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London Show Daily 18 April 2012

London Show Daily 18 April 2012

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Published by Publishers Weekly

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Published by: Publishers Weekly on Apr 17, 2012
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CEOs debateindustry future
s the publishing industry’sbusiness model sustain-able? That was thequestion for the LondonBook Fair’s 2012 CEOPanel, chaired by Association of American Publishers PresidentTom Allen. With the industryfacing “seismic change”, Allencharacterized his role at AAPas working with other globalorganizations to establish “rulesof the road” that would allowthe publishing industry tosurvive, and thrive – mainlythrough copyright advocacy andlegislative efforts. On that frontAllen acknowledged that 2012had yielded some “spectacularfailures”, namely, those of SOPA/PIPA, the controversial,publisher-backed copyrightlegislation in the US. It high-lighted, Allen noted, a newreality for publishers – they nowcompeted with new, bigindustries with sometimesdivergent business and legisla-tive agendas – Apple, Amazon,Google, and Microsoft.The first panellist to addressthe question of sustainabilitywas Donald Katz, CEO of digi-tal audio publisher Audible.com, now part of Amazon. Katzdrew on his experience as anauthor, with booksellers, as wellas in the transition of audio fromtapes and CDs to digital, observ-ing that the publishing businesshad always been in flux. He thenseized on a theme that’s becomepopular at this year’s Fair – thatpublishing must become moreconsumer-oriented. “Publishersshould never start anotherimprint,” he noted, saying thatimprints were inward facingmodels, and instead shouldfocus on “developing consumerbrands”. He also noted thatterritorial rights should go away.“It’s a global economy.”Katz was followed by JohnMitchinson, co-founder of Unbound, a reader-supportedfunding and publishingplatform. Mitchinson said thecurrent publishing model was“probably not sustainable,” inits current form, and added thatthere was a lot of “bad karma”in publishing. “Publishers liketo come here to parade theirinadequacy,” he quipped. Butpublishers had not done a badjob of delivering content, heobserved, as reading culture wasin fact surging. Nevertheless, hedescribed the publishingbusiness as “broken”, and as
Heralde honouredat LBF
authors. For Jorge is imperviousto censorship, bad reviews, non-existent sales – all the variousforms in which the serious triesto impose itself”.Herralde was, Thirlwellsaluted,
“El Editor, El Novel-ista, El Guapo!”El Editor
responded in a low-key fashion to “this unexpectedaward”, which had “a veryspecial value for me, as it is givenby my colleagues”. Publishing,he said, was among the “paths tohappiness”, and he talked of “the pleasure of accompanyingyoung debut authors through-out their brilliant careers”,including members of “theso-called
Generation, or,as they are known in Spain, theBritish Dream Team”, andof relaunching forgottenclassics. Herralde talked alsoof “intellectual explorations”and “beligerent series” fromSpain’s “turbulent years”.“Anyway,” he concluded, ashe thanked colleagues, friends,family and authors, who areclearly also friends and family,“there is no better profession forme than being a publisher”.
n “inside-out novel-ist, a nov-elist without anovel” who had“curated in onespace the mostacrobatic of British and Ameri-can novelists” washow Adam Thirl-well describedLondon Book FairLifetime Achieve-ment Award-win-ner Jorge Herralde. Thirlwell,25, with just two novels on theAnagrama list so far, painted aloving portrait of a man who“has the character of a novelist:he refuses to take seriously whatother people take seriously,which can be comforting for
For the latest fair coverage, go to www.publishersweekly.com/lbf and www.bookbrunch.co.uk
18 April 2012
Visit us at
Stand G470
Herralde (centre) with Thirlwell (left) and David Roche, LBF ChairContinues on page 3
Visit us at the ConstellationStand X735 in the Digital Zone of Earls Court 2
      C      O      N      T      I      N      E      N      T      S
      P      A      R      T      N      E      R      S
18 APRIL 2012
n what looks to be one of the biggest dollar figuredeals coming out of theLondon Book Fair so far,Amanda Cook at Crowntook North American rights,for a rumored seven figures, toa non-fiction title called
by Christian Rudder,one of the founders of the datingWeb site OkCupid.com.Chris Parris-Lamb at theGernert Company brokeredthe deal, and Cook won NorthAmerican rights to the titleafter emerging at the top of a10-bidder auction. Parris-Lambconfirmed that the book waspre-empted in the Netherlands,and that a UK auction was underway. Describing the book,Parris-Lamb said itwould be “awitty, provocative, visually fas-cinating look at how ‘big data’ istransforming our understandingof race, politics, age, beauty,sex, humour, even history, andushering in a new era in thestudy of human nature”. Parris-Lamb added that Rudder was“interested in using big data tounderstand ourselves, ratherthan to sell ourselves”.Rudder graduated fromHarvard in 1998 and, withthree classmates, launchedSparkNotes. The website, whichwas initially called TheSpark.com, was ultimately bought byBarnes & Noble. With the samefriends behind SparkNotes –Chris Coyne, Sam Yagan andMax Krohn – Rudder went on tolaunch OkCupid, which sold toIAC for a reported $50 million.At OkCupid, which wasprofiled in Nick Paumgarten’s
New Yorker
piece about onlinedating, Rudder oversees thepopular blog OKTrends. For theblog, Rudder, whose work washighlighted in Paumgarten’sstory, mines the site’s mathemat-ical data and offers amusingtakes on the numbers. (OkCu-pid provides, among otherthings, percentage breakdownsof how members match up basedon the answers they provide tooptional questions posed by thesite.) Rudder also plays in theband Bishop Allen and appearedin the mumblecore film
FunnyHa Ha
, which was directedby fellow Harvard alumnusAndrew Buljalski.
Crown secures seven-figure dealwith OkCupid co-founderCEOs debate industry future
As Harlequin expands moreheavily into non-fiction, thepublisher has announced adeal with the creators of thepopularYouTube series, Sh*tGirls Say, Kyle Humphreyand Graydon Sheppard.Thevideos, which mock behaviorsome might consider ste-reotypically feminine, havedrawn over 28 million views,and accompany aTwitteraccount that has over1 million followers.Thebook will feature full-colourpictures and, as Harlequinput it, will “capture the hilari-ous essence of silly everydayphrases used by women”.Deborah Brody acquiredworld rights to the bookfrom Simon Greene at CAA,and Harlequin is planning torelease the title in hardcoverin October 2012.
Sh*t book toHarlequin
To contact the London Show Daily at theFair with your news, visit us at the PublishersWeekly stand G470
Reporting for
Nicholas Clee and Liz Thomson
Reporting for
Publishers Weekly 
Andrew Albanese, Rachel Deahl and Jim MilliotProject Management: Joseph MurrayLayout and Production: Heather McIntyreEditorial Co-ordinator (UK): Marian Sheil
To subscribe to
Publishers Weekly 
, call 800-278-2991or go to www.publishersweekly.comSubscribe to
via www.bookbrunch.co.ukor email editor@bookbrunch.co.uk
London Show Daily 
produced by Jellyfish Print Solutions 01489 897373
madness, where books failed toearn out advances, retailers gothigh discounts, and publisherslied to authors about how welltheir books were doing. LikeKatz, Mitchinson also peggedthe problem as a lack of connec-tion to readers, as publishershave traditionally outsourcedthat “critical piece” of the valuechain to retailers. He urged amodel “that brings readers andwriters together”, and that wasformat neutral.Next up, George Lossius,CEO of Publishing Technology,said he had come to the conclu-sion six years ago that the pub-lishing model was not sustain-able, and begun investing in“change”. He also addressed therole of government, raised inAllen’s introduction.“I do think government playsa role, we can’t descend intolawlessness, but good businessdoes not rely on government,”he said. “Don’t worry about leg-islation, lobbying,” he said,“most of those actions are defen-sive”. The danger, he said, wasthat publishers waited on gov-ernment outcomes before decid-ing what path to take. He notedthat while publishing continuedto be profitable, profits woulddiminish, because the digital agewas “content greedy”. It is aboutnew ideas, new discovery, newsearch, new networks – and anew audience. “The digital ageoffers a vastly larger audience,”he observed, “but not necessar-ily from books, but sometimesfrom things that come frombooks.” Paper books may haveserved us for 100 years – butthe age of formats survivingthat long was over, Lossius said,noting the future would be oneof constant change, new prod-ucts, and new business modelscoming ad infinitum.Closing was Bloomsbury’sRichard Charkin, who added awitty touch, “sort of agreeing”with his fellow panellists whilenoting that the session’s ques-tion was wrong. The questionwas not whether the currentpublishing model was sustain-able, but was it desirable? “Witha print book, between manufac-ture and purchase, it is handledon average 24 times. Now theprice might be $5, $10. Nothingcan support 24 handlings of a $5product.” Publishing in the digi-tal age had the opportunity tocreate a new, environmentallyand economically sound model,he noted, without the frustrationof “piling up 10,000 books inTesco only to have 9,000shipped back.”But the real problem wasnot with the models, he stressed,but with the practices we under-stood, and shared. “Trust is amore powerful weapon thanthe law, and we’re in danger of losing it.”
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