Publishing Round-Up: 7th November 2016.

Writers and publishers on The List’s Hot 100 of 2016

The Hot 100 is The List’s annual celebration of the figures who’ve contributed most to the cultural landscape in Scotland during the year. This year’s list (published on 2 November) is as wide-ranging as ever encompassing one-off events, chefs, musicians, dancers, playwrights, publishers and quite a few writers.

The list included:

  • writers Graeme Macrae Burnet at 3 and Chitra Ramaswamy at 61 (published by Saraband)
  • writer Amy Liptrot at 7 and actor and writer Alan Cumming at 18 (published by Canongate Books)
  • poet and activist Harry Giles at 6 and publisher Freight Books at 28
  • Scotlitfest (the Saltire Society, Laura Jones and Heather McDaid) at 91 and
  • writer (and former publisher) Helen Sedgwick at 95.

Some other literary names on the list include:

  • Jackie Kay (writer and poet) (5)
  • Glasgow Women’s Library (11)
  • David Greig (Artistic Director of the Royal Lyceum Theatre) (13)
  • Neu! Reekie! (events) (15)
  • Jenny Lindsay and Rachel McCrum (formerly Rally & Broad) (16)
  • Bloody Scotland (Crime Writing Festival) (27)
  • Dundee Rep Theatre (30)
  • Dominic Hall (theatre director) (47)
  • Dundee Literary Festival (49)
  • Glasgow Comic Con (52)
  • Freak Circus (magazine) (83)
  • Oor Wullie Bucket Trail (85)
  • Neil Slorance (illustrator and comic artist) (90)
  • Sumayya Usmani (foodwriter, author and cookery teacher) (96)
  • Chris Brookmyre (writer) (97)
  • JK Rowling (writer) (100)’

Read more about the list here.



Digital sales down 19%, but print strong for trade publishers in first half

‘Trade publishers’ digital revenues have fallen by 19% in the first six months of the year, but print sales are holding strong, new figures from the Publishers Association (PA) have revealed.

Sales data provided to the PA by UK publishing houses across trade, education and academic sectors show that print sales increased by 1% in the first six months of the year (January-June 2016) to £898m in comparison to the same period a year earlier, driven in particular by a 6% growth of trade books.

However, digital sales have declined 7% year-on-year across the board to £182m, driven by a marked decline in digital revenue for trade publishers, which was down by a steep 19%. Digital revenues for education and English Language Teaching publishers by contrast were strong, up 32%, whilst academic/professional digital revenues were also up, by 9%.

Overall, book sales when combining physical and digital, have remained the same.’

Read more about the figures here.



Springsteen helps S&S to 11% rise in third quarter sales

‘Books by Bruce Springsteen and Amy Schumer have helped Simon & Schuster to an 11% year-on-year increase in its third quarter revenue to $226m (£181m).

Both digital and print sales have lead to the increase, S&S’s parent company CBS has reported, including singer Bruce Springsteen’s memoir Born To Run and comedian Schumer’s The Girl WithThe Lower Back Tattoo.

Altogether digital revenues represented 23% of S&S’s total revenues for the third quarter.

Despite the 11% hike in sales, operating profit for the publisher increased by just  $1m to $44m (£35.26m) for the third quarter, “as the increase in revenues was largely offset by higher production and selling costs,” the company said.’

Read more about the figures here.



The Girl on the Train buys its ticket for a 12th week in the top spot

The Girl on the Train (Black Swan) has puffed into the Official UK Top 50 number one spot for a 12th non-consecutive week. It sold 25,041 copies for £120,353—and is still yet to shift fewer than 20,000 copies per week, since its release in May.

However, could the runaway success finally be starting to slow down? Its film tie-in, which has held second place for three straight weeks, was knocked down to third by Peter James’ Love You Dead (Pan)—which was only 1,783 copies off the number one paperback’s total. With children’s behemoths Jeff Kinney, David Walliams and J K Rowling lurking amongst November’s new releases, The Girl on the Train may soon be shunted into the sidings.’

Read more about the charts here.



Waterstones launches new refugee campaign after ‘escalation’ of crisis

‘Waterstones has pledged to raise more money for Oxfam after an “escalation” in the humanitarian refugee crisis in Europe stemming from war-torn Syria.

Last year the retailer raised £1m through its “Buy Books For Syria” campaign after publishers donated titles from big-name authors with 100% of the retail price going to Oxfam. It followed a social media campaign lead by Patrick Ness in which authors and publishers helped to raise over £600,000 for Save the Children’s refugee appeal by pledging to match donations from members of the public.

Waterstones is continuing to fundraise for the cause, this time donating £5 for every copy sold of its November Non-Fiction Book of the Month – The Optician of Lampedusa by Emma Jane Kirby, published by Allen Lane.’

Read more about the campaign here.


Authors join national protest against library closures

‘Authors will join hundreds of protesters in the first national demonstration to protect library services held in London on Saturday, in response to a string of closures over the past five years.

The children’s laureate, Chris Riddell, and the former children’s laureate Michael Rosen as well as the shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, and an estimated 1,800 protesters from across the country will march from the British Library to Trafalgar Square.

Riddell, the author of the Goth Girl series, said the threat to libraries amounted to a “tragedy for the literary culture of our country”. He added: “Libraries are cultural hubs that, if nurtured by government, have the ability to transform lives. We must all raise our voices to defend them.”’

Read more about the protests here.


Kazuo IshiguroPublishing seeks to address industry’s lack of diversity

‘The publishing industry needs to improve the diversity of its staff and open itself up to writers of all backgrounds if it is to increase the range of its output, publishers have told The Bookseller.

Statistics, partly compiled by The Bookseller, show that of the thousands of titles published in 2016 in the UK, only a small minority—fewer than 100—were by British authors of a non-white background. But publishers have argued there is now a serious commitment to widening that representation, with one suggesting the industry was in “the process of a very dramatic transition”.

The Bookseller this week publishes a range of first-person accounts written by senior publishing executives from diverse backgrounds, in the first such initiative to focus on the “rich line of brilliant BAME publishers”, in the words of HarperCollins non-fiction publisher Natalie Jerome, who suggested the feature. The essays—by people such as Batsford publishing director Tina Persaud, Tamarind founder Verna Wilkins, and HarperCollins general counsel Simon Dowson-Collins—reveal the realities of working in a predominantly white environment, and the disappointment of not being able to materially increase the output from British black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) authors.’

Read more about how publishing is attempting to improve diversity here.


brexitBrexit named word of the year, ahead of Trumpism and hygge

‘“Brexit” has emerged ahead of “Trumpism” and “hygge” to be named the word of the year by Collins after seeing an “unprecedented surge” in use.

The dictionary publisher said that Brexit saw its first recorded usage in 2013, but has since increased in use by more than 3,400% this year as the referendum approached in June, and as the ramifications have played out since. Such an increase, said Collins, is “unheard of” since it began monitoring word usage.

“‘Brexit’ is arguably politics’s most important contribution to the English language in over 40 years, since the Watergate scandal gave commentators and comedians the suffix ‘-gate’ to make any incident or scandal infinitely more compelling,” said Helen Newstead, Collins’s head of language content.’

Read more about the word of the year here.

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