Hello and welcome to This Fortnight in Publishing!
With the strained political climate across the world, readers are increasingly turning to the written world for solace and guidance, but it is yet unclear whether this shift would be significant enough to keep afloat news organisations and publishing houses that take on difficult subjects and viewpoints. Newspapers in the US have been reporting an uptick in subscriptions, and with Google and Facebook controlling as much as 99% (?) of ad revenues, it may be possible to consider a future where news organisations will be more subscription-driven than ad-driven. The question is whether they as businesses, and we as readers, will be able to adapt quick enough. The book world is not immune to these economic forces either - Pearson, as part of its current restructuring efforts led by John Fallon (and also because of its poor performance in the US academic market), has announced that it is considering selling its stake in Penguin Random House. Bertelsmann, the majority stakeholder, has said that it is willing to consider increasing its share, if "the financial terms are fair". Incidentally, Bertelsmann mentioned late last year that it intended to invest $1.1 billion in India, China, and Brazil (across its many businesses). Another potential big investor in the Indian market is UCWeb, a part of Alibaba Mobile Business Group. It has announced its plans of investing Rs 200 crore in India and Indonesia in the next two years. The news coincides with an announcement from the Indian government that it is considering relaxing its FDI rules for the news industry. (A majority Indian stakeholder will still be required.) The next few years are indeed going to be interesting for the news industry globally as well as in India.
Things are a bit more cheery in the Indian book publishing market. Publishers at World Book Fair have reported higher sales, contrary to fears that demonetisation would dampen readers' spirits. Literature festivals and book fairs around the country are well attended; but as always, we don't have any definite numbers on them. Many anniversaries are being celebrated this month as well - Jaipur Literature Festival turns 10, Penguin India turns 25, and Harper Collins India turns 30.
A trend to watch out for this year maybe audio books. As Apple and Amazon's exclusivity deal comes to an end, we may be seeing other players gain more visibility. Also of interest: research institutions in Germany, Taiwan, and Peru have opted to cancel their Elsevier subscriptions after negotiations broke down last month. The consortium is trying to force Elsevier to come up with a better pricing plan and make a greater commitment to open access. I will be watching closely to see how these negotiations pan out.
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Have a good week everyone!
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Faced with worse-than-expected results in its North American higher education publishing business, Pearson said this morning that it is putting its 47% stake in Penguin Random House up for sale.
The layoff spree in Hindustan Times (HT) Media seems to be continuing well into the New Year. Earlier this month, the group’s English daily, Hindustan Times, wound up its business bureau in Delhi and Mumbai. The business section of the paper will now be syndicated to HT Media’s financial publication, Mint. The group has also informed its Kolkata bureau that it be closing this month well.
HarperCollins India is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year with a series of special promotions and activities, including the launch of a wide range of titles, collectibles and merchandise. The celebrations began at the Jaipur Literature Festival, which also completes 10 years.
Penguin (India) has entered into its 30th year of publishing and has a bevy of anniversary festivities lined up that will kick-start from the Jaipur Literature Festival.
UCWeb, a part of Alibaba Mobile Business Group, plans to invest Rs200 crore over the next two years in India and Indonesia. “The funds will primarily be used to tap the huge potential of user-generated content in India on its news distribution and content platform, UC News,” the firm said in a statement on Thursday.
ASER 2016 survey shows proportion of Class V children who can read a Class II level text fell to 47.8% in 2016 from 48.1% in 2014.
The Indian government is considering a proposal to increase the foreign direct investment limit in the print media sector to 49% from 26% at present. Currently, the FDI policy permits 26% foreign direct investment in the publishing of newspapers and periodicals dealing with news and current affairs through government approval route, PTI reported.
Leading organised bookseller Crossword Bookstores has entered the already cluttered publishing domain with The Write Place, which will focus only on Indian authors. On the publication plans, Shah said he plans to have 300 titles over the next three years, which will be mix of author paid and commissioned titles.
As the New Delhi World Book Fair comes to a close today, the nine-day long event was an "excellent" experience with leading publishing houses making significant profit on sales compared to previous years.
The Centre for Readership Development (CRD) will organise Patna Book Fair at Gandhi Maidan from February 4 to 14. There will be around 600 stalls in the fair.
The Indian publishing world is scratching its head over this phenomenon, and that’s when it isn’t trying to sign Sharma up for a multi-book deal. That’s because it took just about 100 days for a novel titled Everyone Has A Story, written by someone almost no one had heard of, to sell 100,000 copies.
Visually appealing, these magazines publish high quality work – art, essays, fiction, non- fiction, poetry – merging genres, forms and realities.
A market with few reliable statistics, Pakistan's literary leaders work in Western book publishing markets and its main play at home is in textbooks.
The report of the The New York Times’s 2020 group, on the future of the newsroom. Hint: Leveraging technology and the subscription model.
The report predicts “hundreds of browser extensions and message bots offering fact checking services” by the end of the year. Paul Bradshaw of Birmingham City University: “Nothing stimulates technological development like war, and the information wars are already generating increasingly ‘augmented journalism’ as news organizations — and social media — develop the weapons to fight back.”
Rightwing writers, ranging from conservative to lunatic fringe across all genres, have long been a lucrative books market. Will the new era see it grow? An interesting observation: While left readers tend to read across the spectrum, right wingers tend to read a few big names, making it a lucrative market.
Readers have finally understood that their payments for the news will actually make a difference in what they and their community know. That model needs to be extended down to states and cities.
The Nobel laureate, who threatened to destroy his green card last year, confirmed he has done so as an act of protest before 20 January’s inauguration ceremony.
As the anniversary of her death approaches, Jane Austen and her work will be celebrated across the UK. Lucy Worsley explores why such a well-loved author remains so mysterious.
The audiobooks story of the year in 2016 was—again—the continued strong sales growth of the digital audio market, and many audio publishers expect to see more gains in 2017.
Apple and Amazon have agreed to end an exclusivity agreement that made Audible the only seller of audiobooks inside of iTunes. The agreement had been in place for over a decade, since 2003, but came to an end earlier this month following complaints from German publishers and investigations by European antitrust regulators.
On Friday afternoon, the Washington Post announced that it was adding 30 jobs to its video team as part of a three-year plan to expand its video offerings. Perhaps most remarkable in those plans: multiple hires for what looks like a Daily Show-style scripted humor initiative riffing on the day’s news.
New bookstore offers customers a few selected books for sale, with no owner or employees on the premises.Consisting of just comfortable chairs and ten or so tables, it’s a place where anyone can come inside, buy a book, and rest while leisurely reading.
GMEU contains much more than a list of words commonly misused. Its essays are informative and include “Back-Formations,” “Clichés,” “Etymology,” and so on. In addition to usage, there’s considerable advice about document design and layout. For editors, he includes a list of 100 editorial comments.
The American data and market insights company NPD has acquired Nielsen's US book industry services. Nielsen will continue to own and operate Nielsen Book outside of the US in nine countries as well as in any new international markets.
Facebook is rolling out a somewhat amorphous Journalism Project, the company announced Thursday. The goal: "to support journalism and news literacy, and to serve as a hub for journalists and publishers to learn and share."