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London

Wednesday 15 April 2015

NEW from
Robert Kiyosaki

visit pW and Bookbrunch at stand 6C91

8
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for Entrepreneurs

LBF International
Excellence Awards–
2015 winners
Peter Usborne, founder and
MD of Usborne Books, was
last night presented with the
London Book Fair/Publishers
Association Lifetime
Achievement Award.
The veteran children’s
publisher was among a
number of distinguished
international figures honoured
at the second London Book
Fair International
Excellence Awards, which
shone a spotlight on some
of the 67 countries
represented at the Fair while
also acknowledging the
contribution of such trade
stalwarts as CUP and SAGE.
Nigeria took the laurels
for Copyright Protection,
YPSA (Young Power in
Social Action) of Bangladesh
the Accessible Books
Consortium Award for
Accessible Publishing, and
Croatia’s Fraktura the
Bookseller’s International
Trade Publisher Award.

New York-based non-profit
Library for All picked
up The International
Education Initiatives
Award for its work helping
people in developing
countries “lift themselves
out of poverty through
education”.
Judges identified Belgian
publishers as some of the
world’s most innovative in
children’s and educational
publishing: Clavis Publishing
won the International Trade
Children’s and Young
Adult Publisher category
and was commended for
its “innovation” and
“brilliant international
sales and marketing”. And
Uigeverij Van In won the
International Educational
Learning Resources
Award for its digital
learning platform Bingel,
which takes children on
an educational tour of
fantasy islands.

An opening day scramble as Fair-goers try to get their
bearings in the revamped Olympia.

The winners in full:
The International Literary Agent
Award
Nicole Witt, Literarische Agentur
Mertin Inh (Germany)
The Award for Best Use of IP
across Multiple Media Platforms
Mojang (Sweden)
The International Literary
Translation Initiative Award
Asymptote Journal (Singapore)
The International Academic and
Professional Publisher Award
SAGE (US)
The International Education
Initiatives Award
Library for All (US)
The International Educational
Continues on page 3 g

inside:
LIZ THOMSON
TO LEAVE
BOOKBRUNCH

HARPERCOLLINS
PARTY
PHOtos

Rights
round-up
LBF Deals

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Stand 2C80

Wednesday 15 April 2015
f Continued from page 1

london show daily
Also hosted on the night was a selection of awards held in
association with The London Book Fair:

Learning Resources Award
Uigeverij Van In (Belgium)
The Bookseller International Adult Trade Publisher Award
Fraktura (Croatia)
The International Trade Children’s and Young Adult Publisher Award
Clavis Publishing (Belgium)
The Publishers Association Copyright Protection Award
Nigerian Publishers Association (Nigeria)
The Mexico Market Focus Outstanding Contribution Award
Daniel Hahn, British Centre for Literary Translation (UK)
The Market Focus Achievement Award
Sharjah International Book Fair (UAE)
The Publishers Weekly International Book Industry Technology Supplier
Award
BooXtream (Netherlands)

The Publishing for Digital Minds Innovation Award
Gojimo
The Association for Publishing Education Dissertation and Project
Prizes
Best Dissertation for a Postgraduate: Nigel Graves (Anglia Ruskin)
Best Dissertation for an Undergraduate: Sarah Wild (Oxford Brookes)
Best Overall Project: Victoria Love (Anglia Ruskin)
Accessible Books Consortium Award for Accessible Publishing: Initiative
Young Power in Social Action, YPSA (Bangladesh)
Accessible Books Consortium Award for Accessible Publishing: Publisher
Cambridge University Press (UK)
The London Book Fair Lifetime Achievement Award
Peter Usborne

EU Prizes winners
announced

Liz Thomson to step down
from BookBrunch

The latest winners of the European Prizes for Literature,
each worth €5,000, were announced at LBF yesterday. They
are Carolina Schutti (Austria); Luka Bekavac (Croatia); Gaëlle
Josse (France); Edina Szvoren (Hungary); Donal Ryan (Ireland);
Lorenzo Amurri (Italy); Undine Radzeviciute (Lithuania); Ida
Hegazi Høyer (Norway); Magdalena Parys (Poland); David
Machado (Portugal); Svetlana Žuchová (Slovakia); and Sara
Stridsberg (Sweden). Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner
for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, said: “This is the
only book award dedicated to the best up-and-coming
authors from all over Europe, regardless of their country of
origin or language. With this prize and our continued support
for translations of literary works, we are helping literature
cross borders and enabling readers to enjoy the wealth of
writing talent we have. This is crucial: literature opens the
mind, allowing us to come closer together and understand
each other better, which is now more vital than ever.”

Liz Thomson–founding
editor of BookBrunch and
a familiar figure in the
British and American book
trade following a career
spanning more than 30
years– is to step down from
her role after the London
Book Fair in order to
devote more time to her
musical interests.
“I remain fascinated by
the book trade but want to
liberate myself from dayLiz Thomson
to-day news deadlines,”
Thomson said. “I’ve always been more interested in
long-form commentary and, in particular, interviews
with book trade figures, and my work in that regard
made Publishing News distinctive back in the day. The
hundreds of interviews I wrote between 1984 and 2008
were a living history of the book trade.” She said that
she was also interested in taking on “appropriate
editing projects”.
Thomson added: “My musical passions have for
too long been subjugated to the demands of my
publishing career and I’ve reached a point in my life
where I feel that must change.” She is planning a music
festival, to take place in Greenwich Village and backed by
the Mayor of New York, called Bringing It All Back
Home, a celebration of the 1960s folk revival .
Eric Green, CEO of BookBrunch and Business
Development Director of BDS, said: “Liz Thomson’s
contribution to BookBrunch has been immense and her
skills and knowledge of the publishing industry are
second to none. We wish her well in her new endeavours
and BookBrunch will continue to commission Liz for
appropriate in-depth articles in the future.”

To contact London Show Daily at the
Fair with your news, visit us on the
Publishers Weekly stand 6C91
Reporting for BookBrunch by
Nicholas Clee and Liz Thomson
Reporting for Publishers Weekly by
Andrew Albanese, Rachel Deahl and Jim Milliot
Project Management: Joseph Murray
Layout and Production: Heather McIntyre
Editorial Co-ordinator (UK): Marian Sheil Tankard

For a FREE digital trial to Publishers Weekly go to
publishersweekly.com/freetrial
For the digital edition of the LBF Show Daily or to download the PW app, go to digital.publishersweekly.com
Subscribe to BookBrunch via www.bookbrunch.co.uk
or email editor@bookbrunch.co.uk

Liz Thomson can be contacted at 07799 503414 and on
elizabethmthomson@googlemail.com.

3

london show daily

The changing scholarly
publisher
Midway through a wideranging discussion at The
Faculty on what an academic
publisher is today, writes
Andrew Albanese, moderator
Audrey McCulloch (CEO,
ALPSP) asked a pointed
question: for all its ambitious
goals, has open access
publishing so far just made
scholarly publishing more
Steven Inchcoombe and Michael
complicated? “Hell yes,”
Cairns
responded Martin Wolf
(Research Support Lead at University of Liverpool).
From “porous” paywalls, to “freemium” content, to new
models and the future of libraries as funders of research, a
panel of experts, also including Michael Cairns (CEO
Publishing Technology), Steven Inchcoombe (Managing
Director of Nature Publishing Group and Palgrave
Macmillan), and Steve Scott (Head of Research Tools at
Digital Science) ran down some of the top trends in academic
publishing. But despite a flurry of tech-driven changes,
publishing had not been “disrupted,” said Scott (who bristled
at the oft-overused word) but rather “enhanced”.
While technology and advances such as open access had
brought challenges and new obstacles, Inchcombe closed the
session with some important perspective. “Open access is only
a part of the open science and open research movement,” he
said, cautioning the audience not to lose sight of the “pivotal,
longer term” goal: improving scientific research.
“Science is the ultimate massively collaborative enterprise,”
Inchcoombe said. “The purpose of open access is to enable
that better.”

Navarro’sThree Minutes draws interest
On the heels of a major book deal with Scribner and a film
option, interest in Joe Navarro’s Three Minutes to Doomsday
has sparked among international publishers. The book, by
the former FBI agent and bestselling author (What Everybody
Is Saying and Louder Than Words), is being written with
Howard Means, and was nabbed a few weeks before LBF by
the S&S imprint in a substantial six-figure pre-empt, for North
American rights. Smokehouse Films, the production company
backed by George Clooney and Grant Heslov (which has been
behind The Monuments Men and Argo, among others), has
now optioned the book. In Three Minutes, Navarro, a body
language expert, chronicles his attempt to stop a double agent
from passing secrets during the Cold War.The book has just
gone out on submission to international publishers and, at
press time, David Doerrer, Abrams Artists’ Director of Foreign
Rights, confirmed that an offer had come in from the UK
and that there was “a lot of interest percolating elsewhere”.

4

Wednesday 15 April 2015

Ingram adds Korea to
Global Alliance; inks deal
with PRH
The Ingram Content Group has added another member to
its Global Connect alliance, reaching an agreement with
South Korea’s Korean Studies Information Co Ltd. KSI is
one of Korea’s largest digital printing services and also has
relationships with distributors that reach 2,300 accounts,
including online, chain and independent booksellers,
universities and government organisations.
Through Ingram’s Global Connect, publishers wishing
to distribute content in South Korea can sign up for the
programme with Ingram through its Lightning Source
division. Ingram has previously established Global
Connect locations in Brazil, Germany, Poland and Russia.
“We are pleased to be Ingram’s first Global Connect
partner in the region and that our work together will
help more books reach readers in the Asian market,” said
Jong-jun Chae, CEO and representative director, KSI.
In a separate deal, Ingram announced that Penguin
Random House (PRH) UK is to extend its use of Ingram’s
digital asset management and delivery platform
CoreSource, offered through Lightning Source, to manage
content and deliver e-content worldwide.
PRH will roll out the CoreSource platform, which
Penguin currently uses, to its UK publishing offices as well
as to international offices in Australia, India, New Zealand
and South Africa. Among other CoreSource clients are
Canongate, Hachette UK, Pearson, Taylor & Francis,
and Workman.

Tuttle-Mori takes on Owls sub-agenting
Japan’s Owls Agency has transferred its sub-agenting
department to theTuttle-Mori Agency.The move was
agreed earlier this month by the President and proprietor
of each translation agent. Seiichiro Shimono, President of
Owls Agency, its directors and staff, will continue to
concentrate on business in other divisions within the
agency, and are only transferring the literary translation
side toTuttle-Mori.

Patterson–more grants
James Patterson has announced the second round of
independent bookshops in the UK and Ireland to receive
grants following his pledge last year to donate £250,000.
Grants totalling £120,000 have gone to 68 bookshops in
the UK and Ireland, funding ventures ranging from
refurbishment and expansion of children’s sections, to
organising a bedtime reading project and pyjama day, to
creating a mobile “book bus”, as well as more mundane
task such as carpet replacement.

london show daily

Wednesday 15 April 2015

HarperCollins LBF party at Home House

HarperCollins CEO Charlie Redmayne (right) with Craig Swinwood of
Harlequin Mills & Boon

Scout Jane Southern (centre) with agents Clare Alexander (left) and
Sophie Hicks

Christopher Little with David Campbell of Everyman
Elizabeth Sheinkman of WME with her husband, Jamie
Byng of Canongate

Agents Felicity Bryan and Andrew Nurnberg

6

Ed Victor (centre) with Michael Morrison (left) and Colin Hughes of HarperCollins

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Wednesday 15 April 2015

Rights round up
In a deal closed on the eve of the London Book Fair, Oberlin College

Paul Baggaley at Picador has signed EVERYONE IS WATCHING by

professor DeSales Harrison has sold his debut novel, THE WATERS

Megan Bradbury, a UEA creative writing graduate (but no relation to

AND THE WILD, to Kate Medina at Penguin Random House (PRH) for

the founder of the course, Malcolm Bradbury). Picador has world

seven figures. PRH signed the novel in a two-book deal from Bill Clegg

English language rights from Sophie Lambert at Conville & Walsh, and

at the Clegg Agency. The Water and the Wild is about a psychiatrist who

will publish in summer 2016. Baggaley said: “I first met Megan at UEA

starts to believe that his client’s death may not have been suicide. In a

on a publisher visit last year and was aware from an early draft that she

submission letter, Clegg called it “a brilliantly choreographed and

has a unique voice, and one which I found irresistible. I can’t wait to

spellbinding tale of desperate fathers, stolen daughters, and the distance

start working on bringing this book to a wide readership.” The book

we travel for revenge and absolution”.

tells the story of New York through the geniuses that have inhabited it–
among them, Walt Whitman, Robert Moses, Robert Mapplethorpe, and

Natalie Jerome and Carolyn Thorne at Thorsons have signed a self-help

Edmund White.

guide for women, WE (March 2016), by actress Gillian Anderson and
Jennifer Nadel. Thorsons has UK and Commonwealth rights (exc

Granta has announced a new book by Diana Athill, 97-year-old author

Canada) from Claire Conrad at Janklow & Nesbit “following a hotly

of acclaimed memoirs including Stet and Instead of a Letter. Bella Lacey

contested nine-publisher auction”. Anderson said: “We is a call-out to

has signed world rights in ALIVE, ALIVE OH! AND OTHER THINGS

all women around the world–and by women I include girls, transgender,

THAT MATTER from Rebecca Carter at Janklow & Nesbit. Granta

anyone who identifies themselves as being intrinsically female. It’s a

will publish in autumn 2016. Athill, a distinguished former publisher at

reminder that we are all linked by the fact that we are female and that

Andre Deutsch, will reflect on the things that really matter and sustain

we need to stick together and stand up for each other and not compete

her as she approaches the age of 100.

against each other.” Jerome said that Thorsons had “hugely ambitious”
plans for the book, and added: “We is one of those rare books that

Rachel Cusk, shortlisted for the Folio and Goldsmiths and now the

comes along and just absolutely knocks your socks off and reminds you

Baileys Prize, is moving from Faber to Harvill Secker in “a major

why publishing matters.” Judith Curr at Atria will publish in the US.

publishing deal”. Michal Shavit at Harvill Secker bought UK and
Commonwealth rights (exc Canada) from Sarah Chalfant at the Wylie
Agency to the paperback of OUTLINE (published in hardback by
Faber), and to two further novels. The three books will form a trilogy.
Vintage will publish the paperback of Outline on 7 May, with
TRANSIT coming from Harvill Secker in September 2016. Shavit said:
“It is a huge honour and privilege to welcome Rachel Cusk to the

Putting your business,
in your hands:

Harvill Secker list. Rachel is without a doubt one of the most daring
and talented writers at work today.”
On the eve of the London Book Fair, Philip Gwyn Jones of Scribe UK
bought THE SACRED COMBE by debut novelist Thomas Maloney, an

Visit our stand 7K30 at the
London Book Fair to learn more
about our browser-based apps.

asset fund manager and Oxford physics graduate.
Scribe has world rights in a pre-emptive deal through Louise
Greenberg, and will publish in spring 2016. The Sacred Combe is
about a broken young man who leaves his City life for the task of
combing a vast and venerable library in a country pile for a crucial
lost letter. Jones said: “It excites me hugely, even if it is undeniably
unshowy and even old-fashioned (it reminded me most of The Secret
Garden, were it rewritten by John Fowles)–a gorgeous emotional
mystery puzzle of a novel, beguiling and allusive, with Coleridge and
Chatterton in its hinterland.”
Pan Macmillan has announced a new book by Lord Sugar for autumn
2015. Ingrid Connell signed world rights directly from the author.
The title of the book, which will centre on Lord Sugar’s experiences
filming The Apprentice, will be crowdsourced from his 4 million
Twitter followers. Connell said: “It’s very exciting to be publishing
another book by Lord Sugar, and on a subject his fans have been
asking him to write about for years. As you’d expect, this is full of

www.klopotek.com

8

insights, nuggets of business wisdom and cracking stories that will
make you laugh out loud.”

Wednesday 15 April 2015

london show daily

Stop the press! No, wait… don’t!
Say the word “millennials” and many publishers
will immediately wriggle uncomfortably in their
seats, writes Michael Cairns. After all, how
can you possibly sell books to consumers
who, if you believe the generalisations, don’t
read, refuse to sit still, exist in a permanent
state of distraction and spend all their leisure
time flitting between YouTube, Twitter and
Snapchat, leap frogging from device to device?
This young demographic makes up
approximately 25% of the US population and
Michael Cairns
commands an influential degree of spending
power, on average $200bn a year. Even before the term
“millennials” was coined, the book industry had been scratching
its collective scalp trying to make sense of this generation of
so-called digital natives: how often they read; in which format;
where they shop; how they share recommendations with friends.
Staying ahead of the curve, and evolving to ensure our relevance
to this audience, has become a significant focus, as has second
guessing the technological trends that will inevitably catch
the millennials in their undertow, wave after wave.

Savvy customers
Millennials are often seen as savvy and shrewd in their
purchasing decisions. With a shared awareness, or even distrust,
of overt marketing techniques, they instantly detect when a
brand message is inauthentic or when brands are simply trying to
be “down with the kids”. In this market, you have to be genuine,
because when you’re not you are punished by a lack of sales, or
worse yet public crucifixion. On the surface of it, making your
offering appealing to millennials can be a long, hard slog.
As with any other brand in any other industry, publishers
know that to attract the custom, engagement, and–especially
lucrative–loyalty of millennials is incredibly valuable now
and for the future. However attempting to woo them can be
far easier to get wrong than right.
The first problem lies in the fact that much of what we know
about this audience is based on speculation. We are quick to
assume that as early adopters of technology their world is
exclusively online, that they are too immersed in cyberspace
and the latest shiny new toys to care much for print books,
or to put their tablets down to venture over to their local
public library or bookstore. But they do.
At the end of March, we conducted research on millennial
reading habits, which we presented at the Designing Books for
Tomorrow’s Readers conference in New York. It concluded that
across the US almost twice as many millennials read a book in
print, as read an ebook on any given device in the last year. The
study revealed that millennials would prefer to acquire their printed
books from public libraries and physical bookstores, as opposed
to online retailers. And when it came to how they discover new
books, it found that finding and sharing was all about word-ofmouth, and not social media as one might have presumed.

Millennial readers don’t read significantly less
than other generations and, for the most part,
they don’t read all that differently. They get their
books in the same formats and in the same way
as other people–choosing their reading material
based on interactions in the offline world as
well as the online world. So we concluded that
millennial reading habits are more or less in line
with those of other generations. Now the big
question is what does this mean for publishers?
First and foremost, the main takeaway from
this study is that publishers can reach and sell
books to millennials in pretty much the same way as any other
generation. Millennials may want choice and accessibility,
shorter content forms, and content that genuinely reflects and
enhances their lives, but that hasn’t led them away from print
books or bookstores.

Omni-channel
Some publishers understand what it takes to reach these
sophisticated readers using the wealth of channels now
available, and they get it right. Pan Macmillan’s sci-fi imprint
Tor is an example of a publisher that is very much in tune
with its millennial readership, so much so that it has
successfully established itself at the centre of worldwide
millennial sci-fi and fantasy communities with Tor.com. Far
beyond its own publishing output, it engages with its
readership in a refreshing way, offering taster extracts,
interviews and unique access to authors. At the same time, it
acts as an ambassador of the genre and connects the world of
books with movies and gaming spheres. But many struggle to
connect with young consumers in such a meaningful way.
Do we need a strategy for millennials? Yes, without a doubt.
The first step is to develop a better understanding of this
demographic and learn about how they want to consume
content. Then to look at the content being produced, how it is
being delivered and whether it matches the expectations and
desires of this audience. It is vital to focus on remaining
authentic while delivering quality product throughout, but
don’t let the pursuit of millennial appeal lead you astray
and stay true to your core brand values.
By all means innovate and push boundaries to capture
imaginations and chase that discerning dollar. And if that
means organising the world’s first Snapchat book launch
go ahead. But it is imperative to avoid neglecting one medium
or avenue in favour of another–that is a dangerous game. The
phrase “publish or perish” is particularly appropriate when
it comes to millennials. Being “omni-channel”, and making
sure your content is available and discoverable in every
format, on and offline, should always be the priority.

Michael Cairns is CEO at Publishing Technology. To learn more about
Publishing Technology’s millennial reading habits survey please visit
www.publishingtechnology.com/research.

9

london show daily

Wednesday 15 April 2015

A “Golden Age” for publishing
As 21st-century readers become increasingly connected and
audiences globalised, we see a huge opportunity for our authors
in what could and should be a “Golden Age” for publishing,
writes Charlie Redmayne. By representing and positioning
authors, and their brands, in a coordinated and coherent way
across multiple territories, creating a unified release programme
and harmonising marketing strategies, publishers can make a
big author brand or book launch even bigger.
The music industry has recently announced a move to
worldwide release dates and big movie franchises have long
known the power of a global marketing programme. As
publishers, we too must consider how we can harmonise our
expertise to help authors to grow readership and strengthen
brand identity across global markets.
At HarperCollins, we are constantly innovating because we
have a desire and a drive to ensure our stories reach as many
readers as possible, in as many formats as possible. This is
fundamental to our publishing. Our vision is to create united
and coherent global messages; we want to add value to our
authors, amplify their voices, and ensure their content is
unbeatable and can reach readers across the world. This
requires a global company, operating on a global scale.

However, the question is this: How do we best add value to
our authors through our global scale? At HarperCollins we have
transformed the way we operate. By working alongside our
international colleagues on recent acquisitions including Wilbur
Smith, Patricia Cornwell and Agatha Christie’s Monogram
Murders by Sophie Hannah we have been able to share knowledge
and market success, and grow the authors’ brand and sales.
With one clear global focus, publishers from individual
territories work as one team creating a worldwide package for
each author; one that is coherent enough to provide a powerful
publishing framework, but with the flexibility to allow for
freedom of local expression and subtly different executions.
Our publishing is coordinated to include a unified approach to
pricing, format and scheduling, whilst the sharing of marketing
assets, social media strategies and the visual creative engages an
entire global audience, amplifies the author’s voice and grows
readership in both the short and long term.
The publication of Wilbur Smith’s Desert God across
HarperCollins US, UK, Canada and ANZ in September 2014
illustrates the potential behind the strategy; Desert God became
the number one bestseller in the UK and in ANZ, with a 50%
increase in physical sales in the UK. It was also the number two

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Wednesday 15 April 2015

bestseller in Canada with increased week-on-week sales, and in
the US Desert God was Wilbur Smith’s fastest selling title since
2001–sales were up 84% on his previous book.
HarperCollins’ acquisition of Harlequin is a key part of our
global strategy and the next step in the development of our
foreign-language publishing programme. For the first time
HarperCollins will publish across multiple territories in
foreign-language markets, working with our existing teams,
and sales and distribution channels in each country to further
extend the reach of our global authors. HarperCollins authors
can now benefit from our unique ability to lay down sameday publishing in 17 languages and 18 countries.
Meanwhile our HarperCollins 360 global publishing
programme, which already encompasses HarperCollins
Publishing in the UK, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand
and India, saw success in 2014. Harper360’s aim is to make
books published by any division of HarperCollins worldwide
available in print or digital formats for all English-language
markets, so the catalogue is limited only by rights held, not
technology or geography. It aims to make HarperCollins’ full
catalogue available to consumers, using digital platforms as
well as regional warehousing with on-site printing machines.

london show daily

We see this as a great opportunity for our authors; the
programme gives us power, flexibility and the broadest
possible reach across the world, regardless of where the book
originates. In the UK for example American Sniper, a title
brought in from the US, held the UK number one spot for
seven straight weeks with Nielsen BookScan TCM figures of
109,000; equally One Direction titles sold 158,000 in the US
as part of the 360 programme. More recently we have seen
the incredible flexibility of the programme as we were able to
bring Eat. Nourish. Glow. by Amelia Freer to the US after a
surge in demand following Sam Smith eulogising about the
author on social media.
As we come to LBF, we now operate as a truly global company.
In an increasingly international market, we as an industry have
to change the way we operate by diversifying our skill sets, and
engaging with new ideas and models. At HarperCollins we go
forward with the scale and the potential to grow the profile of
our authors in every country and language across the globe.
This is a truly remarkable opportunity and we look forward to
helping our authors expand their international reach,
readership and popularity.

Charlie Redmayne is CEO of HarperCollins UK.

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11

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Wednesday 15 April 2015

Ebook sales level off
The growth of ebooks experienced a hiatus in 2014, while sales of print books
stabilised, but no one knows how long this period of relative stability will last.
Jonathan Nowell explains
In the UK between March 2013 and
November 2014, the percentage of book
buyers using tablets for whatever purpose
doubled, and two-thirds of UK adults now
use smart phones. Two-thirds of tablet
users and one half of smartphone users
claim to have read at least one book on
these devices, but it is also true to say that
reading books represents a low percentage
of consumer engagement with these
devices. The story was very different only a
few years ago when the book buyer’s device
of choice was the e-reader, a device
specifically designed for the consumption
of ebooks. E-reader device sales and
e-reader usage is now in decline, a decline
that is accelerating as, to a large extent,
tablet and, to lesser extent, smart phone
use for digital reading increases.
But it is also worth noting that five years
ago the biggest barrier to consumer
adoption of e-reading was: “The books I
want to read aren’t available.” Our
research today tells us that the biggest
barrier to reading ebooks is the consumer’s
preference for printed books. As a result we
have seen in both the UK and the US (the

Nielsen’s Books & Consumers UK 2012-2014

12

Nielsen Books Understanding the UK Digital Consumer 2014

“Print is preferred
when the price
points are similar
or when buying a
favoured author.”

most mature digital markets) in 2014 an
unambiguous hiatus in the growth of
ebooks–although still substantially up on
2013, particularly in the non-fiction and
children’s books categories–and a
stabilisation of print sales.
Many consumers, particularly heavy
book buyers, buy both print and digital
books. They tend to favour ebooks when
cheaper; when they contain extra features;
and for riskier reads–whether that is an
unknown author or erotica (the jacket for
which they don’t want to display to
others). Print is preferred when the price
points are similar; when buying a favoured
author; buying with a view to lending the
book to a friend, something that has not
yet been made easy in the digital world; or
buying a gift. In the UK, we see a distinct
drop in the proportion of ebook sales in
the fourth quarter of the year, as
consumers turn to print books as
Christmas gifts.
In general the adult attitudinal
preference towards ebooks in 2012 has, in
2015, shifted back to print books. These
shifts in attitudinal preference correlate
with Nielsen BookScan sales data in 2014,

Wednesday 15 April 2015

london show daily

“Many
consumers,
particularly heavy
book buyers...
tend to favour
ebooks when
cheaper; when
they contain
extra features;
and for riskier
reads.”

where we see US print book sales returning
to growth and UK print sales reducing their
decline to -2%. All of these factors seem to
point towards a period of normalisation–
the novelty of the ebook is wearing off and
print has an enduring appeal.
At our Nielsen Children’s Book Summit in
New York, in December last year, we ran
some teenage focus groups in the 14-17 age
range. It was clear from what they were
saying that this age group has a very
pragmatic approach to the print versus
digital debate: they like physical books for
reading for pleasure and ebooks for school
work–with many doing their homework on
a device on their way to school! A book–a
physical object–enhances social capital;
others can see what they are reading whereas on a digital
device they cannot.
Our research tells us most buyers of ebooks also buy
print. A significant proportion (around a third of UK
ebook buyers) sometimes buys both print and e-editions of
the same book–echoing the purchase of much loved music

already owned in analogue. A quarter of
ebook consumers buy print versions of
books they first bought as ebooks, and
about a fifth claim to buy both formats at
the same time.
No one knows how long this period of
relative stability will last. This depends on a
number of factors including the resilience of
online and offline book retail; the rate of
consolidation of large publishers; the appetite
of the technology giants to persist with the
vagaries of publishing; government policy;
the next technology driven disrupter; and
most importantly, the continued appetite of
the consumer to pay for the content that
authors and publishers create. The wisest will
use this period of calm to better understand
the book consumer in order to prepare for and, hopefully,
influence the inevitable changes to come.

Sources: Nielsen Book’s Understanding the UK Digital Consumer 2014;
Nielsen’s Books & Consumers UK.
Jonathan Nowell is President of Nielsen Book.

13

Wednesday 15 April 2015

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In his 1960s stand-up
routine, Woody Allen used to
joke about being offered a
vodka commercial. As Allen
described it, the vodka brand
had originally wanted Noël
Coward in the advert, but he
was not available, because
he had acquired the rights to
“My Fair Lady” and was
removing the music and lyrics
to turn it back into Pygmalion. Duncan Calow
The opposite has been taking place in the world of fan
fiction. Works picked up for professional publication have
been reverse-engineered to remove elements from the sources
that originally inspired them. It’s a process that’s also been
called “filing off the serial numbers”–which gives a flavour
of the legal sensitivities involved in the genre.
Readers of this article may just be familiar with a certain
bestselling trilogy of novels, the first of which was recently
adapted into a feature film and released on Valentine’s Day this
year. Even if said readers normally eschew such hanky-panky,
they will be well aware of the trilogy’s impact. Other high-profile
publications created originally as fan fiction have followed: from
those also based on the well-known Twilight series to a collegeromance inspired by pop band One Direction, demonstrating the
commercial potential that this genre of user-generated content
may hold. That upside is usually tempered with concern over the
copyright issues that engaging with such content can present.

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Actually, changes last year to fair-dealing exceptions have left
questions on the scope of UK law. Yet the devil is often in the
detail and sheer range of material being produced, as well as
the reactions of the fiercely independent creative communities
behind such work. As a traditional starting point, mere
character names have not been protected by our copyright
law. Even after recent European Court rulings, it will still
be extreme examples that exhibit sufficient creativity for
their reproduction to amount to infringement (trade marks
are their primary protection). It is, though, rarely just a
name that is used. There is a general lack of interest in the
adventures of James Bond, chartered accountant.
Fan fiction thrives on rich character background: the traits
and attributes that form imaginary, but identifiable, worlds. This
might not involve direct copying of text or even plots–save to
the extent that the back story has emerged from them–but these
elements are copyright protectable none the less (see the case
involving James Herbert’s The Spear). Of course, some fictional
worlds are more developed than others, and the nature of the
source and the scope of re-use varies enormously. In certain cases
the re-use might be protected as criticism or by the new untested,

Wednesday 15 April 2015

wa rd
ounding fan fiction
and largely undefined, defence permitting “caricature, parody or
pastiche”–although parody is not always the point of fan fiction.
Still, even before those and other recent changes, the owners
of underlying source material, who had the ability to take
infringement action, in most cases did not. And that may be
unsurprising given the technical and jurisdictional complications
that online enforcement action often unavoidably involves
(think: badly translated game of legal “whac-a-mole”). Just as
relevant, though, has been the attitude of rights owners to fan
fiction. Censuring fans is never a comfortable step for any
rights owner, but while there are high-profile authors who
have been outspoken in expressing their discomfort, even
hostility, there are many others who are openly supportive
or who at least express a relaxed tolerance.
The more cautious attitudes often reflected a concern
that future output might be influenced or even subject to
infringement claims from fan fiction creators. As the late Sir
Terry Pratchett once put it: “I don’t actually object to fan
fiction… provided that it’s put somewhere where I don’t trip
over it.” The film and television sector has been particularly
sensitive to this, although even there stances are changing.
That said, any greater acceptance is unlikely to extend to
derogatory or damaging material. Aside from moral rights,
note that works damaging a rights owner may also lose any
copyright defence, and children’s authors and publishers have
often acted over concerns with adult-orientated content.

Harness the enthusiasm of fans
There may also be an assumption of no direct financial gain. Most
popular fan fiction forums are not focused around payment for
authors–though that may change as new commercial platforms
launch. Which brings us back to the reverse engineering of works
for publication, required, quite apart from the copyright position,
to address registered and unregistered trade mark issues. Yet,
subject to those caveats, and hosted on suitably arm’s length
third-party venues, fan fiction can often be safely tolerated–on
balance allowing the enthusiasm of fandom (and its potential
for data mining, peer-to-peer marketing, even customised
pricing) without unduly prejudicing the rights owners.
Some rights owners have gone further and, beyond mere
acceptance, actively licensed the use of their properties in fan
fiction. The rise of user-generated content and social media has
of course meant other rights owners have had to increase user
engagement, permitting access to and use of content in a range
of contexts. Where users are generating creative content in a
licensed MMOG (massively multiplayer online game) or virtual
world, why should their fan fiction be treated differently?
Maybe the answer to that is whether the controls that licensing
requires, or that licensors expect, is compatible with the spirit
of creative freedom–even subversion–that fan fiction authors,
readers and communities enjoy. I’d ask Noël Coward.  ■
Duncan Calow is Partner at DLA Piper.

15

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london show daily

Wednesday 15 April 2015

A president shot: what if…?
On the 150-year anniversary, publishers re-examine the Lincoln assassination.
Lenny Picker takes a look at what’s on offer
What if Abraham Lincoln had a real
bodyguard? That “what if?” was once
posed by NPR’s Terry Gross during an
interview–and it struck a chord with
historian and federal agent TJ Turner. The
result was one of several superior thrillers
being published this year around the 150th
anniversary of Lincoln’s assassination,
which took place on 14 April 1865.
For Turner, the
assassination “has always
been one of those tipping points that
fascinated me”. In his Lincoln’s
Bodyguard (Oceanview Publishing,
April), the presence in the presidential
box at Ford’s Theatre of a skilled
Pinkerton operative foils John Wilkes
Booth. But, as in the best alternate
histories, that alteration does not
translate into smooth sailing for
Lincoln, or the country. Seven years
after the President’s life is saved, the US is still very much
tearing itself apart, and facing a Confederate insurgency
in the Union-occupied South.
Indeed, Lincoln’s murder has provided a lot of red meat
for conspiracy theorists, who have more to work with
than those speculating whether or not Oswald acted alone
in JFK’s assassination–after all, the US government tried
and executed four of Booth’s co-conspirators. In John
Surratt, The Lincoln Assassin Who Got Away (History
Press, April), Michael Schein offers a new look at evidence
that implicates Confederate President Jefferson Davis in
the assassination.
Although few deny that John Wilkes Booth fired the
shot that killed Lincoln, there is some debate about his
fate. Officially, Booth was gunned down by Union troops
at the Garrett farm in Virginia 12 days
after the assassination. But what if
Booth was not the man shot by Boston
Corbett as he fled a burning tobacco
shed? In Lincoln’s Assassin: The
Unsolicited Confessions of John Wilkes
Booth (Skyhorse, April), JF Pennington
answers that question.
Pennington, like many others, was
curious about some details of the
assassination that linger in the minds
of the suspicious–for example, why wasn’t someone
guarding Lincoln at the theatre? How did Booth escape
the city so easily after the shooting? And what is missing

from the pages of Booth’s diary? In
Pennington’s novel, Booth is alive 25
years after the assassination, and in a
neat complement to Turner’s fiction,
he endeavours to make Booth a
sympathetic figure.
There’s a long tradition of detectives
investigating the Lincoln assassination
in fiction: the sleuths
have included Edgar
Allan Poe, in The
Lincoln Diddle by Barbara Steward
(1979); Sherlock Holmes in
Christopher Leppak’s The Surrogate
Asssasin (2000); and Pinkerton agent
Nicholas Cosgrove, in what many
consider to be the best fictional
Lincoln conspiracy novel, former
CIA agent George O’Toole’s The
Cosgrove Report (1979). More recently, John J Miller
imagines an earlier assassination plot in 2011’s The First
Assassin (Mariner Books). Timothy O’Brien has a
Washington, DC police detective stumble upon a shocking
conspiracy after finding two diaries in 2012’s The Lincoln
Conspiracy (Ballantine). And David O Stewart imagined
that Mary Surratt made a secret confession before her
death in The Lincoln Deception (Kensington, 2013).
Veteran genre author MJ Trow adds to that tradition
with The Blue and the Grey (Crème de la Crime, April).
The novel begins just before Booth opens fire, and his
escape is almost foiled by a former
Union Captain in the audience,
Matthew Grand. After being
thwarted by a stranger, Grand is
convinced that a larger plot is at
work, and is dispatched to London,
where his investigation crosses that
of a serial killer known as the
Haymarket Strangler.
Trow notes that his protagonists,
Grand and James Batchelor, were
real detectives who worked briefly
on the Jack the Ripper murders in 1888. “I thought it
would be fun to create an earlier career for them, and to
make Grand an American (although he was actually a
Londoner),” he says. “The end of the Civil War and the
murder of Lincoln seemed to be an obvious and dramatic
starting point.”
Jacopo Della Quercia is a bit less conventional in using
the assassination as a springboard for his novel, The

“Lincoln’s
murder has
provided a lot
of red meat
for conspiracy
theorists.”

18

Wednesday 15 April 2015

Great Abraham Lincoln Pocket Watch Conspiracy (St
Martin’s Griffin, 2014). In what he describes as a
“summer adventure through American history”, William
Howard Taft and Lincoln’s son race to solve a mystery
stretching back to the Civil War and the assassination.
“The more you learn about Lincoln, the more you
realise he was a magic lamp of a character,” Della Quercia
says. “You could throw him into any scenario and
audiences will go along with it, be it mystery, sciencefiction, comedy, romance.” For his latest book, Della
Quercia says he wanted to explore the “more inventive
side” of Lincoln’s mind: “Lincoln possessed
a keen interest in engineering and
is the only US president to hold a
patent to his name. He presided
over a technological boom during
the Civil War and passed these
passions to his eldest son Robert at
an early age, which allowed me to
explore a wonderful connection
between the two across time. Writing
it as a fiction allowed me to dig
deeper into who these men were, not

london show daily

simply as historical figures, but as a
father and son.”
Della Quercia finds the official,
limited, conspiracy terrifying. “The
more you read about the conspirators,
the more damage you realise this
small group of men could have
done,” he says, noting that Booth
had planned to kill Union general
and future president Ulysses S Grant
as well as Lincoln, but Grant
cancelled his invitation to Ford’s Theatre that
evening, as did Lincoln’s eldest son Robert. Vice
President Andrew Johnson had also been marked for
murder, but his assassin got cold feet. Secretary of State
Stanton was stabbed repeatedly at his home, but
miraculously survived.
“The idea that all this could have happened simultaneously
with the Lincoln assassination and with the Civil War
winding down staggers the mind,” Della Quercia says.
“That’s why I chose a relatively simpler question–where
was Abraham Lincoln’s pocket watch during all this! That
one I could handle.”

london show daily

Wednesday 15 April 2015

On having a spine

I was mooching around Instagram recently and found that
the hashtag for my company #BukuFixi was used on more
than 14,000 posts. I was shocked–shocked!–to find this
was just 4,000 fewer than #PenguinBooks and certainly
more than, say #RandomHouse, which had 10,000. But
we’re a small Malaysian company without even an office.
Many of our readers on Instagram seem to enjoy posing
our books next to cups of latte, slices of cake, fluffy cats, or
all three. Well, bless them! Without them, we would not
have been able to publish 90 titles in our first four years.
Buku Fixi started in 2011, but I think the germ of the
idea was when I lived in New York for a few months in
1995. In that long hot summer, I used to buy second-hand
books at a makeshift stall in Washington Square Park, in
the same vicinity where perambulating blokes would try to
sell you weed. Most of the novels I bought were in
Vintage’s Black Lizard series and were usually written by
Jim Thompson. I loved the way the lurid spines looked so
nice when lined up on the shelf.

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20

Aisyah Zakirah Zulkefli

Amir Muhammad established Buku Fixi in Malaysia in 2011. It has published
90 titles so far and is turning non-readers into readers. He explains

When I returned to Malaysia I brought the books back
with me. But during a house move, all the Black Lizards
went missing! Did the movers steal them? (If so, this was a
positive sign; Malaysians are into reading after all. Who
knew?) So when I started a publishing company for pulp
fiction many years later, I knew the spines had to look
strong and consistent. Perhaps subconsciously, I wanted
to make up for the loss of those Black Lizards.
The Malay fiction market is dominated by the romance
genre and 50,000 in sales is considered a bestseller.
Among the blockbusters of the past decade are My
Husband Is a Religious Teacher, My Husband Is Mr
Perfect 10, My Husband Is the Sweetest and My Husband
Is a Limited Edition. If you look really hard, you might
find some similarities. I didn’t want to publish romance
because that’s not the sort of thing I would have read as a
teenager. I wanted noir, zombies, aliens, serial killers–that
sort of thing. So I advertised on Facebook for wannabe
novelists. We launched in April 2011 with three novels by
debut writers. The name Fixi is from fiksi, the Indonesian
way of saying fiction.
It was hard to get a distributor because all three books
were written by men. One of the biggest distributors told
me: “Men don’t sell.” There was a perception that only
romance sold; the mainly female readership would thus
trust only a woman writer. (I later found out that some of
those romances were written by men with feminine
pseudonyms.) So I approached instead a distributor that
dealt mainly with leftist political tomes. It worked.
Our biggest stumbling block came when the nation’s
biggest bookstore chain banned our books in 2012. They
said our novels contained coarse language and might lead to
teenage delinquency, both of which I took as compliments.
What kept us afloat in those trying months was that we
would sell directly at campus events. Social media was
also crucial; think of those dark pre-internet days, when
publicity meant having to be nice to journalists!

Wednesday 15 April 2015

us
sit th
Vi Boo 1
at 7J2

“Many of our
readers are of
the species
known as
“hijabsters”–
young women
dressed in hijab
who have hipster
tendencies.”

Aisyah Zakirah Zulkefli

And so our reputation,
such as it is, grew. Many of
our readers are of the species
known as “hijabsters”–
young women dressed in
hijab who have hipster
tendencies. One of the joys
of my job is in seeing, on
Twitter, how often these
readers use the word
“mindfuck” to describe
some of our books. So now
we have helpfully included
Mindfuck as one of the
genre classifications on our online store.
Probably our proudest moment is when we managed to
sell all 3,000 copies of a short story anthology in less than
24 hours. We launched it at a very popular remainderedbooks event called The Big Bad Wolf, that bigger publishers
don’t want to associate with (they think it spoils the
market). But the people who go to that sale are genuine
readers (fine, they’re also a bit on the stingy side), so why
not reach out to them? But generally, I think Buku Fixi has
managed to turn quite a few non-readers into readers. We
have about a 20% male readership, which is considered
freakishly high by Malaysian standards.
When I interviewed Martin Amis as an undergraduate at
the University of East Anglia, I asked: “Who do you write
for?” He was polite enough to pretend this was a really
unique question, so he paused before replying: “For a
younger version of myself.” So that’s also who I publish
for (no, silly, not a younger version of Martin Amis). I
remember the joy I had in the pulpy immediacy of those
Black Lizards as well as the aesthetic kick of assembling a
collection. And then, the joy of finding friends who shared
that interest–how reading was both solitary and social.
But although consistency is good, we also like to try
new things. For example, we have started buying
translation rights; we took
Neil Gaiman, Stephen King,
Haruki Murakami and John
Green. I just told the agents
that they might as well give
us the Malaysian rights since
no other Malaysian company
would ask anyway. It has
so far worked–there are
benefits to being in a small
pond, especially when the
inhabitants of that pond are
disproportionately more likely
to be on Instagram.

Amir Muhammad can be contacted at
bukufixi@gmail.com.

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21

london show daily

Wednesday 15 April 2015

Valeria Luiselli–Author of the Day
Nicholas Clee talks to Valeria Luiselli about her work and her hopes for the Fair
Valeria Luiselli was born in Mexico and lives in New York.
She is the author of the internationally acclaimed novel Faces
in the Crowd (2012) and the book of essays Sidewalks (2013),
both translated into multiple languages and published by
Granta in the UK. Her most recent novel is The Story of
My Teeth (Granta 2015). In 2014, she was the recipient of
the National Book Foundation’s “5 under 35” award.

What can authors gain from them?
VL: I have. I think book fairs are less for authors and more
for other key members of the publishing industry. But the
possibility of meeting other authors, of coming across books
you otherwise might have never had the chance to find, of
listening to other members of your guild, and catching up
with your publishers and friends definitely humanises the
pavilion machinery and acts as a counterbalance to the
strange loneliness of breakfast buffets in hotels.
Visit
ECW
Press seems
on the to
Canada
Stand
F500
NC: A book
fair
pavilion
have no
national

characteristics, but may be roughly the same in London,

Music
Visit ECW Press on the Canada Stand 5D150

Alfredo Pelcastre

NC: Have you attended book fairs and festivals before?

Valeria Luiselli

Mexico City or China. Does this echo themes you’ve
explored in your writing?
VL: I don’t think I’ve explored this in my writing in any
direct way, but there is indeed a kind of extra-territoriality
in book fair pavilions. The world fair “pavilion”, as such, is
a 19th-century invention, and definitely still feels like a trip
to that past–at least in terms of the kind of discourse and
performative ideology that surrounds them.

NC: You have lived in various places, and are now in
New York. Do you think of yourself as a Mexican writer?

VL: I think of myself as a Mexican person who grew

TV &
inment

Enterta

up in South Korea, South Africa and India, and who now
lives in NY. But I don’t write from the specific niche of
any nationality. I write about people, not about types.
Sometimes those people happen to be Mexican–others not–
but what and who I write about never represents anything
but itself. My characters certainly don’t represent nations.
I don’t represent a nation either. For better or worse,
literature is quite unlike football.

NC: I believe that your books are all written in Spanish,
but that you do write in English. Can you imagine writing
books in English, or will Spanish always feel right for the
ideas you explore?
VL: The language I choose to write in grows out of the
material and issues I am working with. I will write a book
The ultimate guide to the great detective,
in English when I know it cannot be written in any other
with in-depth and fun analysis of the hit TV
language but English. This does not undermine translatability.
show. Explores
the characters,| links
to Arthur
ecwpress.com
info@ecwpress.com
ecw press
I think everything and everyone is eventually translatable.
Conan Doyle’s original stories, and includes
biographies of stars Cumberbatch and Freeman.
But writing is different. The process of creating something
with language, from scratch, has to grow naturally, and in
Find more curiously compelling books
a deep and often tense relationship with that particular
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born as mere text and not as literature.

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Mystery
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Chronicling Taylor Swift’s rise to international
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adventures in the spotlight.

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Valeria Luiselli
collections Literary criticism Memoir Mystery Music Pets Photography Popular science Self-help Science
11.30am in the
fiction Sports Travel TV companion guides True crime Wrestling Young adult
adult Biography Business Drama
Canadian fiction Canadian poetry Entertainment Games History Hobbies Humor Literary collections

22

will be in conversation with Catherine Taylor today at
English PEN Literary Salon–followed by a book signing.

Wednesday 15 April 2015

london show daily

IPA Congress: piracy, digital and copyright issues
The 30th International Publishers Association (IPA) Congress,
held in Bangkok from 24 to 26 March, was predictably heavy
on discussions concerning digital opportunities, piracy and
copyright issues, writes Teri Tan. The first two sessions–on
publishers’ relevancy and role in the digital era–brought to the
surface the somewhat dented confidence of the book people,
and the uneasy coexistence between the industry and tech
companies, online retailers and the self-publishing community.
But Elsevier Chairman YS Chi was quick to exhort everyone
to embrace print and digital, and the traditional and new,
in order to forge ahead. “It is not about one or the other,
but together, in tandem and complementary,” Chi said.
While Bloomsbury CEO Nigel Newton’s depiction of the
publishing industry as the teetering bus in “The Italian Job”
solicited plenty of laughs–some mirthful, others cynical and
not a few, nervous–there is no denying that digital is reshaping
the landscape. But tested-and-proven strategies and precise
prescriptions from the panelists were in short supply, with
most doling out rudimentary try-anything-and-everything
advice. Not that there is anything wrong in covering all bases
in an uncertain world, commented some attendees.
The Freedom to Publish session, on the other hand, was no
laughing matter. Invoking both consternation and helplessness, it
was a grim reminder of the harsh censorship and self-censorship
in writing in many parts of the world, not just in Thailand,
China and Russia, home to the session’s panelists. In Russia,
the local media is muzzled: “The internet, social networking
sites and even the pirates, are our friends in disseminating
information and knowledge to far-flung corners of the
country,” said Irina Prokhorova (New Literary Observer).
However, most governments–even those wielding “national
security” trump cards to curtail freedom of speech and freedom
to publish–are actively putting legislations in place to protect
copyright and stop piracy. And they are succeeding through
collaborative efforts with industry associations (by organising
raids), publishers (educating the public) and e-commerce
sites (eradicating illegal content). As Hugo Zhang of Reed
Elsevier China put it: “Partnership is the key to winning the
piracy campaign, which essentially comes down to the 3Es:
economics, enforcement and education.” While digital piracy
remains a publishing nightmare, attendees were reminded
that some territories, specifically in Asia, Africa and Latin
America, are still dealing with analogue/hard copy piracy.
Book scarcity, said Lawrence Aladesuyi (Nigerian Publishers
Association), “indirectly promotes piracy in my country”.
Another topic of a well-attended session was fixed-bookpricing, which has been successfully implemented in France
since 1981, and is legal in 15 other countries including
Germany, Spain, Japan and South Korea. To most free-market
advocates in the audience, the idea was contradictory while at
the same time fascinating, for this is a proven method to curb
heavy discounting and price wars. “Levelling the playing field
and eliminating the dominance of a single player–in print and

digital–are the biggest benefits of fixed-book-price law,”
said Catherine Blache of the French Publishers Association.
The thriving retail network in France, where 2,500 indie
booksellers serve 4,500 publishers, is indeed a stark contrast
to the dwindling numbers of indie bookstores seen in the
UK, US and many other countries in the past decade.
At the end of the three-day conference, a quick tally revealed
20-odd sessions, 56 speakers and 509 attendees. Asked for an
assessment of the event, some first-time attendees said that it
would have been more effective with greater coverage on BRIC
(Brazil, Russia, India and China) markets. (“Reduce the focus
on Western experiences, already well publicised in the media.”)
and more balanced perspectives (“Sharing of experience and
tested strategies instead of sales pitching.”). Others found the
format (with panelists formally sitting on a big, high stage)
too intimidating for multi-directional exchanges. But overall,
they found the sessions to be useful and the trip worthwhile.
For Trasvin Jittidecharak, Chair of the conference organising
committee: “The turnout was satisfactory given the hectic
period just before Bologna and LBF, and in the midst of a
less-than-ideal global economic situation.” IPA Congress
2016 will be held in London from 10 to 12 April.

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— Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski

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23

london show daily

Wednesday 15 April 2015

Self-publishing smashes through
Last year, events tailored to independent and
self-published authors at the Authors HQ
were jam-packed, and among the London
Book Fair’s most popular offerings. Andrew
Richard Albanese caught up with Mark Coker
of leading indie service provider Smashwords
about the state of self-publishing in 2015,
and what the future holds.

AA: So to start, give us a sense of where the
self-publishing market is in 2015, and what
Mark Coker
you see going forward?
MC: When I started Smashwords back in 2008, there was
a tremendous stigma associated with self-publishing. Selfpublished authors were seen as failed authors, and in a sense
this was true, because it was a print-centric world back then,
and without the help of a publisher authors couldn’t get
distribution into bookstores. But thanks to the rise of ebooks,
authors now have the chance to be judged by readers. In
2015, self-published authors are learning to think and act like
professional publishers. They’re embracing best practices,
and learning to use professional tools of the trade such as
pre-orders and professional cover design and they’re hiring
professional editors. And readers have responded positively.
But, for self-published authors, for all authors, in fact, the easy
days are over. There’s now a glut of high-quality, low-cost

ebooks out there, and that glut will only
increase as more authors up their game, and
as more authors self-publish.

AA: How is the impact of self-publishing being
felt in the traditional publishing industry?

MC: I think traditional publishing still doesn’t
fully grasp the impact self-publishing is going to
have on their businesses. Self-publishing isn’t
for every writer. Many writers would much
rather outsource the publishing process to a
publisher so they can focus on writing. But I
think many authors are unsatisfied with things like publishers
paying 25% net on ebooks, and many are questioning the
value-add of publishers. The other week I interviewed romance
author Jamie McGuire, who started out at Smashwords and
Amazon in 2011, hit the New York Times bestseller list with
Beautiful Disaster, and then sold her rights to Atria in a twobook deal. She loved her experience at Atria. She said they
felt like family. But a year ago she decided to return to selfpublishing, because she couldn’t justify surrendering her
ebook rights forever to a publisher. When authors who love
publishers leave publishers, it’s a problem.
I think traditional publishing and self-publishing are
complementary. Each can make the other stronger. But most
traditional publishers still practice a culture of “no”, rejecting

Five keys to good self-publishing
There’s never been a better time to publish as an indie author, writes Mark Coker. But doing it well
requires commitment; here are five tips for self-publishing success.
1. Maximise distribution
Your choice of retail distribution partner is not like your choice
of your favourite football team. Smart indie authors play the
field and maximise distribution. Avoid the temptation to go
exclusive anywhere, even if only for a limited time. Every
major ebook retailer wants to carry your book. Every retailer
and every local ebook store in each country represents its
own unique micro-market for your book. Publish and
distribute globally to reach more readers.

3. Good is not good enough
Ultimately, whether you succeed or not comes down to your
work.To sell well, your book must take readers to an
emotionally satisfying extreme.You must make your readers
go, “Wow!” Wow books generate five-star reviews. Wow
books turn readers into fans, and fans into superfans. Wow
books turn readers into evangelists that will propel an
author’s career to bestsellerdom. Before you publish, have
you done all you can do to make your book the best it can be?

2.Take advantage of pre-orders
Best practices separate indie author amateurs from indie
author professionals. And one of the most potent professional
practices is releasing books as pre-orders. For the last two
years, Smashwords has offered pre-orders through iBooks,
Barnes & Noble and Kobo. Each of these three retailers credits
pre-orders toward the book’s first day sales rank, and our data
shows conclusively that a well-executed pre-order influences
your rank, and can dramatically increase a book’s sales.Yet
despite the availability of this awesome tool, most selfpublished authors aren’t using pre-orders. Don’t make that
mistake.There is a lot of competition out there for readers,
and to win those readers, authors must do many things right,
and avoid the mistakes that will undermine their potential.

4. Spend on editing before marketing
In terms of quality, editing is among the first places you
should invest. It’s true in traditional publishing and it is true
for self-publishing: great editors make great books.Your book
will sink or swim based on reader word-of-mouth.The key to
selling more books begins with making your book better, and
a good editor is a crucial part of that process.

24

5. Hire professional cover design
After the quality of the writing and your story, cover design is
your next most important enabler of success. Again, hire a
professional. Professional cover design can often be had for
under £100, and it’s one of the highest-impact, low-cost
investments an author can make.

Wednesday 15 April 2015

most of what comes in the door, and they still
view this rejection as a core value-add. I think
publishers can no longer take their power for
granted, and need to recognise they are service
providers to authors. And to better serve
their clients, publishers will need to develop
a broader spectrum of services so they can
say “yes” to more authors.

AA: Ebook lending in libraries has been a thorny issue for
traditional publishers, but Smashwords has been working
with libraries. Can you talk a little more about that effort
and your view of libraries?
MC: Right, we’ve been working for the last few years to open
up library ebook distribution. But it’s been slow going. Last year,
we signed with OverDrive, which serves over 20,000 public
libraries, but overall I’ve been disappointed by our progress
with libraries. Every month we’re hearing from authors who
complain that our indie ebooks aren’t mixed in the main
OverDrive catalogue. OverDrive puts Smashwords books in a
special Smashwords catalogue that makes them difficult to
find. Our authors refer to it as the dungeon. As a result many
librarians don’t know how to find and purchase them.
There are some technical improvements to be made, too.
For example, there’s a big disconnect between retailer-specific
BISAC and Thema categorisation and how libraries catalogue.
This creates unnecessary friction in the ingestion process,
making it difficult and expensive for libraries to onboard
ebooks. I’d like to see the standards bodies work closer together
to standardise so we can all speak the same language.
And another point of friction is Adobe Content Server,
which charges libraries and library platforms steep perbook transaction fees. I think Adobe needs some
competition. I’d like to see a low-cost or open-source
ebook checkout system for libraries. I am generally not a
fan of DRM, but library checkouts is one case where it
makes sense. So there’s much progress to be made. But
indie authors want to support libraries with low-cost, highquality ebooks. And libraries must get ebooks right if they
want to maintain relevance in the decades to come.

london show daily

decides what each qualified read is worth,
irrespective of the book’s price. In recent months,
Amazon has decided that each qualified read
is worth about $1.40. If you’re an indie author
who typically prices your ebooks at $3.99 and
earns almost $2.80 on a single-copy sale, that’s
a 50% devaluation of your book.
I think most publishers still view KU as a
problem for indie authors, since indie ebooks
populate the bulk of KU’s nearly one million titles thus far. But
as ebooks continue to gain market share, and as indies capture
a greater percentage of the ebook market, non-participating
publishers will feel the pinch. And that pinch becomes a vice
when Amazon diverts readers to KU, KDP Select and Amazonexclusive books, or to books where publishers have agreed to
pay indulgences in the form of co-op fees. I’m afraid publishers
are in a world of hurt in the next few years if they don’t quickly
develop alternate distribution channels for their books. When
a retailer controls 60% or more of your digital business, you
have to question if you’re harming your long-term viability by
continuing to support that retailer.

Mark Coker is Founder and CEO of Smashwords.

AA: I especially enjoyed your take on last year’s Amazon/
Hachette conflict. Now that a measure of peace has been
restored, any thoughts on Amazon’s power?
MC: I think all eyes in publishing should be on AmazonKDP
Select, Amazon’s self-publishing option that requires
exclusivity, and Kindle Unlimited, its new subscription service.
After Amazon’s resolution with Hachette, the industry has
been kind of lulled into a sense of false security. Amazon
wants control over pricing. And if publishers won’t give it
to them, Amazon is going to take it.
This is what’s happening now. Kindle Unlimited represents
Amazon’s end-run around Agency pricing. With KU, Amazon

25

london show daily

Wednesday 15 April 2015

A privacy balancing act for libraries
Peter Brantley argues that the digital age offers libraries a difficult challenge: to respect
users’ privacy, while also collecting the data needed to support innovative new services
Patron privacy has long been a concern for
libraries and library users worldwide. But in
the digital age, it has become red hot, as several
articles and essays in the library press have
pointed to the importance of safeguarding user
privacy in the digital realm. Generally, such
essays assert that public libraries are among
the last protectors of privacy in contemporary
society, and that, as librarians, we must redouble
our efforts to make libraries a refuge in an age
marred by data breaches and surveillance.
Peter Brantley
There is a lot of bunk in this emerging
polemic, however. I know–that’s heresy for many
librarians. But to cling to an ideal of the public library as
an assured safe haven does a disservice both to our users
and to our libraries. First of all because, in today’s digital
world, libraries simply cannot guarantee the user absolute
privacy. But, more importantly, they shouldn’t want to.
Libraries today are far removed from the sheltered
monasteries that once chained books to benches. Like most
modern web-based organisations, libraries today must view
the collection and use of user data not as an ethical breach,
but as an imperative. If we are to stay relevant to our
communities, we must develop and provide services that offer
the same kind of fluidity and personalisation that today’s
data-rich commercial platforms offer, and that our timepressed and information-overloaded customers clearly desire.
Of course, libraries also understand that with data collection
comes responsibility. To keep the trust of our users, we must
consistently demonstrate that we are protecting them as best
we can. And, we must actively educate and inform them about
what happens (or what might happen) with their data.

Are you secure?
To begin with, libraries need to address the most egregious
points of data loss, privacy invasions and data insecurity in
our services. As librarians, we cannot condone the sloppiness
with which we have gleefully set Google Analytics to work,
or our ignorance of the advertising networks that silently
inhabit our user relationships.
On his blog, “Go to Hellman”, Eric Hellman has
documented the “leakage” of user data from common
web tools that libraries employ. Hidden tools on library
websites can result in the setting of cookies, trackers and
beacons which can, for example, associate a user’s Amazon
searches with those on his or her library’s website. No one
should be shocked at this, of course–anyone who has ever
searched for a gift on Amazon has probably, at some point,
been unnerved to see related ads suddenly appear on the
local newspaper’s website or on other web pages.

26

Gary Price of InfoDocket has also been a
leader in using tools such as Ghostery to
demonstrate the ease of plucking these everyday
queries from our network connections.
Ghostery is a browser extension that allows
you to see otherwise-invisible trackers that
are monitoring your browsing habits; indeed,
it can be an eye-opening experience to see
who is following your internet activity.
If we are to maintain the trust of our users,
it is incumbent upon libraries to restrict the
scope of such unknown tracking as best we
can, and to require that our vendors do the same. At a Coalition
for Networked Information members’ meeting last autumn,
Marshall Breeding documented the lack of library vendor data
security measures. What are we waiting for? The possibility of
waking up to a headline that a library’s patron data is available
for download on a torrent site is chilling. Again, we cannot
provide guarantees–no one can. But there are obvious points
of vulnerability that we can, and should, actively diminish.

The power of data
But for all the risks and threats, we must also educate our users
on how responsible data collection benefits them. Tracking and
data collection are now part of the fabric of the contemporary
web–let’s not pretend that we can or should eliminate such
practices. Rather, we must prominently disclose our own desire
to create services that may harvest data (with the user’s
knowledge and consent), and explain why this is beneficial.
At the New York Public Library, for example, we are
beginning to establish location-based apps that ask users to
reveal where they are in the city so we can better serve them.
Do you want to know the hours of the library closest to you?
Sharing your location will help us tell you. And single sign-on
systems, which are already commonplace in customer-facing
sites ranging from airlines to media outlets, will allow libraries
to link your activity across the breadth of digital and physical
library interactions, offering significant convenience.
For decades, libraries’ efforts to prevent privacy breaches
entailed throwing away user data as soon as possible, as a
matter of policy. Now, the risk of social irrelevance requires us
to use data to develop services that will ensure our continued
viability in the digital age. For libraries, the challenge is to
mitigate the dangers of data collection for our users, while
balancing our data collection practices with our users’ privacy
expectations in order to offer valuable, innovative new
services. It won’t be easy. But it is necessary.

Peter Brantley is Director, Digital Library Applications at the New York
Public Library, and a Contributing Editor to Publishers Weekly, where he
writes the monthly “Books and Browsers” column.

london show daily

Wednesday 15 April 2015

Breaking down the barriers
The relationship between consumer and business
has never been closer, writes Seonaid Macleod.
Floating adverts follow us around the internet;
retailers make personal recommendations of
varying accuracy; all any business “expert” can
talk about is how best to know, target and
develop your customer base. Publishing is
repeatedly referred to as a gambling business,
in the past blindly reaching out to consumers
without knowing much about them, and seeing
what sticks, alternately nicely baffled or
regretfully disappointed by the outcome. With the Seonaid MacLeod
huge amounts of real-time consumer data available, how can
publishers best use the targeted business model to increase the
likelihood of a sure-fire success? A clue–it’s not about the
methods used; it’s about the people who implement them.
It’s remarkable to note how many new job titles there are in
publishing today. Consumer insight, business and partnership
development, social media management have, arguably, been
around in some form for years, but are now increasingly
conducted by specialists, who have worked in other sectors, or
by “digital natives”. Of course, coupled with this goes a passion

for turning the written word into a tool for
pleasure, education, or entertainment–that lies
at the heart of publishing and will never change.
But what can we do to ensure our workforce
better reflects our readership? As a start, in
April 2013, the PA (Publishers Association)
and IPG (Independent Publishers Guild) took
responsibility for the EQUIP (Equality in
Publishing) charter and network. EQUIP is
designed to encourage employers in the workforce
to commit to equality and to undertake actions
to increase equality. The network of individuals
is provided with regular information on internships, job
vacancies, interesting blogs and networking events. Additionally,
the PA has been promoting publishing as a career to a less
obvious demographic, through careers talks; the EQUIP
network; and a workforce development programme intended to
make people aware of the variety of jobs on offer in publishing.
This is not only about publishers “doing the right thing”.
Rather, it’s based in commercial reality. To appeal to the widest
demographic, we must represent the widest demographic, ensuring
that the editorial process and beyond is driven by a diverse pool of
people to attract a broad audience. We all know that publishing
can be a closed industry, and to this end, we must conduct
outreach work, much as Hachette’s Insight Into Publishing and
Penguin’s Open Days do. We should be talking to everyone about
publishing, from school-age onwards, and emphasising, for
example to the many Game of Thrones fans, that their favourite
television show was once a series of books by George RR
Martin. Careers talks–from young publishers engaged in exciting
projects–are hugely important, particularly at school age.
And equality in publishing will lead to innovation in new
products and new genres, and creating accessible books. So
what can we do to attract the brightest and best, regardless of
background, education or choice of degree? We can ensure that
once people are interested in publishing as a career, there are no
barriers to their success. This means no unpaid internships, the
London Living Wage as a minimum and no “daughter of a
friend” preferential treatment when internships come up.
Externally advertised job opportunities are also a must.
Publishing is an industry where contacts matter, but we are
missing a chance for growth by limiting opportunities to people
we know. Bringing in an applicant from the gaming industry at a
senior level can revolutionise a list, and bring a fresh pair of eyes
to a job. Growth will not happen if we continue to self-select.
Similarly, the interviewing process could change dramatically.
Why not ensure that every interviewing panel has a range of
people on it to eliminate any preferential treatment.
These are not new arguments, nor are they going to ensure
that the industry immediately represents the UK as a whole,
but they are a start. There’s a wealth of opportunity out there,
which we as an industry are missing out on.

Seonaid Macleod is Publisher Relations Executive at the PA.

28

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london show daily

Wednesday 15 April 2015

Something’s ripe in the state of Denmark
Nathan Hull explains how the subscription model can work for publishers
Subscription is all the rage in
publishing at present, right? At
least the volume of discussion
around it would lead you to
think so. The trouble is that the
conversation is constantly
framed in overly simplistic
terms: should publishers work
with subscriptions services or
not? While publishers signing
deals with access and
The Mofibo team
subscription models is a sign of
progressive thinking, this decision shouldn’t be binary–it’s
as much about the “how” as the “yes” or “no”. The concern
I have is whether the deals being done are self-defeating
because they are short-term in their approach and don’t put
the greater health of publishing at their heart.
Of course, it’s understandable and inevitable that in the US
and UK publishers have trepidations about protecting their
own, and their authors’, digital income streams through a la
carte ebook sales. To really participate in a debate (and make
a decision) about subscription, publishers need to challenge
themselves, and the raft of potential partners, with forensic
questions rather than looking for quick commercial gain.
How will you grow the market? How will you attract
new readers? How will you remain a viable and sustainable
business for us? What is your local entry strategy into a
territory? How will you launch in a given market and
understand those local consumers? I could continue.
If a potential partner doesn’t actively engage with these
types of questions from publishers, then the publisher
probably should turn their back and continue to work to
protect established revenue streams. But some new partners
(across Europe in particular) will give the publisher some
surprising and appetising answers–and back it with a track
record of delivery. This is where I believe the publishers
need to concentrate their thinking.
My new home–Denmark’s ebook and audiobook
subscription service, Mofibo–has influenced a transformation
in the Danish market from 4% digital to 16% in just 18
months. Cannibalisation, I hear you holler! But no: the
publishers are more than happy. All publishers in Denmark
are on board (in fact, I believe this is the only service and
country on the planet where this is the case), and therefore
have a completely holistic view of their print and ebook
sales, as well as this new revenue stream. So how can this be
the case? Because our answer to “how will you attract new
readers?” was one that publishers understood and supported.
Mofibo launched in Denmark with TDC, the country’s
largest telco, thus attracting a swathe of new kinds of
readers–readers who don’t necessarily read book reviews, or
visit high-street bookshops, or belong to book clubs. Further

30

tech partnerships followed with
the likes of Samsung and Apple,
which again grew the new reader
base by reaching audiences that
aren’t perhaps typical bookbuyers. Moreover, the platform
is supported by sustained weekly
television advertising and further
ongoing weekly partnerships
with the likes of Metro. All of
the mechanics have been
executed collaboratively with
the publishers, giving authors and books (and the concept
of reading as a whole) a greater platform than a single
publisher could potentially afford–or in some cases, have
the ability to do–on its own.
Then, when juxtaposed with a slick service that supplies the
reader (or audiobook listener) with the story they will enjoy,
and an incredibly intuitive algorithm that then repeatedly
gives them the books they want, the trick is to keep that
consumer. To do this the platform needs to be as enjoyable as
Spotify and Netflix, as habitual as checking social feeds and
as essential to daily routine as checking commuter train
timetables. Then I’d argue strongly that an ebook subscription
model–done in the right way, with the right entry to market
strategy–is one publishers should spend time considering.
It’s not about changing the behaviour of devoted book-lovers;
it’s about making reading a viable entertainment option to the
huge number of people whose media consumption is now
mediated purely by technology. It’s about new types of readers.
In the UK we experienced phenomenal ebook growth with
e-ink devices. Since the proliferation of smart phones and
tablets, it’s fair to say that, whilst healthy, the ebook market
has plateaued, and probably at a lower level than publishers
had expected or hoped for. These everyday devices do
everything: music, film, games, television, social networks,
shopping–but you know that. The value of “reading” through
these devices–be it through a la carte sales, advertising or new
business models–isn’t growing substantially for the publisher.
And it won’t grow without brave but educated leaps into
new areas. To gain that education the correct deals need to
be struck, interrogated by the right questions–all with the
long-term future of publishing at their core.
The lingering angst about cannibisation is entirely
understandable, just as it was during the publishing industry’s
transition into ebooks from a solely print environment. But
there are models out there that work and countries that are
starting to reap the rewards financially–companies that are
seeing growth, countries tackling piracy with new models,
and houses building a sustainable digital platform for
growth and prosperity in publishing for years to come. ■
Nathan Hull is Chief Business Development Officer of Mofibo.

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