'Surviving the Death of Print'
"We survived the death of print, which is wonderful."
"We survived the death of print, which is wonderful."
|Macmillan's John Sargent at the Frankfurt Book Fair yesterday.|
In a wide-ranging, optimistic talk at the Frankfurt Book Fair yesterday afternoon, Macmillan CEO John Sargent discussed everything from the reading habits of young people and competition with smartphones to the usefulness of e-books and the future of the book. He also discussed the importance of free speech, democracy and his reaction to President Trump's attempt to block publication of Michael Wolff's Fire & Fury, reiterating points he made during a talk at BookExpo in May. Sargent fielded questions from several industry journalists while publishing consultant Ruediger Wischenbart moderated the discussion.
When asked about the changes that the Internet revolution has had on the publishing industry, Sargent acknowledged that certain sectors of the book business, such as travel guides and travel books, which were once "highly necessary," have largely "fallen away globally," because the Internet can simply do a better job of fulfilling those needs. But at the same time, Sargent continued, it has brought increased focus to the things that books can do better than anything else.
Sargent contended that for the sorts of long-form narratives that do really well in today's publishing landscape, the book remains "the best possible technology" for delivering that content. He remarked that he was old enough to remember when color TV came around and how it was supposed to "crush" the book business, and added that he'd heard stories that publishers had looked at consumer radio in the same way. Compared to other forms of storytelling, reading a book is simply a "much more powerful experience."
In a similar vein, Sargent commented that for at least the past 15 years, people have been worrying about attention spans and how little time young people spend reading. But 250- to 400-page books remain the norm, the predicted downturns in the business haven't materialized and young people even prefer the printed book over e-books. History has shown, Sargent said, that "people do in fact continue to read."
And while there certainly is more competition for the attention of young people than ever before, Sargent called it the "responsibility" of publishers to "produce extraordinary works" that will make them turn away from their smartphones. He also said that he didn't "despair" about that competition, because people typically read more as they grow older.
He added that he also did not "worry much" about the possibility of young artists, writers and content creators turning away from the book. Figures about self-publishing show that "millions and millions of people" are investing immense time and energy into writing books, and there is "tremendous work" being done by young authors. Said Sargent: "I don't see that changing."
On the subject of major publishers expanding across the globe in recent decades, Sargent noted that going global has always been an "interesting premise," but for generations the number of books that truly work across the globe has been low. Most book markets tend to be "very local in their nature," with readers typically interested in titles written in their home language published in their home country.
Later in the discussion, Sargent remarked that even in countries where Macmillan has been operating for a very long time, there are still stories and voices that aren't being heard and populations that are not being served. Finding and publishing those stories, he said, is not only the "right thing to do" but also the "self-interested thing to do," because the population in 10 years "won't look like it does today."
Sargent said that despite e-books no longer being the growth engine that they once were, the format remains "tremendously powerful," as it helps publishers reach readers in "whatever format they choose," and "wherever they are." He noted that when Wikileaks pushed an unprotected PDF of Michael Wolff's Fire and Fury, it likely resulted in some 400,000-500,000 lost sales for Macmillan, and he recalled that when he heard Hachette Livre CEO Arnaud Nourry dismiss the e-book as a "stupid product," his first reaction was, "Boy, what is this guy smoking?"
When asked about Macmillan's decision to delay the e-lending of digital titles for a certain amount of time after publication, Sargent said Macmillan had seen a "corresponding one-for-one growth" in library reads that went along with a decrease in sales of e-books, which had become a "matter of concern." He added that the company was currently in a roughly three-month testing period, and would make more decisions after that.
During the discussion's q&a portion, an audience member commented on the feud between Donald Trump and Jeff Bezos and asked Sargent which side he would hypothetically support. Replied Sargent: "I think I'll go with a no comment." --Alex Mutter
With the goal of making it easy for readers to buy e-books through indie bookstores, the American Booksellers Association and Hummingbird Digital Media have entered a non-exclusive partnership under which Hummingbird will appear on ABA's IndieCommerce and IndieLite programs and offer a "Buy the eBook" button next the "Buy the Book" button on bookstores' title pages.
Hummingbird supplies the shopping cart and fulfillment via a store co-branded white label site, and the company collects and remits sales tax in all applicable states. Hummingbird will also provide a link back from the white label site to the referring store for purchase of the print book. Booksellers get a branded storefront and a branded app that mirrors what has been placed on the bookseller's storefront.
More than 75 ABA member stores are currently selling e-books through Hummingbird, and Hummingbird will be added to the list of ABA Marketplace Partners, which include other e-book and digital audiobook vendors.
ABA CEO Oren Teicher commented: "ABA is always interested in providing a selection of options for readers and book buyers to purchase digital titles from independent bookstores. We are pleased to have this new partnership with Hummingbird, which gives ABA member bookstores an additional choice for offering e-books to their customers."
Josh Mettee, co-founder of Hummingbird and a 25-year veteran of the book industry, pointed out: "Bookstores without an effective way to capture their existing customers' e-book business are subtly sending their customers to their major online competitor's program for e-book purchases. Besides missing revenue, there is the danger that the bookstore's loyal customers may be lured into buying print books from that competitor as well. Hummingbird is dedicated to working with independent bookstores in order to help them receive their fair share of the e-book market."
Mettee co-founded Hummingbird in 2015 with the aim of "democratizing e-book and audiobook retailing" by supplying organizations--including bookstores, publishers, nonprofits and others--free turnkey platforms for selling digital books.
In the week since Barnes & Noble announced it has set up a "formal review process to evaluate strategic alternatives for the company" after receiving multiple expressions of interest in buying the company--including from chairman Len Riggio--B&N's stock has jumped 33% and is now trading near its 52-week high. Yesterday it closed up 1%, at $7.27, a day the Dow Jones dropped 3.1%.
The stock price has risen steadily each day during the past week, with trading volume sometimes double and triple usual levels, and moving up even on days that most averages were down, as happened yesterday. As a result of the stock price gain, B&N's market capitalization has moved up to about $530 million and the dividend yield has fallen to about 9%.
Speculation continues that either Riggio or an investment company such as Schottenfeld Management Corp., headed by Richard Schottenfeld, will take the company private.
|Midtown Reader boarded up in preparation for the storm.|
Good news from Midtown Reader, Tallahassee, Fla., directly in the path of Hurricane Michael. Last night the store tweeted: "Midtown Reader seems to have survived the storm! We don't have any power currently, so we will definitely be closed again tomorrow (Thursday). Keep an eye on our page for updates. We hope all our Panhandle friends are safe out there!"
The store had closed on Tuesday at 3 p.m. to prepare for the storm.
Owners Kacey Wyttenhove and Katie Terhune came up with the idea for "a hybrid bookstore and tap house after finding no such place in the Twin Cities." Wyttenhove commented: "We kept wanting to find a place to go to work or read, something more laid back than a taproom or bar We're combining two of our passions, craft beer and books."
She added: "We want to be a community space where people from the neighborhood can come and hang out. People from other parts of the cities can get both books and craft beer in one location."
One side of the 1,500-square-foot space will have a long bookshelf selling new and used books. There will also be a community room for 10-15 people for book clubs and other groups. On its website, the owners say they believe "a bookstore should offer customers the opportunity to browse a diverse range of authors, literary genres and styles of writing."
To help fund the opening of the store, Cream & Amber launched an Indiegogo campaign that raised more than $11,000 of its $20,000 goal.
Scottish musician, author, actor, lecturer and bookseller Derek Watson, who "straddled these different worlds with an infectious charm and wicked sense of fun as he reveled in seemingly contrary passions," died September 17, the Herald reported. He was 69. Watson wrote several biographies of classical music composers and owned a bookshop in West Linton "where he lived for more than 20 years, with both he and the shop immortalized in a novel by Alexander McCall Smith."
As an author, Watson contributed several volumes to the Master Musicians book series, including works on Bruckner (1975) and Liszt (1989). He also wrote a major biography of Wagner (1979) and edited the Dictionary of Music Quotations (1991).
After he retired from the theater in 1994, Watson opened Linton Books and "the shop provided him with an alternative stage, 'playing' the proprietor of the shop to entertain customers," the Herald noted.
Friends, Lovers, Chocolate, McCall Smith's second novel in the Sunday Philosophy Club series, "found the book's heroine Isabel Dalhousie visiting Derek in his capacity as bookseller. The shop itself featured during the unraveling of the story's mystery."
The Heartland Fall Forum Quiz Bowl, sponsored by Phaidon, was held at Republic in Minneapolis, Minn. It was, as always, a spirited competition, won this year by the Raging Kittens. Pictured: (front and center) Kyle Curry (The Book Cellar, Chicago); (left) Zach Matelski and Devin Yarbrough (McLean & Eakin Booksellers, Petoskey, Mich.); (right) Norton rep David Mallman and Ingram rep Nancy Rohlen.
Congratulations to Copperfish Books, Punta Gorda, Fla., which earned first place in the Charlotte Sun Readers Choice Awards for Best Bookstore and was a finalist in the Cards & Stationery category.
"We love our community!" the store posted on Facebook. "Cathy [Graham] and Serena [Wyckoff] attended the Charlotte Sun Readers Choice Awards Banquet last night and went home with TWO honors! THANK YOU to all who voted for us, and to our wonderful staff for helping to make us Charlotte County's FAVORITE bookstore!"
|Literature vs. Traffic in Toronto (via)|
On Tuesday, October 23, a portion of Liberty Street in Ann Arbor, Mich., will be "paved" with a selection of 10,000 glowing books "to walk among and choose from" during Literature vs. Traffic, a public art installation that has previously been installed in Madrid, Toronto, Melbourne and New York, Ann Arbor News reported.
Luzinterruptus, an anonymous art collective based in Spain, is teaming up with the University of Michigan's Institute for the Humanities for the project. The books in the display were donated in by local residents, libraries and community organizations.
While the installation is in place, the public is free to walk among the books and take some home to preserve a small piece of the interactive artwork, according to UM Institute for the Humanities Curator Amanda Krugliak, who said, "It's incredibly exciting to host the project here, bringing Ann Arbor into an international conversation with other rich cultural centers. It reminds us we are a community that values knowledge, education and the arts--remaining open to diverse perspectives and new information that enlightens us."
Chicago's Women and Children First bookstore "has always had a clear mission: to promote women writers and serve women readers," Forbes wrote in an article featuring "a few strategies" that co-owners Sarah Hollenbeck and Lynn Mooney use to serve their customers and to remain open for almost 40 years:
They stay mission driven: "Oftentimes people think the more general you become, the more fish you can catch," said Hollenbeck. "I think the opposite is true for us. The reason we survived even when there was a Borders down the street from us, within walking distance of us, was because [the founders] Anne and Linda decided to stay niche and stay mission driven."
Mooney added: "We had in so many ways this wonderful legacy we were building on. The store we bought was one that always made one of their points of difference representation of all people.... It was engrained in me from the beginning that we want to have the most diverse representation, especially of LGBTQ materials, in the store. We wanted to support the writers who were writing those materials, the publishers who in those early days had the courage to publish those materials."
Mooney also seeks titles from small presses and nonprofits: "It's a much more time consuming process, but it's an investment we've always thought was well worth making. It was core to our mission and it also becomes a point of difference. If someone walks in our store, you will see books you won't see anywhere else."
Other keys to Women and Children First's success include:
Harry Potter: Creatures: A Paper Scene Book (Insight Kids).
Fresh Air: Vanessa Grigoriadis, author of Blurred Lines: Rethinking Sex, Power, and Consent on Campus (Eamon Dolan/Mariner, $15.99, 9781328511935).
CBS This Morning: John P. Carlin, author of Dawn of the Code War: America's Battle Against Russia, China, and the Rising Global Cyber Threat (PublicAffairs, $30, 9781541773837).
Good Morning America: Busy Philipps, author of This Will Only Hurt a Little (Touchstone, $26.99, 9781501184710).
HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher: Rebecca Traister, author of Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women's Anger (Simon & Schuster, $27, 9781501181795).
Book TV airs on C-Span 2 this weekend from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday and focuses on political and historical books as well as the book industry. The following are highlights for this coming weekend. For more information, go to Book TV's website.
Saturday, October 13
11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Coverage of the 2018 Wisconsin Book Festival in Madison, Wis. (Re-airs Sunday at 12 a.m.). Highlights include:
10 p.m. Gina Loudon, author of Mad Politics: Keeping Your Sanity in a World Gone Crazy (Regnery, $28.99, 9781621578031). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)
11 p.m. Kurt Schlichter, author of Militant Normals: How Regular Americans Are Rebelling Against the Elite to Reclaim Our Democracy (Center Street, $27, 9781546081951). (Re-airs Sunday at 5:45 p.m.)
Sunday, October 14
1 p.m. Carol Adams, author of Protest Kitchen: Fight Injustice, Save the Planet, and Fuel Your Resistance One Meal at a Time (Conari Press, $16.95, 9781573247436), at the Baltimore Book Festival in Baltimore, Md.
1:51 p.m. Bettye Blaize and Terrence Woods, authors of Doing Time with my Son: A Mother and Son's Enduring Love Through Incarceration (Full Circle Press, $24, 9780997603231), at the Baltimore Book Festival.
2:39 p.m. Chandra Talpade Mohanty and Linda Carty, authors of Feminist Freedom Warriors: Genealogies, Justice, Politics, and Hope (Haymarket Books, $18, 9781608468973), at the Baltimore Book Festival.
3:40 p.m. Charlene Carruthers, author of Unapologetic: A Black, Queer, and Feminist Mandate for Radical Movements (Beacon Press, $22, 9780807019412), at the Baltimore Book Festival.
4:32 p.m. William Anderson, author of As Black as Resistance: Finding the Conditions for Liberation (AK Press, $16, 9781849353168), at the Baltimore Book Festival.
7 p.m. Keach Hagey, author of The King of Content: Sumner Redstone's Battle for Viacom, CBS, and Everlasting Control of His Media Empire (HarperBusiness, $29.99, 9780062654090).
7:45 p.m. Shane Bauer, author of American Prison: A Reporter's Undercover Journey into the Business of Punishment (Penguin Press, $28, 9780735223585).
10 p.m. David Auerbach, author of Bitwise: A Life in Code (Pantheon, $27.95, 9781101871294).
11 p.m. Sean Wilentz, author of No Property in Man: Slavery and Antislavery at the Nation's Founding (Harvard University Press, $26.95, 9780674972223).
The National Book Foundation announced the finalists for this year's National Book Awards. The winners will be named November 14 at a benefit dinner and ceremony in New York City. This year's shortlisted titles are:
A Lucky Man by Jamel Brinkley (Graywolf Press)
Florida by Lauren Groff (Riverhead Books)
Where the Dead Sit Talking by Brandon Hobson (Soho Press)
The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai (Viking Books)
The Friend by Sigrid Nunez (Riverhead Books)
The Indian World of George Washington: The First President, the First Americans, and the Birth of the Nation by Colin G. Calloway (Oxford University Press)
American Eden: David Hosack, Botany, and Medicine in the Garden of the Early Republic by Victoria Johnson (Liveright)
Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth by Sarah Smarsh (Scribner)
The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke by Jeffrey C. Stewart (Oxford University Press)
We the Corporations: How American Businesses Won Their Civil Rights by Adam Winkler (Liveright)
Wobble by Rae Armantrout (Wesleyan University Press)
American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin by Terrance Hayes (Penguin Books)
Ghost Of by Diana Khoi Nguyen (Omnidawn Publishing)
Indecency by Justin Phillip Reed (Coffee House Press)
Eye Level by Jenny Xie (Graywolf Press)
Disoriental by Négar Djavadi, translated by Tina Kover (Europa Editions)
Love by Hanne Ørstavik, translated by Martin Aitken (Archipelago Books)
Trick by Domenico Starnone, translated by Jhumpa Lahiri (Europa Editions)
The Emissary by Yoko Tawada, translated by Margaret Mitsutani (New Directions Publishing)
Flights by Olga Tokarczuk, translated by Jennifer Croft (Riverhead Books)
Young People's Literature:
The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo (HarperTeen)
The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge by M.T. Anderson and Eugene Yelchin (Candlewick Press)
The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle by Leslie Connor (Katherine Tegen Books)
The Journey of Little Charlie by Christopher Paul Curtis (Scholastic Press)
Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka (Graphix)
Hachette Australia and the Emerging Writers' Festival have unveiled the shortlist for the 2018 Richell Prize for emerging writers, which was created in memory of former Hachette Australia CEO Matt Richell, who died in 2014 in a surfing accident. The winner, who will be announced on November 7, receives A$10,000 (about US$7,065) and mentoring from a Hachette publisher to help develop the work to publication. The shortlisted writers and their works are:
She Is Bright Light and All Brilliance by Mandy Beaumont
Pomegranate & Fig by Zoe Ghani
I Shot the Devil by Ruth McIver
The Shape of Sound by Fiona Murphy
Tempest and Other Stories by Fiona Robertson
Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, October 16:
An Unlikely Journey: Waking Up from My American Dream by Julian Castro (Little, Brown, $28, 9780316252164) is a memoir by the former mayor of San Antonio, Texas.
An Uncivil War: Taking Back Our Democracy in an Age of Trumpian Disinformation and Thunderdome Politics by Greg Sargent (Custom House, $26.99, 9780062698452) looks at structural problems in American democracy.
...And Then You Die of Dysentery: Lessons in Adulting from the Oregon Trail by Lauren Reeves and Jude Buffum (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $14.99, 9781328624390) shares life lessons from the classic Oregon Trail computer game.
The Pan-Industrial Revolution: How New Manufacturing Titans Will Transform the World by Richard D'Aveni (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28, 9781328955906) explores the future of industrial scale 3‑D printing.
Israeli Soul: Easy, Essential, Delicious by Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook (Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $35, 9780544970373) includes recipes inspired by Israeli street food.
Poe Won't Go by Kelly DiPucchio, illustrated by Zachariah OHora (Disney-Hyperion, $17.99, 9781484790595), features a large elephant who refuses to move from the center of the road.
Crown of Thunder by Tochi Onyebuchi (Razorbill, $17.99, 9780448493930) is the YA follow up to Beasts Made of Night.
What We Owe by Golnaz Hashemzadeh Bonde, translated by Elizabeth Jane Clark Wessel (Mariner, $15.99, 9781328995087) follows a terminally ill Iranian refugee.
Instant Pot Miracle 6 Ingredients or Less: 100 No-Fuss Recipes for Easy Meals Every Day by Ivy Manning (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $21.99, 9781328557124).
The Hate U Give, based on the YA novel by Angie Thomas, opens October 19. Amandla Stenberg stars as a girl who witnesses a fatal police shooting. A movie tie-in edition (Balzer + Bray, $18.99, 9780062871350) is available.
From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at IndieBound.org, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:
Miss Kopp Just Won't Quit: A Kopp Sisters Novel by Amy Stewart (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26, 9781328736512). "I have enjoyed Amy Stewart's Miss Kopp adventures since the beginning, and this fourth novel is just as good as the first. With a feminist edge and true historical details, Amy Stewart has brought Constance Kopp to life in such a well-developed and interesting manner; not only are the characters exemplary, but the story is grabbing and exciting as well. I hope this is not the end of Constance and her sisters, because World War I is on the brink and I think they would be the perfect small-town heroines for the fight." --Lauren Nopenz Fairley, Curious Iguana, Frederick, Md.
One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression Is Destroying Our Democracy by Carol Anderson (Bloomsbury, $27, 9781635571370). "Far from an isolated event, the 2016 election was the culmination of generations of efforts to prevent communities of color from taking part in elections and having the full weight of their votes counted. One Person, No Vote comes at a time when we need every piece of knowledge available to turn the tide of voter suppression and reclaim our democracy. Through exhaustive research deconstructing and explaining decades of policy, Carol Anderson provides a clear look at how laws were bent through the slow degradation of democracy and how circumstances can be righted once more." --Amanda Ibarra, Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, N.C.
A Hundred Small Lessons: A Novel by Ashley Hay (Washington Square Press, $16, 9781501165146). "This a beautifully written, important, quiet gem of a novel that takes hold of you and wends its way into your psyche. It tells the story of two families who live in the same house at different times in Brisbane, plumbing the relationships between mothers and children, husbands and wives. Marriage and motherhood are explored in-depth within the context of the story's rich character development. A Hundred Small Lessons is a welcome addition to the genre of thoughtful novels with much wisdom to offer the reader. I highly recommend this novel, whose life lessons will continue to live with me for years to come." --Sarajane Giddings, Blue Door Books, Cedarhurst, N.Y.
For Ages 4 to 8
What Can a Citizen Do? by Dave Eggers, illustrated by Shawn Harris (Chronicle, $17.99, 9781452173139). "Dave Eggers explores the meaning of citizenship in his newest picture book. Set against Shawn Harris's stunning cut-paper illustrations, each page suggests something that a citizen can do or be, and each page could be used as a launch pad for a class or family discussion. The book encourages participation in difficult conversations as well as practicing kindness to others. When it comes down to it, isn't that what citizenship is?" --Cathy Berner, Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, Tex.
For Ages 9 to 12
Dactyl Hill Squad by Daniel José Older (Arthur A. Levine, 9781338268812, $16.99) "This book walks the awesome tightrope of acknowledging that fantasy could not possibly create villains more horrifying than the true figures of history, while allowing kids to engage with the fantastic that makes those realities bearable. This book lets kids who rarely see themselves as the heroes of historical fiction to see themselves there, and shows them pieces of history that may have been left out of their history lessons. At the same time, it's a great adventure with a dynamic team at its core, who are a joy to meet and adventure with. And also? DINOSAURS!" --Katherine Ferguson, Harvard Book Store, Cambridge, Mass.
For Teen Readers
The War Outside by Monica Hesse (Little, Brown, $17.99, 9780316316699). "These teens couldn't be more different: Haruko, Japanese American, outgoing, popular, compliant; and Margot, German American, reclusive, mistrustful, analytical. But what they have in common is more important: they're very bright, observant members of families in turmoil, and in 1944 they're living in an internment camp for enemy aliens. A secret and unlikely friendship becomes a lifeline for both of them. Like Hesse's Girl in the Blue Coat, this riveting novel takes readers where we've never imagined going, with twists, turns, and startling intensity. The book is mesmerizing, empathetic, and incredibly timely in its treatment of injustice and fear of the other." --Banna Rubinow, the river's end bookstore, Oswego, N.Y.
[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]
No Quarter by John Jantunen (ECW Press, $16 paperback, 384p., 9781770412057, November 6, 2018)