Gun discountBookshop’s prices shot down 10% for customers openly carrying guns

‘A bookshop in Texas is offering a 10% discount to customers who are legally “open carrying” a handgun while shopping for new reading material.

Brave New Books, which says it stocks a mix of “conspiracy, economic policy, history, and politics” books, as well as “selections about sustainability, survival [and] preparedness”, made the announcement in late January. It follows the loosening of gun restrictions in Texas at the start of the year, allowing the visible carrying of handguns.

“Brave New Books is the only open carry friendly bookstore in Austin TX and now we have a special promotion where we are offering 10% off all purchases when legally open carrying a handgun. Be sure to recognise the four firearms rules while at Brave,” wrote the store on Facebook.’

Read more about the discount here.



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