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It’s Not Just Digital
Eric Huang - Penguin LONDON: It’s not about digital or physical anymore, believes Erich Huang, New Business and IP Acquisitions Director at Penguin Children’s UK: it’s about brand. “I think a year ago if we were having this conversation it would have just been digital, digital, digital. ‘When does it make sense to be digital or physical?’ ‘Is it digital instead of physical? Or vice versa?’” says the 41-year-old who is coming up to eight months in his current role, having previously been Publishing Director of Penguin Children’s Media and Entertainment group. “But now the question isn’t about digital or physical, it’s about brand — and when you think about the way to launch a brand, physical or digital are simply two ways. It’s not about either/or now — it’s actually about ‘all’.”
By Roger Tagholm
E- Book Truth
The data shows that the e-book market for traditionally published digital books is much bigger than previously thought, with estimates suggesting that a total number of 65 million e-books were sold in 2012, representing a value of about £200m - at least double what it was in 2011 (in volume terms more than double). That would mean the overall book market grew in 2012, despite spending on print books falling £74m.
The London Book Fair
Thinking Fast and Slow by Nobel-prize winning economist Daniel Kahneman and Hilary Mantel's Bring up the Bodies were among Foyles' Christmas bestsellers as internet sales helped counter a drop in trade at its high street stores in December. The independent bookseller said sales at its five shops – including the flagship on London's Charing Cross Road – were down 3.7% in the 24 days to Christmas Eve, but the inclusion of website orders meant an overall fall of only 2%. Chief executive Sam Husain said this was "a satisfactory outcome" given the economic backdrop. "We expect 2013 to be equally challenging but are convinced there will be continuing demand for bookshops whose engaged, knowledgeable booksellers are eager to share their passion for books with readers," he said.
Wodehouse Revival - It was Karl Marx who said history repeats itself first as tragedy, then as farce. Could the same be true of primetime period drama ? The cult hit Downton Abbey has taken a battering, following poor reviews of the programme's Christmas Day special in which heartthrob Matthew Crawley met a grim end in a car crash. But as the impeccably mannered stars of Downton begin to lose their allure, those in search of an aristocratic fix may find themselves turning to the comic and oversized figure of Lord Emsworth, one of the greatest humorous creations of novelist PG Wodehouse
A six-part BBC run of Blandings, based on Wodehouse's much-loved accounts of the fictional life and times of Blanding Castle's 9th earl, is designed to introduce a new family audience to his work. Set in 1929, with a starry cast, Blandings will follow the fortunes of the amiable, befuddled Emsworth, played by Timothy Spall, and his beloved pig, Empress.
Authors and publishers have hailed the boost in sales as proof there is still room in the crowded market, where the growing popularity of digital ereaders like the Kindle and tablet computers like the iPad have eaten into book sales.
It comes after digital fiction sales almost trippled during the first half of 2012 while physical books fell away. Similarly children's books and non-fiction digital titles enjoyed a massive increase in sales.
Commenting on his Book of the Year win, Ryan said: "As a newcomer, I am shocked but thrilled to win this award. With such a high calibre of authors in this category, I am truly honoured to be amongst them. A sincere thank you to all who voted."
Bert Wright, Administrator of the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards, said: "The Spinning Heart is the sort of debut that must hearten all who care about the Irish literary tradition. To discover a writer of such skill and assurance in a first book is truly extraordinary.
Still Not Black & White - In August 2012, Barnes & Noble retail CEO Mitchell Klipper told analysts that Fifty Shades “had the biggest impact on its numbers,” meaning the erotic romance had helped reduce B&N’s losses. That hinted that once again, erotica might help save the industry. But when B&N released its most recent numbers in late November 2012, Klipper made no mention of Fifty Shades of Grey. Has the erotica trend already flamed out?
Not at Penguin. Thanks to Fifty Shades of Grey, Anne Rice’s Sleeping Beauty series of erotic novels experienced an upswing in sales, which motivated Plume/Penguin to repackage and reissue the bondage, domination, sadomasochism (BDSM) trilogy last August. “They approached Target and Walmart, and were pleased by a good reception, and so the books went out with a big push,” Rice said, resulting in the decades-old series hitting the New York Times bestseller list for the first time. “And sales have been brisk ever since. Right now the boxed set is on sale at Target.”
Celebs Christmas For the third and possibly last time, I volunteered to read eight such books in their entirety and pitch them against each other in the manner of a sporting tournament, so as to decide which one you might reach for if you have one of those friends or relatives who you have to buy for, but don't actually like. So, we begin with two books that have so far sold around 40,000 and 150,000 respectively …
No messing about here. Those crafty minds at Penguin (Walliams) and HarperCollins (Cole) well know where their newest authors sit in the minds of the public. So, on the cover of hers, Cheryl manages to look virtuously princess-like but plainly wronged – while in naming his memoir after the US presidential retreat near Thurmont, Maryland, Walliams has managed two clever tricks: 1) Sending the origins of his title several thousand feet over at least some of his audience, but 2) making the most important point in a mere nine letters.
He's camp, see, but despite a few incidents in his childhood, not gay. So not gay, in fact, that he has quietly managed to be a freelance sexual jackhammer who has bagged off with a few female celebrities, including troubled erstwhile TV funnywoman Caroline Aherne and equally troubled TV not-funnywoman Patsy Kensit.
But anyway. Cole's 293 pages boil down to her passage from cash-strapped Newcastle grimness to her brief and wobbly place at the top of the world. At first, she is a geordie no-hoper whose tastes and habits do not suggest anything hugely sophisticated, as proved by what happened when her nephew was born: "'I want Tweety Pie on me bum with 'Warren' underneath,' I told Tony as I lay face down on the couch in his tattoo parlour." But then, despite the glaring absence of any material about formative musical discoveries and the like, she wins her place in Girls Aloud, and becomes a rich and successful woman, "living me dream" with her tastes and habits refreshingly unchanged
Philip Pullman - The award-winning writer of the fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials - criticised teachers for the “painful” way they tore stories apart to try to reveal what they “really mean”.The result is pupils who end up hating the books, he said. Instead of being drilled and quizzed about them, children should be given time to enjoy the stories.
If one gets asked about the state of the public library service in the UK, one should really answer "which one?". For a start, a national study in an Arts Council England report (due out in January) estimates more than 170 are volunteer run. My own figures, at more than 168, are almost identical. That's 5% of all the libraries in England, with a third of the total being accounted for just in the last two years. Of course, those volunteer-run libraries are to some extent the lucky ones as a whole raft of them have already closed.
The legendary Foyles bookshop and the Bookseller are inviting customers and industry representatives to contribute to the design of a new flagship Foyles store on Charing Cross Road in London that will be "the bookshop of the future." The offer was made during the Bookseller's Future Book conference today.
Interested people may apply to take part in a half-day workshop with architects Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands, who are working on the flagship store's new building at 107-109 Charing Cross Road. The store will move from its current location at 113-119 Charing Cross Road in spring 2014; the new site will have 40,000 square feet of space on three floors.
Some 30 people will be selected for the workshop, which will take place in February and be the "last stage of planning before the design brief is fixed." The participants will be asked to consider issues such as "declining physical book sales, the place of e-books, the cultural importance of bookshops and author events, the specialist knowledge of booksellers, and how bookshops can provide customers with a place to buy books, however they decide to read them."
The company, the largest conventional bookseller, has invested heavily in its Nook e-business as consumers increasingly shop online and read e-books. Barnes & Noble said revenue from its Nook business grew, but revenue from devices fell because of lower average selling prices. Digital content revenue grew 38 percent, but that was down from a 46 percent increase in the fiscal first quarter.
This evening’s session with Philip Downer will focus on the future of traditional high street bookshops and what they should be doing to compete with online retail competitors and ebook downloads. He will also discuss the broader retail environment and give an insight into why Borders’ UK operation closed.
Phil spent 30 years in retailing – as CEO of Borders UK, and before that at Waterstone’s, WH Smith and Our Price Records. He has worked extensively in the UK and the US, and is now dividing his time between consultancy work and writing/speaking.
Along with Fifty Shades of Grey and its sequels, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed, Sylvia Day’s Reflected in You is topping the erotic fiction charts and sold 100,000 copies in its first week.
Sarah Hall and Jean Sprackland have been named the 2012 winners of the north's leading book award, the Portico Prize for Literature at a Gala Dinner in Manchester Town Hall. The Portico Prize for Literature is awarded biennially to two works – one fiction and one non- fiction – that are based wholly, or largely in the north of England. Hall's, The Beautiful Indifference (Faber & Faber 2011, £12.99) won the fiction prize and Sprackland's Strands: A Year of Discoveries on the Beach (Jonathan Cape 2012, £16.99) was victorious in the non-fiction category. Each received a cheque for £10,000.