Dog-Eared and Dispatched: January 10, 2016
With the dawn of a new year comes new predictions about the future of publishing, this year including a bump in print sales alongside Amazon dominated the self-publishing industry even more than before. Ready? Set? Read!
With the new year comes the news that print book sales rose in 2015, the second consecutive year of such a boost. The 2014 increase over 2013 was 2.3 percent, and the 2015 increase over 2014 was 2.8 percent. A series of tables from Publishers Weekly separates the data into sub-categories, revealing that much of the increase was through retail and club sales at a 5.4 percent bump, whereas mass merchandisers or other sellers decreased by 8.8 percent. Adult fiction, adult nonfiction, and juvenile nonfiction all saw bumps—in the case of juvenile nonfiction, a somewhat sharp one at 11.7 percent. Juvenile fiction, on the other hand, decreased by 3 percent. However, this does only reflect print-related sales; it’s possible that juvenile fiction sales reflect a different pattern in ebooks, but Amazon and other ebook retailers are less forthcoming with this type of information. This news also follows a September 2015 article from the New York Times discussing a slip in ebook sales. [Publishers Weekly, New York Times]
Author Solutions, a division of Penguin Random House that catered to self-publishing authors, has been sold to a private equity firm. This comes with a comment in an employee letter from PRH CEO Markus Dohl, in which he said that “we reaffirm our focus on consumer book publishing through our 250 imprints worldwide, and our commitment to connecting our authors and their works to readers everywhere.” Author Solutions will apparently continue to operate as before under the new ownership. Amazon has a big part in the self-publishing industry, and this removal of self-publishing from the biggest of the Big Five’s business concerns suggests that Amazon now thoroughly dominates in that market, and they already churn out an estimated 85 percent of self-published titles. [Publishers Weekly, Quartz]
- Five book industry organizations have expressed concern about the mysterious disappearance of five employees of the Hong Kong publishing company Mighty Current, and its bookstore, the Causeway Bay Bookstore.
- A bookseller ruminates on the ritual and personalized experience of brick-and-mortar bookselling and what we can learn from it beyond the numbers.
- Libraries lent a record number of ebooks and digital audiobooks in 2015, as reported by Overdrive, a leading supplier of digital content to libraries and schools.
- Reddit has published a coffee table book aggregating some of the site’s best Ask Me Anything, or AMA, threads, including those from Barack Obama and Bill Gates and features hand-drawn portraits of the interview subjects.
- A list of previously confidential names of Nobel Prize nominees has been released, revealing those who lost the 1965 Nobel Prize for Literature: Jorge Luis Borges, Vladimir Nabokov, Pablo Neruda, Anna Akhmatova, and more; some, like Neruda, went on to win later Nobel Prizes.
- Bill Gates discusses why he reads; for the past few years, he’s been known for sharing reading lists on his blog and his best books of the year.