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This Fortnight in Publishing (17 April 2017)

The opposite of “anesthetic,” we might recall, is “aesthetic”—a word that originally referred to whatever could be perceived or felt but that came to refer to the nature of beauty. Beauty, in all its myriad forms, can only be created in opposition to numbness. That, at least for me, serves as a quiet manifesto for our times.

- "Love in the Time of Numbness; or. Doctor Checknov, Writer", Siddhartha Mukherjee 


**

Hello and welcome to This Fortnight in Publishing!

With the beginning of the new financial year, it has been a few weeks of stock-taking for the industry as a whole. This edition brings you statistics from across the board - from the global state of the internet to the financial performance of the biggest publishing companies to the debate about whether print is coming back. Here are some highlights: 

  • "More than 3.8 billion people around the world use the internet today, up 38 million since January 2017. This one percent increase takes global internet penetration to 51 percent – in other words, people who don’t use the internet are increasingly in the minority,"  according to a report by Simon Kemp. In addition, "110 million people started using social media over the past three months, taking the global total to more than 2.9 billion users. This means that social media users are still increasing at a rate of more than one million per day." Also, much of Facebook's growth came from India, "where 22 million people joined Facebook in the past three months alone". That's 250,000 new Facebook users from India every day. 
  • Penguin Random House reported a 9.6% decrease in revenue. According to Bertelsmann, the drop in revenue was because of the negative impact of foreign exchange, asset sales, and decreases in print and e-book sales. According to Publishers Weekly, "The only large publisher that had a sales gain in 2016 was Lagardère Publishing, but that increase was partly due to the March 2016 purchase of the publishing arm of the Perseus Books Group, which added about $75 million to Lagardère’s American subsidiary, Hachette Book Group (HBG). Without Perseus, revenue at HBG would have fallen 4.2%." While HarperCollins' revenue remained about the same, Simon & Schuster reported a revenue decline of 1.7% due to lower digital book sales. However, all three companies saw higher operating margins compared to the previous year.
  • According to Jane Friedman, in the US, "since 2013, the traditional book publishing industry has enjoyed about a 3% increase in print book sales. However, print book sales grew largely because Amazon sold more print books. Barnes & Noble’s sales declined by 6% in 2016, and sales from mass merchandisers (Target, Walmart, etc.) also declined. But reports estimate that Amazon’s print sales in 2016 grew by 15%, primarily driven by their own discounting. Their ebook sales are believed to have increased about 4%."
  • It doesn't quite count as statistics, but the appendices of the "The Platform Press" report has a nifty timeline of how social media websites have morphed into publishing platforms. Things get really crazy from 2014.  

In short, we buy fewer books, are extremely budget-conscious when it comes to spending on books, and are increasingly relying on social media for news. All of which are causes for concern, and none of which seems to have any foreseeable solutions. Not all is doom and gloom, however; Delhi saw its first poetry biennale - a massive three-day event that showcased 45 poets from across 15 Indian languages. Perhaps a sign that poetry is indeed experiencing a revival in these turbulent times? In addition, publishers and editors can look forward to applying for the Frankfurt Fellowship Programme, The Hindu Prize 2017, or the PEN Translates award. There is a masked vigilante somewhere in Bristol adding apostrophes to banners in the dead of the night. All is not lost. 

As always direct all feedback to chitra@thecleancopy.com.

Have a good week everyone!

Best,

Chitralekha Manohar



Fellowship Programme
buchmesse.de

Fellowship Programme

The Frankfurt Fellowship Programme focuses on information exchange, professional dialogue and the creation of networks between young international publishers. Fellowship members get to participate in the book fair, visit publishing houses and booksellers in Germany, see market presentations, have match-making events and dinners, and pursue networking opportunities. They're taking applications now.

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Submissions invited for The Hindu Prize 2017
thehindu.com

Submissions invited for The Hindu Prize 2017

The Hindu Prize 2017, instituted to recognise the best in Indian literary fiction in English every year, is open for submissions.

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India’s first poetry biennale shows that such events need to be held more often
scroll.in

India’s first poetry biennale shows that such events need to be held more often

With poetry readings by 45 poets from 15 Indian languages, and three panel discussions involving public intellectuals and poets, vak, Delhi's first poetry biennale, was truly an inter-regional, pan-Indian, national dialogue that is often missing these days in our lives. Relying largely on translations into either Hindi or English, the conversations flowed through verse and prose as the place, purpose, and meaning of poetry in contemporary India was discovered and articulated.

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PEN Translates Open for Submissions
englishpen.org

PEN Translates Open for Submissions

PEN Translates was launched in 2012, with support from Arts Council England, to encourage UK publishers to acquire more books from other languages. The award helps UK publishers to meet the costs of translating new works into English. They're open for submissions now.

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Publishers Did Marginally Better in 2016
publishersweekly.com

Publishers Did Marginally Better in 2016

Four of the five large publicly held trade publishers managed to improve their operating margins in 2016 over 2015, despite generally weak revenue performances. The article includes details about the operational performance of PRH, Lagardère, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Trade.

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The Myth About Print Coming Back (Updated)
janefriedman.com

The Myth About Print Coming Back (Updated)

Discussions about the "resurgence" of print and the comeback of independent bookstores amounts to wishful thinking, not an understanding of the industry. Statistics from Jane Friedman.

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The Platform Press: How Silicon Valley reengineered journalism
cjr.org

The Platform Press: How Silicon Valley reengineered journalism

The influence of social media platforms and technology companies is having a greater effect on American journalism than even the shift from print to digital. There is a rapid takeover of traditional publishers’ roles by companies including Facebook, Snapchat, Google, and Twitter that shows no sign of slowing, and which raises serious questions over how the costs of journalism will be supported.

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The global state of the internet in April 2017
thenextweb.com

The global state of the internet in April 2017

More than 3.8 billion people around the world use the internet today, up 38 million since January 2017. This one percent increase takes global internet penetration to 51 percent – in other words, people who don’t use the internet are increasingly in the minority.

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Want to bring automation to your newsroom? A new AP report details best practices
niemanlab.org

Want to bring automation to your newsroom? A new AP report details best practices

In 2014, the Associated Press began automating some of its coverage of corporate earnings reports. Instead of having humans cover the basic finance stories, the AP, working with the firm Automated Insights, was able to use algorithms to speed up the process and free up human reporters to pursue more complex stories. The AP estimates that the automated stories have freed up 20 percent of the time its journalists spent on earnings reports as well as allowed it to cover additional companies that it didn’t have the capacity to report on before.

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The Times' subscription sales jump 200 percent since pivoting from breaking news
digiday.com

The Times' subscription sales jump 200 percent since pivoting from breaking news

British newspaper The Times has seen subscriptions sales jump 200 percent in the last year, since it pivoted from publishing on a breaking-news cycle to a digital editions-based publishing strategy a year ago. It isn't just the editorial processes that have changed radically since adopting a digital editions-based publishing schedule, but its marketing strategy too.

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2017 Pulitzer Prizes
pulitzer.org

2017 Pulitzer Prizes

Full list of the 2017 Pulitzer Prizes. Colson Whitehead wins the prize for fiction for 'The Underground Railway'.

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How Elsevier plans to sabotage Open Access – Hacker Noon
hackernoon.com

How Elsevier plans to sabotage Open Access – Hacker Noon

It was a long and difficult road to get the major publishing houses to open up to open access, but in the end the Dutch universities got their much awaited ‘gold deal’ for open access. A recently revealed contract between Elsevier and the Dutch research institutes lays bare the retardant tactics the publishing giant employs to stifle the growth of open access.

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Announcing The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th Edition
cmosshoptalk.com

Announcing The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th Edition

E-mail with now be email and Internet will become internet! But the use of singular they in place of a generic he or she is not recommended as a personal pronoun. Boo. In any case, look forward to a new CMOS in September this year.

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Unseen Sylvia Plath letters claim domestic abuse by Ted Hughes
theguardian.com

Unseen Sylvia Plath letters claim domestic abuse by Ted Hughes

Sylvia Plath alleged Ted Hughes beat her two days before she miscarried their second child and that Hughes wanted her dead, unpublished letters reveal. The two accusations are among explosive claims in unseen correspondence written in the bitter aftermath of one of literature’s most famous and destructive marriages.

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Love in the Time of Numbness; or, Doctor Chekhov, Writer
newyorker.com

Love in the Time of Numbness; or, Doctor Chekhov, Writer

Chekhov’s quest to inoculate himself against ennui offers lessons for writers working in our current climate of desensitization.

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‘Yours is a midlist book’: Why writers never want to hear their publishers say this
scroll.in

‘Yours is a midlist book’: Why writers never want to hear their publishers say this

Why the midlist book, which was once a strong presence on Indian publishers’ list, is endangered.

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Rs 3 lakh biz at book fair
timesofindia.indiatimes.com

Rs 3 lakh biz at book fair

Books worth Rs 3 lakh were sold during the seven-day book fair in Patna which concluded on 18 March. "Over 3,000 buyers visited the book fair. There was a huge demand for children books," organizers said.

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Educate, agitate, organise
thehindubusinessline.com

Educate, agitate, organise

Publishing houses specialising in books by and about Dalits are changing the discourse of the mainstream, one step at a time.

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Kobo Acquires Print-Digital Bundling Startup Shelfie
the-digital-reader.com

Kobo Acquires Print-Digital Bundling Startup Shelfie

Kobo has acquired Shelfie, a platform where users could make a post-sale bundle consisting of a print and ebooks. When promoted in bookstores, Shelfie's service almost doubled one bookseller's sales of bundled titles.

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Yevgeny Yevtushenko, No ‘Dissident,’ Often Spoke for Russia’s Oppressed
thedailybeast.com

Yevgeny Yevtushenko, No ‘Dissident,’ Often Spoke for Russia’s Oppressed

Yevgeny Yevtushenko, the Soviet poet whose powerful voice transcended borders in the 1960s, died last week in Oklahoma.

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Eruditus raises Rs 53 Cr from Bertelsmann India - ETtech
tech.economictimes.indiatimes.

Eruditus raises Rs 53 Cr from Bertelsmann India - ETtech

Eruditus Executive Education, a provider of executive education programmes, has raised $8 million (about Rs 53 crore) in a series-B funding round from Bertelsmann India Investments.

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Updated Figures on the Scale and Nature of Researchers’ Use of Scholarly Collaboration Net
scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org

Updated Figures on the Scale and Nature of Researchers’ Use of Scholarly Collaboration Net

A new survey provides an updated view of how and why researchers are using scholarly collaboration networks. Charlie Rapple shares key findings.

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Ramesh Chandra Agarwal, chairman of Dainik Bhaskar Group, dies at 72
business-standard.com

Ramesh Chandra Agarwal, chairman of Dainik Bhaskar Group, dies at 72

A profile in memory of Dainik Bhaskar Group chairman Ramesh Chandra Agarwal, who died on April 12 following a cardiac arrest in Ahmedabad. He was 72.

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Indian Express launches a new health vertical, with a focus on distributed strategy
medianama.com

Indian Express launches a new health vertical, with a focus on distributed strategy

Lifealth is the fifth digital vertical launched by the Indian Express Digital in the past seven months. The website is available in English and Hindi, and hosts content around lifestyle, health, pregnancy, parenting, relationships and spirituality. The website is an infinite scroll and currently features no advertisements.

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Arun Maheshwari receives award from Oxford Business College
printweek.in

Arun Maheshwari receives award from Oxford Business College

On 28 March 2017, Oxford Business College in the UK presented Arun Maheshwari, managing director, Vani Prakashan and chairman, Vani Foundation, with a special Award of Appreciation for his outstanding contribution in the field of Indian publishing.

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Revealed: Self-styled 'grammar vigilante' corrects badly punctuated shop signs in dead of
telegraph.co.uk

Revealed: Self-styled 'grammar vigilante' corrects badly punctuated shop signs in dead of

Wielding an ‘apostrophiser’ – a broom handle laden with two sponges and a number of stickers – the man has corrected tens of missing and misplaced apostrophes on shop banners across Bristol over the past 13 years.

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Tale of Dickens' fight to save Shakespeare house retold in exhibition
theguardian.com

Tale of Dickens' fight to save Shakespeare house retold in exhibition

Dickens helped save bard’s birthplace from clutches of US showman PT Barnum back in 1847. Barnum intended to buy it anonymously, ship every brick and timber to the US, and reconstruct it as the star attraction of his museum of curiosities. A museum now commemorates the story.

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Three reasons to attend Publish Asia 2017
printweek.in

Three reasons to attend Publish Asia 2017

Created in 2000, Publish Asia is an annual meeting place for the Asian newspaper and news publishing industry. More than 300 media executives from over 30 different countries will gather in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on 18-20 April.

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The Hot Sheet: The Essential Industry Newsletter for Authors
hotsheetpub.com

The Hot Sheet: The Essential Industry Newsletter for Authors

The Hot Sheet is the essential publishing industry newsletter for authors delivered via email every other Wednesday. (It's a paid newsletter but promises to be very good.)

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Archives
elink.io

Archives

This Fortnight in Publishing was started in April 2016 as a way to aggregate information on the publishing industry in India and abroad. Click here to view our archives.

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