Publishing Round-Up: 29th February 2016.

Edinburgh hosts Scottish Book Conference

Edinburgh was host to the annual Scottish Book Conference from Publishing Scotland and the Booksellers Association.

Keynote speaker was Profile’s MD Andrew Franklin who explored the industry’s strengths (bookshops -‘communities are built around bookshops’) and weaknesses (readership – ‘our most serious weak spot is our small readership base’). You can read his speech on Profile’s blog.

Steve Bohme’s annual Nielsen BookScan presentation returned, this year with a Star Wars theme, a trade question time panel covered all areas of publishing, SYP Scotland had their own panel dedicated to job seeking and there was much more.

The #scotbookconf hashtag was trending in Edinburgh throughout the day so here are some of the top tweets from the day. Check out the hashtag for all tweets about the conference.


The Saltire Society announces #scotlitfest

The Saltire Society announced on Wednesday 24th that they will be running Scotland’s first ever virtual festival celebrating Scottish literature.

#scotlitfest will run from Friday 24th – Sunday 26th June, 2016.

Read more about the festival here and follow it on Twitter and Facebook.


Five Scottish bookshops up for Indie Bookshop of the Year


Five Scottish bookshops have been shortlisted for the British Book Industry Awards’ Independent Bookshop of the Year.

Shortlisters are…
Atkinson-Pryce Books, Biggar
The Bookmark, Grantown-on-Spey
The Edinburgh Bookshop, Edinburgh
Far from the Madding Crowd, Linlithgow
Golden Hare Books, Edinburgh
‘In total, 34 indies will face off in seven regions for the 2016 gongs. Regional winners, to be announced on 4th March, will vie for the overall crown, to be given out at the BBIA gala awards ceremony in London on 9th May. Gardners will once again present the overall winner with a £5,000 prize to be put towards the running of their shop.’
Read more about the awards here.

Reed Elsevier revenue increases by 3%

‘Revenue at the RELX Group, formerly known as Reed Elsevier, increased 3% to almost £6bn last year, with net profit rising 6% to just over £1bn.

The group’s scientific arm increased its underlying revenue by 2%, and the legal and exhibition arms increased revenues by 1% and 5% respectively.

Chief executive Erik Engstrom said that trading in recent months was consistent with 2015 and added that he was confident that “we will deliver another year of underlying revenue, profit, and earnings growth in 2016”.’

Read more about the increase here.


Campaigners protest closure of London’s Feminist Library

‘Over 100 campaigners gathered on Wednesday (24th February) to protest the eviction of London’s Feminist Library from the building that has housed it for 30 years.

Following the news that Southwark Council is threatening to close down the Library unless it agrees to an immediate increase in its rent, the Library launched a petition that has garnered more than 14,000 signatures.

The petition asks the council to enter into negotiations to gradually increase the rent and to work with the Library to keep it open as a community space.’

Read more about the protests here.

Matt Haig withdraws from Dubai festival

‘Author Matt Haig has withdrawn from appearing at this year’s Emirates Airline Festival of Literature in Dubai following a campaign against the event, spearheaded by author Jonathan Emmett and blogger Zoe Toft.

“I do feel a bit guilty about letting the people I would have been reading to down, and I would have liked a bit of winter sun, but on balance the fact that the festival doesn’t just take place in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) but is sponsored by the government-owned airline, makes me very uncomfortable, when that government imprisons so many rape victims and pro-democracy supporters,” he said. “I don’t intend to make a habit of withdrawing from festivals and love travelling to international ones, but this is a special case I feel.”

He said he does want to visit the UAE but not “as part of an Emirates/government PR thing”.’

Read more about the festival here.

Author launches literary prize for ‘risk-taking’ indie publishers

‘Award-winning novelist Neil Griffiths is launching a new literary prize to celebrate “small presses producing brilliant and brave literary fiction” in the UK and Ireland – in part because he believes the publishing business model is “terrible”.

Griffiths said he wanted to use the prize to help support literary fiction and the kinds of publishers who are willing to take risks – unlike “bigger, richer publishers” whose commissioning strategy, according to Griffiths, is driven by “marketing advice and P&L sheets; very seldom on the imperishable nature of great writing”.

Griffiths has put up £2,000 of his own money into the prize and is hoping other writers will also be inspired to contribute to raise a total £10,000. The prize will be judged by independent booksellers with the prize money – amount yet to be confirmed – to be split between the author and press. A shortlist of five novels will be announced in December 2016, with the winners to be announced at an event in January 2017.’

Read more about the prize here.

The Diagram PrizeDiagram Prize: Oddest Book Titles of the Year battle it out

‘Academic texts on the human posterior and animal entrails, a tome on famous birdwatchers and a photography book showcasing the beautiful architecture of bus stops in the former Soviet Union are among the titles nominated for the 38th Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year, administered by The Bookseller.

The seven-strong shortlist celebrates the most peculiar titles published in the year, with the winner chosen via a public vote on The Bookseller‘s website.

Making up the shortlist are Reading the Liver: Papyrological Texts on Ancient Greek Extispicy (Mohr Siebeck), an academic study on sacrificial sheep by William Furley and Victor Gysembergh, nominated by Anna James; Too Naked for the Nazis (Fantom Films) by Alan Stafford, a biography of a musical hall troupe, submitted by the author himself; and Paper Folding with Children (Floris Books) by Alice Hornecke and translated by Anna Cardwell, a craft book that appears to assume children are extremely flexible, nominated by Sarah Lamb.’

Read more about the prize here.


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