Publishing Round-Up: 14th November 2016.

RLS Day returns

‘RLS Day was originally a small commemoration of the author’s birthday on 13 November, and is now a week-long programme of exciting events. From Monday 7 November, the ‘criminally good’ programme will kick off with many fab events coming over the course of the week.

As part of this year’s programme, there is a specially produced collection of Stevenson’s short stories including The Body-Snatcher, with thanks to the generous support of Edinburgh Napier University. But there is bad news! A number of the books have been Kidnapped! and will only appear once again in various places across Edinburgh from Monday to Friday. Keep an eye on #RLSDay to see where the books will appear!

The first clue will be revealed on Monday, with one each day until Friday.

See the full RLS Day programme on the City of Literature website.’

J K Rowling and Beatrix Potter shortlisted for 2016 Waterstones Book of the Year

‘J K Rowling and Beatrix Potter are among the six authors shortlisted for the Waterstones Book of the Year 2016, chosen by Waterstones booksellers. But Sarah Perry’s The Essex Serpent (Profile) was “overwhelmingly” the most nominated title by booksellers, the chain said.

Rowling was nominated for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Little, Brown), “the unexpected addition to the Harry Potter canon” and the only play or “scriptbook” to have ever made the shortlist. The Tale of Kitty-in-Boots (Warne) is described as “vintage Beatrix Potter”. Discovered by chance in the Victoria and Albert museum, Potter’s words are brought “magically to life” by Quentin Blake’s illustrations to create a “classically beautiful” book.

The only novel to make it on to the shortlist, Sarah Perry’s “utterly compulsive” The Essex Serpent (Profile) was “overwhelmingly” the most nominated title by the booksellers, and reviewers have “heaped praise” on the book.’

Read more about the award here.

‘Dismayed’ trade reacts to Donald Trump’s election

‘The book trade has reacted with “dismay”, “horror” and “frustration” to this morning’s shock news that Republican candidate Donald Trump has beaten Democrat Hillary Clinton to take the White House as US president elect.

Concerns from the UK trade have ranged from fears over an increase in uncertainty in the trading environment, to a rise of anti-intellectualism, to a rush to privatise public services in the country such as libraries.

But publishers have also issued a rallying cry to the trade keep on “connecting people across the divide” with books and not to “flinch in the face of temporary setbacks”.

Tim Hely Hutchinson, c.e.o of Hachette UK, told The Bookseller “the fight for kindness and tolerance” must continue.’

Read more about the reactions here.

EU e-lending ruling sparks book trade concerns

‘Publishers and booksellers associations have expressed concern over an e-lending ruling passed by the European Union which will see the lending of digital books in public libraries treated the same as physical books in “certain conditions”. But the ruling has been welcomed by librarians.

In a case brought to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) by the association of Dutch public libraries —Vereniging Openbare Bibliotheken (VOB)— the CJEU has ruled that digital books could be lent out by libraries in the same way as physical books, provided that authors are renumerated in the same way as they are when physical books are lent and the electronic book has been acquired legally.

The Federation of European Publishers (FEP) has said that the decision comes as a “shock” for the book publishing community as lending an e-book is “very different” from lending a printed book and “digital lending in fact means copying”.’

Read more about the ruling here.

Unbound looks global as it turns five

‘Crowdfunding publisher Unbound is to expand into the US next year. The press, which was founded in 2011 by writers Dan Kieran, John Mitchinson and Justin Pollard, is planning to hire US editors to source Stateside projects as part of its global expansion.

Speaking at a party held last week (3rd November) to celebrate the publisher’s fifth birthday, c.e.o. Kieran said: “When we launched, traditional publishers were unanimous about one thing: whatever the future of publishing was, it definitely wasn’t Unbound. This helped us hugely in the early days. We were largely ignored, which gave us the time and space we needed to learn, evolve and try to get our heads around what we were doing and what, ultimately, the company was for. We did learn. We put pressure on ourselves to improve, iterate, and…it’s working. With our sights now set on the US, we are going to have to start being a little less British and walk with more of a swagger, because the truth is, we’re on fire.”’

Read more about Unbound here.

Morpurgo wins J M Barrie Award

‘Michael Morpurgo will today (10th November) be presented with this year’s J M Barrie Award for his contribution to children’s literature.

The award is given every year by Action for Children’s Arts to a “children’s arts practitioner” whose lifetime’s work has delighted children and will stand the test of time.

David Wood, chair of Action for Children’s Arts, said Morpurgo is “one of our greatest storytellers”.

“Michael Morpurgo has thrilled and delighted huge numbers of young readers since becoming a children’s author in the early 1970s,” Wood said. “Action for Children’s Arts is delighted to recognise Michael’s outstanding contribution by presenting him with the J M Barrie Award 2016. His work will undoubtedly, like Peter Pan, stand the test of time, making him a truly worthy recipient of this award.”‘

Read more about Morpurgo here.

Harry Potter helps Hachette UK to 30% third quarter sales rise

‘The release of the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child playscript, published by Little, Brown, has helped Hachette UK to grow its sales by 30.1% in the third quarter, according to results issued by its parent company Lagardere. The release of the “eighth story” on 31st July to coincide with the showing of the play also helped Hachette UK achieve a sales rise of 8.3% for the nine months up to 30th September 2016.

The UK growth was attributed “partly” to the success of the playscript – which to date has sold 1,319,355 copies for £14.37m according to nielsen BookScan- and “partly” to the “solid performance” of its Education unit, especially at the secondary school level.

Tim Hely Hutchinson, c.e.o of Hachette UK, said: “Hachette UK had an exceptionally strong third quarter, driven largely by J K Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Cursed Child published on 31st July, with record-breaking sales through the quarter, resulting in our significant year-to-date growth and corresponding rise in market share.’

Read more about the rise here.

HarperCollins revenues fall $20m in first quarter

‘Revenues at HarperCollins have fallen by $20m (£16.10m) to $389m (£313m) for the first fiscal quarter of 2017, although this decline was partially offset by “the continued expansion of HarperCollins’ global footprint”, the publisher’s parent company News Corp has reported.

News Corp has filed its results for the first quarter to 30th September 2016, revealing that revenues have decreased 5% from $409m (£329.2m) to $389m (£313m) compared with the same period a year earlier, primarily due to the absence of revenues from Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee, which is published in the US by HarperCollins (and by William Heinemann in the UK).

Meanwhile, EBITDA for the company was up 14% on the same period last year to $48m (£38.62m), due to “the mix of titles” including The Black Widow by Daniel Silva, Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance and Jesus Always by Sarah Young.

Digital sales represented 20% of consumer revenues for the quarter.’

Read more about the fall here.


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