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Publishing

Sad news for Egmont as US operation closes without buyer
January 23, 2015 | 4:25 pm

Sad to say, Egmont Publishing has had to close its US business after trying but failing to find a buyer. The official Egmont statement said: Egmont Publishing, which at $900 million is the largest division in the Denmark-based Egmont group, employing 2,400 people across 30 countries, has a new strategic focus, which is to invest in books and magazine businesses where Egmont can hold a leading market position. One of the outcomes has been the decision to exit the standalone position in the US market, which they entered in 2008. Attempts to sell Egmont USA since October 2014 have not resulted in...

University of California Press joins open access push
January 22, 2015 | 4:25 pm

The University of California Press has just announced a pair of initiatives that mark its major institutional push into scholarly open access, "Collabra and Luminos, two new open access programs for journal and monograph publishing." UC Press, which provides the academic publishing infrastructure for the University of California university system, including UC Berkeley and UCLA, and which claims to be "the world’s greatest public research university," declares that: "Collabra and Luminos launch with a distinguished group of advisory board members, editors, authors, and reviewers from universities and associations around the globe." The announcement continues: The mega journal Collabra is based on an innovative model...

The Holtzbrinck/Springer merger: What does it mean for scientific publishing?
January 16, 2015 | 2:25 pm

cover_natureAs per a Reuters report yesterday, the publisher of Nature and Scientific American, Germany's Holtzbrinck Publishing Group, is merging with Springer Science+Business Media, "creating a group with 1.5 billion euros ($1.75 billion) in annual sales." As well as showcasing the value locked up in scientific publishing, this merger also raises questions about the development of the field and the prospects for wider adoption of scholarly open access. Also included in the deal is educational and and social sciences publisher Palgrave Macmillan. The official Springer announcement read: Holtzbrinck Publishing Group (Holtzbrinck) and BC Partners (BCP) announced today that they have reached an agreement to merge Springer...

Cory Doctorow speaks on self-publishing, Amazon, DRM, Hachette, and a whole lot else besides
January 16, 2015 | 10:25 am

IMG_20150115_103208Cory Doctorow came over to Budapest at the invitation of the Center for Media, Data and Society of Central European University to speak on policing computers and other issues. In the course of a fascinating interview with me, he shared a slew of observations on a great many issues, many of which I'll be presenting in subsequent articles. To begin with, though, here are his thoughts on where self-publishing has got to, and what the whole Amazon-Hachette spat reveals about the impact of DRM on the market. The most important thing that self-publishing does isn’t merely enriching the people who succeed in...

New digital publishing imprint Canelo launches in UK
January 13, 2015 | 2:25 pm

Two former executives at UK independent Quercus Publishing, Iain Millar and Nick Barreto, have partnered with Michael Bhaskar, currently digital publishing director at Profile Books and sometime digital publishing savant, to create Canelo, "a new digital publisher of engaging fiction and non-fiction released as ebooks, apps and on the web. Working closely with authors, readers, developers and other partners, we will bring great stories to new audiences." "The founders, who have worked for Profile Books, Pan Macmillan, Hachette, Quercus and Bloomsbury, among others, want to combine the best of traditional publishing with a fresh approach," continues Canelo's introduction. "We want to find...

Editor shares some publisher love
January 12, 2015 | 4:28 pm

Daniel Menaker, "longtime book editor," has shared a paean in Slate "In praise of the publishers who move units and readers." And after the "15 years I was at Random House, almost five of them as editor-in-chief," he's naturally in a position to know whereof he speaks. Intimately. Cosily. Among many objections that Menaker has to the zeitgeist is the opinion Barry Eisler, who told the Guardian that the signatories of the Authors United letter to Amazon were in “the top 1 percent” who "have no interest at all in improving publishing for everyone. Only in preserving it for themselves." Menaker insists...

Textbook publisher Follett threatens price-comparison browser plug-in
January 6, 2015 | 1:23 pm

A textbook price-comparison browser extension developed by textbook price finding site Texts.com has come under fire from textbook publisher Follett. This extension, “Occupy the Bookstore,” sits in a user’s browser and pops up less-expensive alternative purchasing sites when the user is visiting some online textbook store. Follett asked Texts.com to remove the extension because it draws sales away from stores Follet supplies. Texts.com has no intention of dropping the extension. They believe Follet does not have a case, because the price-comparison plug-in does not actually interact with the stores’ web sites; it interacts with data on the customer’s browser...

Industry Growing Pains and the ‘Content Glut’ Problem
January 3, 2015 | 10:25 am

industry growing painsA half-dozen articles on the publishing industry's 'growing pains' crossed my RSS feed this morning. I guess the new year has everyone feeling introspective, and the short version is that people are tired. Too many shifts in the business model. Too many trends coming and going, and authors try g to cash in on those trends with a glut of books. There are authors who are trying to reach new readers via bargain-priced subscription services. There are others who try and reach existing audiences through programs like Kindle Worlds, which publish within existing fictional universes. Some authors claim that quality is,...

What was the battle of the books really about?
December 29, 2014 | 12:25 pm

A very depressing article in the UK Guardian sees out the old year - depressing because it suggests that many intelligent and cultured journalists and pundits have still not got their heads around what ebooks are about and are swallowing the dumb headlines that serve Big Media. Recounting "A heart-warming twist in the tale of the books industry," Peter Preston declares that: "The most fascinating and, in many ways, cheering story of 2014 is almost wholly counterintuitive: the survival of the printed book. Turning pages back from digital grave shock! Legacy longform wins fight for life!" I'm sorry, but who here...

Osprey captured by Bloomsbury
December 28, 2014 | 12:25 pm

Any Brit kid who grew up with a love of toy soldiers, model making, war stories, military history, roleplaying games, or wildlife - which probably accounts for most of the now-adult population - will probably have encountered Osprey Books somewhere in their development. These marvelous illustrated folio-style slim volumes with their beautifully detailed paintings of soldiers and materiel of all periods were a staple of my childhood. And now Osprey Publishing, the independent press behind the series, has been snapped up by Bloomsbury Publishing. According to Bloomsbury's announcement: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc ("Bloomsbury") announces that it has today completed the acquisition of the...

Publishers should offer e-book bundles for lengthy series
December 25, 2014 | 4:00 pm

ferdelanceMerry Christmas, everyone! If you celebrate it, I hope you’re enjoying it; if you don’t, I hope you’re at least enjoying the day off you probably got on account of someone else’s religion. This year, I gave a number of books to people, including a Nero Wolfe novel to my father. And it got me to thinking about how great it would be to read those books again. A number of years ago, I obtained all 47 of them via means less than completely licit (I was a poor college student in those days), and read through them...

Tips of the day for self-publishers: The 10 commandments of typography
December 22, 2014 | 4:25 pm

One design-oriented set of tips that actually might be quite useful for self-publishers and independent publishing houses is the "10 Commandments of Typography" shared by Yardley, PA, logo and graphic design studio Designmantic. Their visual breakdown of Typography 101 (or in this instance, 10.1) could make a great deal of difference to the font choices and internal layout of a self-published book, as well as to the cover design. For instance, the sixth commandment - "stick to two fonts. Only go for three if you must" - could lead to far fewer eye-straining design excesses. And the seventh - "don't mix...