Prior to the launch of The New Publishing Standard one of my plans was to have a regular Sunday feature summarising the latest Hot Sheet (the industry news-sheet for authors, produced every two weeks by Porter Anderson and Jane Friedman) as it rolled off the cyber-presses.
As Friedman and Anderson say, “we’re not interested in delivering breaking news, but perspective on stories that are likely to retain meaning for your long-term decision making. We provide distance and nuance on complex issues that affect all authors, whether traditionally published or self-published.”
Which is why I planned to review the Hot Sheet here every other Sunday.
By pure coincidence the first Hot Sheet since TNPS launched happens to carry a piece on… yep, TNPS, meaning I was tempted to push back the first Hot Sheet review until the next edition, but there’s just too much important stuff there to wait.
Most significant were two posts on the future of ebooks – specifically the future of Barnes & Noble’s Nook and the future of the Apple iBooks store.
The Hot Sheet‘s bottom line on the Nook saga:
“Barnes & Noble has lost about $1.3 billion on the Nook business in the last six years, according to Fortune. At its peak, Nook enjoyed sales of nearly $1 billion a year. Currently it has sales of about $150 million a year. Many people inside and outside of the industry think it’s time to pull the plug.”
That’s not to say Nook will just fade into oblivion, but rather that B&N need to either partner with an ebook player with some tech nous, or cut the cord completely and sell Nook to a player that knows what they are doing.
For my perspective on the Nook saga, see this TNPS post.
The Hot Sheet‘s take on Apple iBooks was not that much brighter, with a report that the visibility of the iBooks store had been much diminished lately.
As the Hot Sheet notes, Apple services revenue overall is on the rise, but that doesn’t means ebook sales are going up on Apple. Is the Apple iBooks store now even more of a sideshow than before?
The Hot Sheet quotes Canadian commentator Thad McIlroy as saying when it comes to ebooks B&N and Apple “have both announced defeat,” but adds the caveat that while McIlroy may be right about Apple, we should “keep in mind the big picture: Apple’s combined digital media sales are currently bigger than Amazon’s combined digital media sales. And Apple is projecting to double the size of their services business by 2020, so don’t count them out just yet.”
The Hot Sheet also runs with a report on Inkitt, and a topic close to my heart, the play between agents and publishers in France.
The latter holds personal interest for me. Having had some small success a few years back with a French version of my flagship title, the publisher then inconsiderately went bankrupt. Thankfully the rights are back with me, and getting the book back in print is high on my agenda.
The Hot Sheet mentions AALF, “the Alliance des Agents Littéraires Français, formed in spring 2016 by several key agents in France. The alliance’s goal is to raise their own profession’s visibility and generate more of a conversation between authors, publishers, and agents.”
Guess it’s time to dust off my French phrase book and see what’s new in fair Paris.
Skipping over the post on TNPS (but thanks, guys!), the Hot Sheet briefly links to a number of other key stories.
Among them news that the Independent Book Publishers Association will be breaking with thirty years of tradition and “not doing a cooperative book display at Book Expo next year at the largest publishing industry trade show in the United States.”
I’ll be coming back to this in another post soon, taking a look at the way the centre of publishing industry gravity is shifting away from the US as other markets and other book fairs rise in importance.
Lots more in the Hot Sheet, but I’ll end with this summary of up and coming publishing events:
- Frankfurt Book Fair (PA), Oct. 11–15
- Sharjah (UAE) International Book Fair (PA), Oct. 30–Nov. 3
- StoryDrive Asia (PA), Singapore, Nov. 13–14
- Shanghai International Children’s Book Fair (PA), Nov. 17–19
- FutureBook (PA), London, Dec. 1
If you were wondering what I meant above about the shifting centre of gravity, this list is instructive.
The Frankfurt Book Fair is by far the most important event in the western publishing calendar nowadays, and Shanghai (and before it Beijing) are also eclipsing Book Expo in importance.
Sharjah? If you are not a regular reader of Porter Anderson and Publishing Perspectives you might be unaware of Sharjah, be it the book fair or the “publishing city,” newly built in the United Arab Emirates. If so, stay tuned. Anderson has the better contacts but here at TNPS we’ll be covering Sharjah a lot as we go, as one of the most exciting “new” developments in global publishing (the publishing city is new, the book fair not so much).
Oh, and if you’re wondering if anyone would even bother to turn up to a book fair in the desert of the United Arab Emirates, consider this: last year the Sharjah International Book Fair had 2.3 million people visit.
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