Edwin Buckhalter, whose UK-based Severn House Publishers turned 40 this year, forged his library connection long before he had any idea of publishing primarily for the library market. His father was a bookseller, and their South London shop housed a “mini-library division” that supplied books to libraries.
PubCrawl, from Francine Fialkoff
Former LJ Editor-in-Chief Francine Fialkoff on what librarians need to know about the world of publishing.
For an industry pronounced dead repeatedly for at least a decade or more, traditional publishing—and its digital-first counterparts, which might not be so different after all—belied the grim reapers, with innumerable launches and new models that indicated it was alive and well in 2013. Since its inception in July, this column chronicled some of that growth. October and November brought a handful of announcements, including one aimed squarely at public libraries: Skyhorse Publishing’s Carrel Books, set to release its initial list of 20 to 30 titles in both print and ebook in fall 2014.
According to a new analysis released in October by ProQuest affiliate Bowker, the ISBN agency, self-publishing continued its growth spurt, up 59 percent in 2012 over 2011, from 246,912 titles to 391,768. The gains were even more startling over the longer period for which Bowker collected data: a 422 percent rise since 2007.
Ebook distribution to libraries took another leap forward on October 17 when Baker & Taylor, OverDrive, 3M, and RBDigital (Recorded Books) told their customers that Macmillan’s entire ebook backlist, 11,000 titles from lead imprints St. Martin’s, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Henry Holt, Macmillan Children’s, and Tor, would now be available to their patrons.
The recent infusion of $11 million into Open Road Integrated Media by private equity firm NewSpring Capital and others should come as no surprise to those librarians familiar with company CEO Jane Friedman. In only a few years, the former HarperCollins CEO and her team took the digital publishing and multimedia marketing company from distributing a handful of pre-1994 titles by major 20th-century authors like William Styron to over 4,000 titles from 500 authors.
Just after Labor Day, Amazon announced the October debut of Kindle MatchBook. “For thousands of qualifying books,” purchased new in print going back to 1995, said the company website, customers can get “the Kindle edition for $2.99, $1.99, $0.99, or free.” Publishers and authors can opt in to the program, but currently only a tiny fraction of Amazon titles are available.
My favorite comment on the merger of Penguin and Random House was in an Op Ed in the New York Times. “[M]aybe Random Penguin, as a few wags have suggested, would have been a more apt name.” (The name was widely tweeted and depicted as well.) I can see the image in my own mind, an even more eccentric-looking penguin than Penguin’s own, looking around with a slightly drunken gaze. It is so much more satisfying than the temporary logo.
Audio publishers are moving way beyond their core audience to capture sales to both libraries and consumers. In June, Random House Audio Group launched an online/radio/print ad campaign that reinforces what librarians already know: you don’t have to be a commuter or road-tripper to listen. Working out? Knitting? Ironing? The campaign website, TryAudiobooks.com, even features a “personal audiobook assistant” that can match how long your project will take to titles of similar length. The ad campaign caught the attention of the New York Times.
Westerns may represent only a tiny piece of the larger genre pie, but the staying power of Five Star Publishing, a Gale/Cengage Learning company whose primary audience is libraries, indicates a small but dedicated audience still exists. This July, Five Star launched a new line, Frontier Fiction, which will publish 12 titles a year. “Frontier […]