As OverDrive’s Libby partners with Apple’s CarPlay, how long before publishers start reigning in digital library audiobooks?

Thanks to a deal between Apple and Rakuten-OverDrive, the digital library app Libby is now compatible with Apple’s CarPlay in-car entertainment system. According to OverDrive the Libby app is now available from 90% of North American public libraries, and drivers with a library card and the CarPlay system can, select and navigate audiobooks with large, Read More …

Pearson to phase out print textbooks in US as digital gathers momentum

As one of the world’s largest education publishing companies, the news that Pearson is to phase out printed textbooks in its core US market is a serious blow to the “screen fatigue” brigade’s efforts to downplay the rise and rise of digital. In a press release today Pearson has announced it is, breaking from the Read More …

As Big Bad Wolf South Korea winds up, BBW is already live in the Philippines, and will be in Indonesia and Pakistan this month

Big Bad Wolf’s debut event wound up in South Korea yesterday. No news yet on how many turned out for the 24/7 eleven day sale of 2 million English-language books, but I’d be very surprised if we don’t see the Big Bad Wolf team organise a second South Korea event before this year is out. Read More …

Google announces Equiano – a new submarine cable to connect western Africa with Europe. Publishing opportunities abound

Submarine cables are what drive the global growth of the internet. The whole world is connected in a way unimaginable as this century started, thanks to a network of submarine cables that link continents, countries and even remote islands. I’m able to write this from The Gambia, West Africa, on a (relatively) high-speed internet connection Read More …

Malta Book Festival programme will be delivered to every household in Malta and Gozo

Malta’s National Book Council has announced that the 2019 Malta Book Festival will take place 6-10 November at the Mediterranean Conference Centre in Valletta. With a population of just 430,000 it’s not a major logistical challenge but still a remarkable gesture of support for books and reading that the Festival programme will be published in Read More …

In advance of San Diego Comic Con HarperCollins announces ambitious new graphic novel imprint

A new graphic novel imprint, HarperAlley, is to be launched by HarperCollins Childrens Books, with the first of thirty titles per year to go live in Q3 2020. Despite being an arm of HarperCollins Children’s Books, HarperAlley will be for readers of all ages, says the press release, and the  imprint intends to be a Read More …

A prospective Bible shortage drives home the unhealthy reliance of the US publishing industry on China’s printers

Leaving aside any debate about the rights and wrongs of the US-China trade dispute and tariffs being imposed by both sides, the dispute has brought to the fore the unhealthy reliance of US publishers on China – or more specifically of US publishers that have their books printed in China. An estimated 150 million Bibles Read More …

Russia’s LitRes expands its Poland operation as North American ebook players continue to ignore east Europe

When it comes to Russian ebooks and audio, one company leads the field. LitRes holds 66% of the Russian digital books market, is a significant player across Eurasia, and is expanding into east Europe. In 2018 LitRes saw its revenues rise 48%, and over 2 million audiobooks were sold, double that in 2017, comprising 25% Read More …

A dystopian short story wins the 2019 Caine Prize

Nigerian-American author Lesley Nneka Arimah has won the 20th edition of the Caine Prize for African Writing with a stunning post-apocalyptic short story, Skinned. The Caine Prize, launched in 2000, has a $10,000 award and is Arimah’s third time shortlisted, and first time to win. Arimah has also won the Commonwealth Short Story prize (2015), Read More …

Can the 2019 Hong Kong Book Fair beat last year’s 1.04 million visitors (150,000 per day)?

If spending hasn’t quite kept pace with growing attendance, still the Hong Kong Book Fair is one to watch this year. The 2019 theme is Sci-Fi & Mystery and as usual there’s a mixture of speakers from Hong Kong, mainland China and around the world. Running July 17-23 the 30th Hong Kong Book Fair, organised Read More …

The India book market remains “a giant in slumber” as new taxes hit imports amid rising paper prices

In an ill-considered move aimed at protecting the domestic publishing industry, the Indian government has imposed a 5% tax on imported paper books. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the new duties on Friday (domestic print books remain zero-rated) to a dismayed audience of publishers and publishing stakeholders. The tax on uncoated and lightweight paper was Read More …

Morten Strunge’s Danish podcast start-up Podimo raises $6.7 million in seed funding for September launch

Nowadays we think of Mofibo as the ebook arm of Storytel, but Mofibo has been dominating the European digital books subscription scene since 2013, three years before Jonas Tellander paid $15 million in 2016 to bring the service into the Storytel fold. Now Mofibo founder Morten Strunge is set to take on Apple and Spotify Read More …

High Demand. Low Supply. Brazil’s publishers talk TransMedia at the BIG Festival. Other emerging market publishers would do well to take note

The BIG Festival has not long wound up in Brazil (June 26-30) and participating publishers, led by Brazil’s international trade promotion project Brazilian Publishers, enjoyed a holistic overview of how book publishing is part of a much wider infotainment industry. The São Paulo BIG Festival, annually since 2012, is the biggest independent games festival in Read More …

Arabic, Chinese and Nordic languages in the running for the 2nd Reading Colombia selection as publishers target the international book markets

Submissions are about to close for the second Reading Colombia, a joint project of the Ministry of Culture, the National Library and the Colombian Book Chamber. Reading Colombia 2019 will be a catalogue of carefully selected titles across fiction, non-fiction, children’s & YA and poetry, that will be up for translations funds as part of Read More …

Somalia’s 3rd Kismayo Book Fair kicks off July 7. Sahra Ahmed Koshin among the guests

Very little information available (or at least that I can find) for the 3rd annual Kismayo Book Fair, which will run July 7-9 this year. The website is showing a dead-end, but both Facebook and twitter report the fair is about to kick off. Kismayo is a port and commercial capital of the autonomous Jubaland region Read More …

Comics snapshot: Italy’s Treviso Comic Book Festival set for September.  Graphite – a new comics streaming platform. A comics revival in Myanmar

Preparations for the 16th Treviso Comic Book Festival are gathering steam as the event deadline nears, and the call has just gone out on Facebook and twitter for volunteers to help the event run smoothly. Very little information available at this time – follow the Treviso Comic Book Festival on twitter: @TVComicBookFest – so this Read More …

Storytel beats subscriber and revenue forecasts for Q2 with annual growth at 37%

The latest results from Storytel offer no surprises but also, sadly, no real detail beyond what we’ve come to expect. On target for one million subscribers by end 2019, Storytel hit 887,500 subscribers in Q2, an increase of 53,200 on Q1. The forecast was 800,000, and a predictable press release says simply, Storytel therefore surpasses Read More …

Storytel marks its first year in Italy with a tripled catalogue size and an Originals launch

It’s one year since Storytel went head to head with Amazon’s Audible in Italy, and so far Storytel are keeping their consumer numbers quiet, but are more profligate with the catalogue figures. Having kicked off with just 1,300 Italian titles and “tens of thousands” of English-language titles it was clear Audible Italy was not going Read More …

Bookbeat beats forecast, topping 200,000 subscribers. Revenues up 126%. And a promising start in the Netherlands

With its recent 24-country expansion still too new to have had any impact on the numbers, Bookbeat has never the less delivered a stunning result for Q2, with revenues up 126% on the same quarter in 2018. The full year 2019 target is 100% growth, and with Q2 also seeing the 200,000 subscriber target passed, Read More …

Peru’s 6th Cusco International Book Fair set for August launch with indigenous languages the theme

FIL Cusco has opened calls for participants in the 6th incarnation of its international book fair, to run August 29 through September 8. Bolivia will be guest of honour. In this UNESCO Year of Indigenous Languages the book fair will have indigenous languages as its theme and will give, special emphasis to the use, visibility Read More …