Children are reading in record numbers in the last decade, which has propelled billion dollar properties such as Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Twilight, Hunger Games, Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Not only have these titles done staggering well but it has promoted the success of books with similar subjects and themes and are benefiting from each other’s successes. Over the course of the last two years John Green and Veronica Roth are the highest-selling authors; juvenile fiction is performing so amazingly that 17 of the 20 overall bestsellers in the US during 2014 were books for children.
There has been massive upheaval in the e-reader industry over the course of 2014. Sony abandoned making e-readers for consumers and closed their longstanding digital bookstore. Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Kobo all released brand new devices in the United States and most incorporated brand new technology. Over in Europe, things have been getting more progressive with prices coming down and more features that appeal to the serious book reader. Today, we look at the most notable products, technologies and stories from 2014.
From ebooks to textbooks, rights sales to mergers, the Latin American publishing industry has seen plenty of change recently. New opportunities for international and local players are emerging, while companies are also looking to address challenges of distribution and access.
From China to India, Indonesia to Taiwan, international publishers are keeping a close eye on books, readers and new digital developments in Asia and South Asia. This region includes vastly diverse publishing markets, each with their own set of opportunities and challenges.
As I near completion of the second edition of The Metadata Handbook, which is due to be published next month, I find myself looking back over the two years since its initial publication and looking forward to exciting developments that will expand the ways in which metadata can be leveraged to support books and publishing.
e-Books were not the format of choice during the summer months, as they only accounted for 21% of all industry sales. The vast majority of readers instead embraced paperback and hardcovers. Paperbacks accounted for 43% of all units sold and hardcover purchases remained fairly steady at 25%. This statistics basically prove that digital still has a way to go before it ever over takes print, and readers would rather wait for the paperback version comes out, instead of paying extra money for the hardcover.
In 2015, the Frankfurt Book Fair will stage the World Cookbook Fair, which promises to, according to the Frankfurt Book Fair, "bring the very best publishers and authors of the culinary sector." The World Cookbook Fair will be housed in the Gourmet Gallery, and will include, in addition to presentations an exhibitions, a show kitchen. The Frankfurt Book Fair 2015 will be held from October 14 to 18.
The Guadalajara International Book Fair (FIL) continues to grow in size. The fair ran from November 28 to December 6 this year, and attracted more than 20,000 industry professionals and 767,200 consumers; the latter marked a 2% increase over 2013. The attendees hailed from 44 countries. The traditional centerpiece of the world’s largest Spanish-language book fair is the children’s area, which this year was visited by more than 160,000 children, and which housed more than 35 events by publishers from Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Germany, India, Italy, and elsewhere.
European libraries have been experimenting with the concept of digital in libraries. The United Kingdom has had the most success, and other countries are starting to make moves to offer similar services. France has just approved a new mandate to implement a digital lending platform, which means in the new future you will be able to borrow audiobooks, eBooks and digital newspapers.
Macmillan CEO John Sargent has just revealed in a public letter posted on Tor.com that Macmillan has signed a deal with its biggest ebook customer and will soon be dabbling in the subscription ebook market.
Indie science fiction author and business book writer Rick Chapman has unleashed a long diatribe against Amazon’s pricing model for Kindle Direct Publishing, which does make some valid points – although they’re buried among a screed against Amazon’s defenders (who he charmingly refers to as the Aggregated Amazon Ankle Grabbers, or AAAGs), and also somewhat obscured when he lets the invective get in the way of clear presentation of his argument. Which basically, stripped of all the name-calling and rhetoric, is this: Kindle Direct Publishing’s pricing policy of taking 65 percent of authors’ and small publishers’ revenues when they price their ebooks under $2.99 or over $9.99 is distorting the market and is an attempt at price manipulation, when in fact there should be no such pricing structure at all.
The digital market isn’t just rewriting the retail and marketing playbooks. As Paper Lantern Lit co-founders Lauren Oliver and Lexa Hillyer see it, publishers must experiment with new approaches to the entire content lifecycle and the readers at its center.
Barnes & Noble has stepped up its pace and released a couple updates for two of its 3 reading apps for iPad and iPhone. The new Nook app adds support for iOS8 as well as other features, and the changelog for B&N's textbook app mentions a number of bug fixes and new annotation features. (The Nook Kids app hasn't been updated since July 2011.)
This Russia-based startup expanded into Singapore today in partnership with StarHub, a local telecom, to bring a library of over 500,000 ebooks to StarHub's customers and with the goal of engaging local publishers to offer their ebooks on the Bookmate platform.
At El Pais, Chris Finnigan took a look at Hispabooks, a small publishing house in Madrid started by two English-speaking editors, describing it as “hard at work changing perception of Spain abroad.” And with seven translated works of contemporary Spanish literary fiction published last year (and plans to publish eight next year), Finnigan sees these books, “diverse in their style and content,” as “challenging the stereotype of modern Spain.”