Publishing Round-Up: 28th March 2016.

Arcadia founder Gary Pulsifer dies after cancer battle

‘Publisher Gary Pulsifer, who founded Arcadia Books, has died after a battle with cancer.

A statement released by his sister Barbara Pulsifer Plummer said it was with “great sadness” that they announced Pulsifer had passed away 25th March.

Pulsifer founded Arcadia in 1996, and had worked in publishing the UK and the US. He lived at the Book Trade Charity’s The Retreat in Kings Langley, Hertfordshire for a number of years. His family said Pulsifer’s “love of gardening had the long neglected gardens at The Retreat blooming anew, much to the delight of other residents”. He was cared for in his final days at The Hospice of St Francis in Berkhamsted.’

Read more about Pulsifer’s influence here.



Walter Scott Prize shortlist revealed

‘The Walter Scott Prize, worth £25,000 to the winner, has named Boyd’s Sweet Caress (Bloomsbury) on its six-strong shortlist, along with A Place Called Winter by Patrick Gale (Tinder Press) and Mrs Engels by Gavin McCrea (Scribe UK). End Games in Bordeaux by Allan Massie (Quartet), Tightrope by Simon Mawer (Little, Brown) and Salt Creek by Lucy Treloar (Picador Australia) complete the shortlist.

The newly-announced Scottish Makar Jackie Kay is among the “refreshed” line up of judges for the prize for historical fiction, along with the BBC’s special correspondent James Naughtie. They join Elizabeth Buccleuch, Elizabeth Laird, Kirsty Wark, and chair Alistair Moffat to complete the judging panel.’

Read more about the prize here.


Self-published titles ‘22% of UK e-book market’

‘Sales of self-published e-books accounted for 22% of the digital book market in the UK last year, the Nielsen BookInsights Conference today (23rd March) was told, although growth in overall e-book sales is continuing to slow. By contrast sales of audiobooks continued to rise strongly – up by more than a quarter in 2015.

Steve Bohme, research director at Nielsen Book UK, said self-published titles rose from 16% of the e-book market by volume in 2014 to over a fifth of the market (22%) in 2015.

At the same time he said e-book sales grew by 5% in volume in 2015 – a lower growth rate than in 2013 and 2014, leading to the e-book share of books only rising marginally last year by 1% to 27% of the market from 26% in 2014.’

Read more about the stats here.

Everyman Wodehouse Prize shortlist for ‘funniest novel’ revealed

‘Titles from Penguin Random House, Oneworld, Bloomsbury and Transworld are in contention for the 2016 Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize which honours the funniest novel of the year.

Former prize winner Marina Lewycka makes the shortlist for her novel The Lubetkin Legacy (Fig Tree, PRH), along with two former shortlistees – Paul Murray who is shortlisted for The Mark and the Void (Hamish Hamilton, Penguin) and twice-shortlisted John O’Farrell, There’s Only Two David Beckhams (Black Swan, Transworld).

Joining them on the shortlist are The Sellout, a “galvanizing satire” by Paul Beatty (Oneworld) which has recently won the National Book Critics Circle’s Award for Fiction in the US, and Improbablity of Love (Bloomsbury) by Hannah Rothschild which features “tales of art world intrigue”.’

Read more about the prize here.


PRH records revenue and profit jump

‘Penguin Random House global revenues rose 11.8% in 2015 to €3.7bn (up from €3.3bn the previous year), with operating EBITDA rising by 23.2% to €557m (€452m in previous year).

Parent company Bertelsmann said that, besides positive exchange range effects, this was attributable to savings from the largely completed integration of Penguin and Random House, and its strong bestseller lineup. The EBITDA margin was 15% (up from 13.6% the previous year).

The PRH results were announced as part of Bertelsmann’s results as a whole; Bertelsmann saw 2.8% growth in 2015 revenues from continuing operations to €17.1bn (up from €16.7bn the previous year), the highest level since 2007.  The company said its strategic transformation was “paying off”, with expansion of its education, media and financial services businesses, and digital growth in Gruner + Jahr and RTL Group having a positive effect, while structurally declining businesses were “further downscaled”.’

Read more about the report here.

PRH and Daily Mail launch £20k debut novel contest

‘Penguin Random House and the Daily Mail have launched a “major” competition which will offer new writing talent a publishing deal and a £20,000 advance.

Entrants are invited to submit the first 5,000 words of their novel along with a 600 word synopsis. The submissions can be from any adult genre though entrants must not have had a novel published before.

The winner will receive a £20,000 advance fee, a publishing contract with Cornerstone imprint Century, and the services of literary agent Luigi Bonomi.’

Read more about the prize here.


‘Oh, what a big gun you have’: NRA rewrites fairytales to include firearms

‘The US pro-gun lobby is entertaining its younger members with its own take on classic fairytales, but they have a unique twist: firearms.

The National Rifle Association’s website is featuring the pro-firearms stories. The latest Hansel and Gretel (Have Guns), written by Amelia Hamilton and posted last week, is accompanied by a picture of the titular siblings lost in the forest, as is traditional, but rather than being petrified of the story’s witch they’re supplied with rifles.

The story opens with their family bemoaning their lack of food and deviates from the classic text with the lines: “Fortunately, they had been taught how safely to use a gun and had been hunting with their parents most of their lives. They knew that, deep in the forest, there were areas that had never been hunted where they may be able to hunt for food. They knew how to keep themselves safe should they find themselves in trouble.”’

Read more about the changes here.


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