Thursday, 31 March 2011

Academic bookselling at "crisis point" claims Waterstone's MD

Waterstone's has called for academic publishers to "significantly" increase their support for the chain, warning bricks and mortar academic bookselling could vanish from the high street within a few years.

The retailer's m.d. Dominic Myers told delegates at the Bookseller Association’s annual Academic, Professional and Specialist Bookselling Group conference last week that the academic bookselling industry was at a “crisis point,” in which 2011 would be a defining year.

The digital world in which students operate is a particular threat to academic bookselling, Myers said, and the current business model has struggled to maintain pace with the changes. For bricks and mortar academic booksellers to survive the next 12 months, Myers called on academic publishers and booksellers to work more closely together.

“From my perspective academic bookselling actually is at crisis point,” he said opening his presentation. “I believe that booksellers and publishers need a different co-operative model and I think we have to create a paradigm shift in how we address the online market for physical books.”

He also said booksellers and publishers should share more information, such as reading list data, and create an online site making it easy for students to find that information.

“We do want to sell educational books on the high street and on campus and online but only with the right model,” Myers said. “This is actually a tipping point year for this industry – let’s have some honesty between booksellers and publishers and do something about it. This could otherwise be the last year of academic on the high street.”

read more

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Sampling free content is inspiring customers to buy e-books with a fifth of UK readers citing it as the primary reason for purchase, according to new research

Surveys by Book Marketing Limited (BML) and Bowker Publishing Services presented at the 2011 Books and Consumers Conference in London on 23rd March showed the trend was prevalent in the US market, where more than a third surveyed said free content inspired them to buy e-books.

Of those surveyed in the UK, 15% said simply downloading a “taster” chapter or extract before buying a book was one of their top reasons for downloading, and another 23% said the cheaper cost of e-books was important to them. The same percentage downloaded content because it took up less space at home.

The most common reason given for using e-books was that readers found them easier to carry around and take on holiday, according to 25% of respondents in the UK. By contrast, 20% said e-books were friendlier for the environment and 18% opted to buy them because wide ranges were available.

As of January 2011, more than 3.3% of British book buyers had bought an e-book, up from 1% in September 2010. In the US, 13% of book buyers bought an e-book in January 2011, up from 3.9% in February 2010. Jo Henry, m.d. of BML, said the UK is now a year behind where the US was in February 2010.

On average, e-books are being bought for less than half the price of a hardback, and two-thirds of the paperback price. Concern was expressed that midlist and backlist titles might decline as the online e-book market grows, because the results showed that 47% of UK shop purchases were made on impulse, compared with 23% impulse purchases made online.

Internet retailers had increased volume share of purchases from 17% in 2008 to 26% in 2010. Chain booksellers decreased volume share from 37% to 30% in that time. The volume of purchases at independent retailers and supermarkets stayed largely flat.

The BML UK surveys of 4,000 people were carried out in August 2010 and February 2011, and in the US by Bowker from a Book Industry Study Group-sponsored quarterly study of 750 e-book buyers taken from a balanced sample of the US census.


read more

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Stacey International and Capuchin relaunch as Stacey Publishing

Independent publisher Stacey International and its imprint Capuchin Classics have launched a new company, Stacey Publishing, with fresh financial backing.

It will be headed by m.d. Patrick Kelly, previously part-time financial director at Stacey International, with company founder Tom Stacey remaining involved in an editorial capacity.

The company's financial backing has come through Keith Young and Struan Simpson. Young is co-founder of internet service provider Easynet, and was awarded the MBE for services to publishing. Simpson is a strategist in cultural heritage.

Kelly said the company will focus on increasing its US presence and "continue the e-books activity which had just begun under the old company, and also look to improve physical rights sales."

The company will remain at its Kensington offices, and has not made any redundancies.

On their web site Stacey's submissions policy is stated as the following:

Core areas for expansion presently include:

* Middle East and Islamic informational sources
* Illustrated reference titles or studies of individual countries, sites or places, or a particular aspect thereof, e.g. architecture, history, ethnology, culture, Middle Eastern politics and current affairs
* Travel writing
* Business Traveller's Handbooks
* Children's books (including those linked to the Middle East region)

Your book proposal should include a covering letter, table of contents and a synopsis containing a description of the work and its intended audience and market, the anticipated length and number of illustrations, and your schedule for completing the work. If available, please send a sample chapter, but not the complete manuscript, unless requested.

Please send your proposal to:

Charles Powell, Editor
Stacey International
128 Kensington Church Street
London W8 4BH, UK

Please include an SAE for return of material.

Alternatively submit your proposal FAO of the editor, via editorial@stacey-international.co.uk
 

Monday, 28 March 2011

New research shows that a third of UK trade publishers believe 10% of revenue will come from e-books

According to new research released by Publishing Technology at BML’s annual Books & Consumers Conference a third of UK trade publishers think that over 10% of their total book revenue will come from e-books by 2012.

The survey showed that one in four UK academic publishers were already seeing 10% of their total book revenue coming from e-books in 2011, with double that predicting this would be the case in 2012. The feedback from trade publishers suggests that e-book sales are growing more slowly than recent headlines have stated.

In the US, e-book statistics for January have put digital sales at about a quarter of total sales—a figure backed by UK publisher Bloomsbury earlier this year and Hachette Livre c.e.o. Arnaud Nourry this week—while in the UK trade publishers have been privately revising their sales forecasts based on January and February figures. However, as the survey notes, expectations don't always turn into reality. In the 2001 survey, nearly half (46%) of publishers predicted that over 10% of their revenue would come from e-books by 2006; in fact, in 2011 only 10% say that this is the case.

The survey collated data from 23 publishers, with 31 responses, with the interviews for the 2011 research conducted in February this year.

read more

Friday, 25 March 2011

People in Publishing

Atlantic UK has laid off five people as part of an internal restructuring. Commercial director Daniel Scott is leaving in June, while editorial director Sarah Castleton will exit in mid-April. Three additional jobs are being eliminated in the finance department.

Faber has made a number of changes in its non-fiction and crime fiction publishing teams. Hannah Griffiths has been appointed publishing director, crime alongside her existing paperback role and commissioning in fiction and non-fiction. She will be responsible for growing and developing the crime list. In addition to commissioning and editing literary fiction, senior commissioning editor Angus Cargill will head the crime editorial team. He will be assisted by project editor Katherine Armstrong, who will help him in finding new crime authors.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

eBook Sales Increase, Paperback and Harcover Book Sales Plunge

In January's Association of American Publishers (AAP) report, they revealed that eBook net sales went from last year's 32.4 million dollars to 69.9 million dollars, increasing by 115.8 percent.

The report also displayed that adult mass market paperback book sales had plummeted almost 31 percent when compared to last year's sales, and hardcover books dropped by 11 percent.

Overall book sales have dropped in the past year, though not by very much. Last January, books sold 821.5 million dollars, as opposed to this January's 805.7 million dollars, resulting in a 1.9 percent decrease.

To read the full report, click here.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Orion Publishing launches new Young Adult imprint, Indigo

Orion Children's Books is launching a new Young Adult imprint, Indigo.  It will publish four titles a month, beginning in September this year. Fiona Kennedy will be publisher of the imprint, working with commissioning editors Amber CaravĂ©o, also of Orion Children's Books, and Gillian Redfearn of Gollancz.

Kennedy said: "Indigo will publish teen fiction with style and poise, as the clutch of starry authors on the list shows. It will give our teen titles an identity and status as a whole, and each book more profile individually.

"A number of our authors have been writing older novels and Indigo will give them the support and freedom to develop their work for this readership, as well as giving us the perfect opportunity to extend the range of titles we publish. As always, our list will be one of hand-picked titles that we feel passionately about."

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Profits up for Independent Publisher, Anova

Profits at Anova have increased by almost 300% to £640,000 in 2010, according to provisional figures released by the independent publisher.

The figures, for the year to end February 2011, are subject to audit and showed turnover is also up 0.9% to £11m from £10.9m in 2009.

In a statement, Anova c.e.o. Polly Powell said: "We had no single stand-out title, just good solid sales across the list and that’s what makes the difference under these difficult trading conditions. Particular strength was in the UK market, where our sales were significantly up on last year. Strong sales through the National Trust and from non-bookshop avenues (which don’t necessarily appear on BookScan) continue to thrive."

She added there was a modest increase in English-language sales into the United States. Foreign language sales were "disappointing" but Powell blamed these on the effects of the Icelandic ash cloud on London Book Fair last year.

Powell added the shift in its business towards more UK-centric publishing is allowing it to invest in its new digital strand, Anova Digital, which is run by Anova co-founder David Profitt.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Historical Writers Association launched

Novelist Manda Scott has formed the Historical Writers’ Association as a forum for writers and to promote the genre.

The internet-based group, which already boasts around 100 members is aimed at writers of historical fiction and non-fiction. Agents, editors and publishers have also already joined including Charlie Viney, Jane Judd, Broo Doherty and Bill Hamilton plus David Headley, m.d. of Goldsboro Books.

Scott said: “I used to be a member of the CWA-an extraordinary resource as an up-and-coming author, enormously useful. I’ve been writing historical fiction for nearly a decade, and I realised there wasn’t anything [for us]. Crime writing is the big brother of all the genres. I wanted to create something to be a forum [for] writers of historical fiction and non-fiction to get together.”

The HWA will hold a literary festival in conjuction with Kelmarsh Hall’s annual Festival of History, 16th-17th July, and Scott is also looking for sponsorship for prizes next year. She is also intending to hold a HWA Christmas party.

A temporary page for the website, which will be a “home on the web for historical writing” with a forum, blogs and links, is currently at http://www.thehwa.co.uk/. Membership costs £75 a year, £80 for those paying by cheque or Paypal.

Scott added: “We welcome published authors, their agents, editors, publicists  - and booksellers - all and any who have a passion for history. I'll feel we've succeeded if history as a genre grows to match crime writing in the eyes of publishers, booksellers  and, most importantly, the book-buying public.”

 

Friday, 18 March 2011

People in Publishing

Kelle Ruden will move over to agent director for the Random House Speakers Bureau, starting March 14. She will work across the Random House imprints to support the current roster of author speakers and expand the program.

Elaine McQuade has been appointed Head of Marketing and Publicity for the Trade and Children's Business Unit at Oxford University Press.

Nancy Planitzer has joined Greater Talent Network as an account executive, where she develop new business opportunities for the company's publishing-based bureaus, specifically Hachette and Simon & Schuster. Previously she was an account co-ordinator with Macmillan Speakers Bureau.

Bestselling self-published ebook novelist Amanda Hocking wrote a refreshing post on 'some things that need to be said' last week. The point is to explain that success as author - whether through traditional or nontraditional pathways - is the product of a lot of hard work (along with some luck):

'Everybody seems really excited about what I'm doing and how I've been so successful, and from what I've been able to understand, it's because a lot of people think that they can replicate my success and what I've done. And while I do think I will not be the only one to do this - others will be as successful as I've been, some even more so - I don't think it will happen that often.

'Traditional publishing and indie publishing aren't all that different, and I don't think people realize that. Some books and authors are best sellers, but most aren't. It may be easier to self-publish than it is to traditionally publish, but in all honesty, it's harder to be a best seller self-publishing than it is with a house.'

Sainsbury's has started its own line of children's books in conjunction with Dorling Kindersley. The eight titles, geared towards children aged up to five years old, are priced between £3 and £9.99 and went on sale this past Saturday.

Simon & Schuster has launched a new digital channel, "Ask the Author", in conjunction with VYou.com, where authors "engage in conversation with their fans through videos posted in response to written questions."
Laura Nolan has joined Paradigm as a literary agent and will serve as head of the agency's book publishing division, starting March 14. Nolan will "work with closely with agents Alyssa Reuben and Jason Yarn in the department." She has been at DeFiore and Company since it absorbed the agents from The Creative Culture. 

Cate Cannon has joined Canongate as digital content developer. Previously she was acting marketing director at Headline.

Franklin & Siegal has been appointed literary scout for China Citic Press in Beijing.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

More people shop at Amazon than online at Waterstones new survey reveals

Ten times as many people shop at Amazon than online at Waterstone's, a survey carried out by the Institute of Direct Marketing, http://www.theidm.com/ has revealed, while more than half of respondents bought books online.

The research showed that 80% of some 2,000 readers surveyed bought books from Amazon, in comparison to just 8% of people who shopped at the high street book retailer’s website.

The IDM said the results supported the importance of digital marketing in boosting sales.

Digital marketing company Econsultancy said,  "With around 56% of respondents going online for books, it stands to reason that businesses use digital marketing to push their own sales.'

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Arielle Ford: Are You a Commitment-Phobic Author?

Have you ever heard that you should dress for the job you want? The implication is to look the part so that your boss can picture you in the position as a natural transition. Imagine if you dressed way too casually for your sales position while at the same time trying to land the new manager spot. Even if you have the expertise and the experience, you may be jeopardizing your ability to move your career forward if people cannot imagine you representing the position well.

The same is true for being an author. You need to lead the life that you are imagining you will have as a writer. So what does that look like? How much time are you spending writing or thinking about your book each day? How often are you thinking of ways to build or expand your platform? What is your time commitment - really? Are you putting in the time and are you actually taking steps everyday to make your dreams come true? Are you networking and connecting with other authors?

If you believe that all successful authors drop their real job and rent a cabin in the woods in order to write, you are mistaken. Accept the fact that you will have a full-time job and a life while you are working towards being an author. You need to squeeze in this new writer life that you are creating. Believing you will get to it when you have some extra time is an illusion.

Financial advisors tell you to take a percentage of your income and pay yourself first to reach your financial goals. The same is true for being an author. What part of your day can you own for yourself that is helping you reach your professional author goals?

I am of the belief that you shouldn't have something on your wish list that you really aren't dedicated to. You quickly find out how committed you are to becoming an author by looking at your to-do list and your calendar. If your book and your career is not showing up then give yourself a break and admit you really aren't that committed. It's like losing weight - you have to really want it AND you must do the work to get there. Simply knowing you should, or thinking about doing it won't make it happen.

Every single day when I make my to-do list I have my work projects and my own book projects listed. Quite often I use my lunch time or my time after dinner and my weekends to work on my book. It is not only a time management issue it is an emotional management issue. It is a muscle that I had to develop because I could certainly say I was too busy. That would have never led to any of my published books.

I don't think I have ever met a successful writer who didn't tell me at some point that they got up a little earlier than they wanted to because that is how they fit everything into their day. They get up earlier, work a little later, and commit time on the weekends. They all schedule time to pursue their dreams.

Arielle Ford has launched the careers of many NY Times bestselling authors including Deepak Chopra, Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Neale Donald Walsch& Debbie Ford. She is a former book publicist, literary agent and the author of seven books. To learn how to get started writing a book please visit: http://www.howtowritemybook.com/

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Picture Book Author and Illustrator McClure to set up publishing company

Picture book author and illustrator Gillian McClure is setting up publishing company Plaister Press rather than conform to the "hugely cautious" picture book market.

McClure hopes the company will eventually expand to include work by other authors and illustrators. She said she was "creatively frustrated" at being unable to produce books that publishers considered too risky. Her titles have previously been published by Random House and Bloomsbury.

She said: "There is still demand in the market for very young picture books but it is harder to get picture books for older children produced even though I see demand for these. I had to decide whether I wanted to produce what the market wants or create those more risky titles on my own."

McClure will publish one new title each year, using local printers and supporting independent booksellers. She will be visiting Bologna to sell the titles with her agent handling overseas rights and contracts. McClure added: "At some point in the future, I very much hope to have other names on the list."

read more

Monday, 14 March 2011

Words With Jam- First page of a novel competition

Freelance writer and ghost writer, Andrew Crofts, is to judge a competition for an e-magazine for writers called Words with Jam.

Readers are being asked to send in the first pages of novels - always the most crucial words in any book since they have to tempt potential readers to keep turning the pages.

First prize is £250, second prize £100 and third prize £50. The closing date is 29 April 2011.

Details can be found at www.wordswithjam.co.uk/competition. Even if you don't plan to enter the competition and you are a writer or budding writing you might wish to check out the e magazine for some useful articles.

 

Friday, 11 March 2011

People in Publishing

Betty Woodmancy has joined Howard Books as vp, associate publisher.
Sarah Landis will join Harper Children's Books on February 28 as a senior editor, working primarily on teen fiction and reporting to Farrin Jacobs.

Denise Oswald has joined HarperCollins' It Books imprint as Senior Editor. Previously she was editorial director for Soft Skull Press and before then, a senior editor at FSG's Faber imprint.

Mary Anne Thompson Associates has been appointed US literary scout for The Knopf Random Canada Publishing Group, including the Random House Canada, Knopf Canada, and Vintage Canada imprints.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

How to write compelling crime fiction - An Interactive Workshop with Crime Writer, Pauline Rowson

On Saturday 18 June between 10am and 4pm Pauline Rowson will be running an interactive workshop on How to write compelling crime and thriller novels at Quay Arts Centre on the Isle of Wight.

This is part of the celebration of National Crime Writing Week an initiative organised by The Crime Writers' Association of Great Britain (CWA).  During the week members of the CWA in the UK will take part in readings, discussions, readers' group events and workshops all over the country.

So if you want to know how to write crime fiction or wish to improve your crime writing skills then do come along. And it's not just for those who live on the Isle of Wight. There are plenty of ways to travel to the Isle of Wight.

Wightlink car ferry from Lymington in the New Forest to Yarmouth, or from Portsmouth to Fisbourne, either with your car or as a foot passenger. Or Southampton to Cowes on the Red Funnel ferries. The quicker routes are by Wightlink Fastcat from Portsmouth to Ryde, and by Red Jet Hi-Speed from Southampton to Cowes. There is also an excellent Hovercraft service provided by Hovertravel from Southsea to Ryde.

Why not make it a weekend break and explore some of the beautiful Isle of Wight coastline.


How to write compelling crime fiction - Workshop 18 June 2011 10am to 4pm

This interactive and fun workshop is packed with lots of practical advice and tips on constructing plots and sub plots; building believable characters; generating suspense and tension, adding red herrings and clues, and exploring writing techniques that will grip editors, agents and readers alike.

For more details visit http://www.quayarts.org/
 

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Waterstone's parent buys stake in 'social bookselling' website - anobii

HMV Group has "substantially" backed a social networking site called aNobii, which aims to help readers find buy and share books.

The website, http://www.anobii.com/, has existed since 2006 but was bought recently by internet entrepreneur Matteo Berlucchi, who founded Livestation, a live TV streaming service. Its users span across 20 countries, with most traffic through Italy, Spain, Taiwan and Hong Kong, but this is the first time the site has been launched in the UK.

Users of the site can build their own shelves of books in an online profile, review books, recommend and share titles through Facebook and Twitter and talk with other readers on discussion forums. There is an aNobii app, which allows users to scan barcodes on the back of books and access hundreds of thousands of reviews from other users on the aNobii site, as well as add the books to their library.

The site is planning to launch a transactional service later this year for both print and e-books and was in discussions with retailers about who will provide it. Despite HMV Group taking the stake in the site, Belucchi said no decision had yet been made.

read more

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Publisher runs very short story competition for 10-16-year-olds - Can you write a story in 247 words?

247 tales, is an online writing competition that challenges you to to write short stories using 247 words or fewer.

The prize for the winning story is £75 worth of Bloomsbury Children’s books plus a framed copy of your winning story. The winning story will appear on the home page of the 247 tales website and ten runners-up will receive signed copies of the guest author’s latest book and their stories will appear on the website as well. For full details on the closing date and how to enter visit the RULES section of the website.

This month’s theme is THE MONEY and the closing date is 28th March.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Penguin has best-ever year and Bloomsbury predict 2011 to be the year of the e book

Penguin UK had its best ever year in 2010 as parent company Pearson reported a profits increase of 21% to £857m.
For the year ending 31st December, sales at Pearson were £5.66bn, up 10% on 2009. Sales at Penguin were £1.05bn, up 5% on the previous year. Adjusted operating profit was up 26% to £106m. Pearson attributed this to an "outstanding" US performance, driven by a record number of bestsellers, increased market share and expansion in emerging digital platforms and formats.

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Bloomsbury is anticipating 2011 to be the "year of the e-book", as it reported e-book sales were running at just under 10% of trade print sales, as part of its interim results announcement put out this morning (28th February).

For the 12 months ending 31st December 2010, sales were up 4.01% from £87.2m to £90.7m. However, pre-tax profits fell from £7.1m to £5.5m, which the publisher blamed on amortisation of assets, its move to new offices and acquisition costs.

read more

Friday, 4 March 2011

People in Publishing

At the Random House Publishing Group, Noah Eaker has been promoted to senior editor; Lindsey Schwoeri has been promoted to editor; and Ben Steinberg has been promoted to associate editor. Karen Fink has been named associate director of publicity at Random House. At their Ballantine Bantam Dell division, associate publisher Kim Hovey has been promoted to senior vice president; Shauna Summers has been promoted to executive editor; and Jennifer Smith moves up to senior editor. Karen Chaplin has joined Harper Children's as an editor, acquiring hardcover tween and teen fiction, reporting to Barbara Lalicki. She was previously an editor at Puffin.

Brian McLendon will join Twelve as associate publisher on March 7. He will be 'responsible for orchestrating Twelve's publicity and promotional strategies, and will have a vital role in evaluating projects for the imprint.' McLendon is currently deputy director of publicity at Ballantine Bantam Dell and an agent director of the Random House Speakers Bureau.

Harlequin has announced a number of changes to its editorial department. Editorial Director of Harlequin Mills & Boon UK Karin Stoecker will retire on April 1 after 32 years with the company. Effective March 1, Glenda Howard, Tessa Shapcott and Birgit Davis-Todd have been promoted to senior executive editors for New York, London and Toronto respectively, reporting to Dianne Moggy. In addition, Kelli Martin has been promoted to senior editor, Kimani Press.

Zareen Jaffery has joined the Simon & Schuster Children's imprint as executive editor, reporting to Justin Chanda.

Penguin Australia announced that publishing director Bob Sessions will step down in April after 27 years with the company.

UK literary scout John McLay will be scout English language children's and YA books for Editora Fundamento in Brazil and Egmont Eastern Europe.

Karina Mikhli
will join Assouline as vp, publishing operations. She was most recently production manager of medicine/trade/academic/law at Oxford University Press.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

World Book Day 2011 needs to send a message to Government that libraries form an essential part of encouraging reading

Today sees the celebration of World Book Day 2011 in the UK and Ireland while in most other countries World Book Day is held on 23 April every year. It is a partnership of publishers, booksellers and interested parties who come together to promote books and reading for the personal enrichment and enjoyment of everyone.

A main aim of World Book Day in the UK and Ireland is to encourage children to explore the pleasures of books and reading. But it’s not just for children, World Book Day celebrates the joy of reading and there are many activities and events organised around the country for both adults and children.

I was fortunate enough to be involved in World Book Day 2008 when my crime thriller novel, In Cold Daylight, was shortlisted for the World Book Day Prize 2008. Sadly the competition is no longer running but it was a great way to involve the public. In Cold Daylight reached the Top Ten Best Reads voted on by the public and made it to number three in the charts. I gave a number of talks and media interviews during World Book Day that year to both adult and teenage audiences.



For World Book Day 2011 I think we should remember the vital part our public libraries play in enriching the lives of many. They offer a diverse range of free books and access to information, a community support and a lifeline to young and old and anyone in between. I am eternally grateful to the local library of my childhood because without it I doubt I would ever have discovered the joy of reading and writing.



My message for World Book Day 2011 is to a government intent on destroying our public libraries - DON’T. Please let us continue to celebrate books, and reading by keeping our public libraries open, well-stocked and manned by professionals who do a great job.

Waterstone's cuts 17 head office staff and in talks with Russian Investor over possible sale

Waterstone's has made 17 members of staff redundant from its head offices in Brentford and Solihull.

Scott Coning, buying manager for education, and three regional managers were made redundant. The 17 affected staff have already left the company.

Fiona Kennedy, head of range and business, continues to be responsible for the business team, along with the newly created range team. Reporting to her will be business manager Simon Wilson, who will continue to manage ongoing publisher terms, and range manager Sarah Clarke.

Toby Bourne takes on the role of head of campaigns and related product. Reporting to Toby is campaign manager Simon Burke, and Chris Gardner and David Plummer as related product buying managers. Range and campaign buyers continue in their existing roles and now report respectively into Sarah Clarke and Simon Burke.

Read more: Waterstone's cuts 17 head office staff: "

HMV will hold talks this week with Russian investor Alexander Mamut over a possible sale of Waterstone's.

The Mail on Sunday reports the entertainment retailer will use a sale of the book chain to reduce debt and help HMV Group c.e.o. Simon Fox fund a turnaround plan for the music stores.

read more

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Barnes & Noble Opens Doors for Self-Published Writers

After years of being kept out of major bookstores, self-published writers have a new place in Barnes & Noble–the bookseller has opened its doors to authors in the PubIt! self-publishing program.

The bookseller will create a bestseller list for PubIt! authors and include these new authors in the “Read In Store” program.

eBookNewser has more: “Since it launched four months ago, Barnes & Noble’s self-publishing software PubIt! has attracted more than 11,000 independent publishers and authors and published more than 65,000 eBooks … To promote this expansion, B&N is hosting in-store events teaching authors how to use PubIt! The first in-store event will take place tonight in the chain’s Santa Monica store.”


Barnes & Noble Opens Doors for Self-Published Writers - GalleyCat

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Authors to the aid of New Zealand, to help with the earthquake

This news item comes via thetherapsheet. blog

"Even with photographic evidence aplenty, it’s hard to conceive of the damage done to Christchurch, New Zealand, by the 6.3-magnitude earthquake that struck there this last Tuesday, killing many residents and destroying landmarks. One of the people familiar to this page, New Zealand blogger Craig Sisterson, sent me a note with information about the conditions in Christchurch. His note begins:

Kia ora from shaky New Zealand,

As many of you will know, on Tuesday at 12:51 p.m. NZT the city of Christchurch, which suffered a 7.1-magnitude earthquake in September last year, was struck by another massive earthquake--this time much shallower and more violent. This earthquake is completely different to last year’s one, which caused massive property and infrastructure damage, but we were blessed with no loss of life. As of this morning NZT, more than 100 are dead, and another 220+ missing, and hundreds badly injured. There have been no signs of life from under any rubble for more than 36 hours, which is heartbreaking for the more than 1,000 rescuers, from several countries, who are working their way through what is a pretty dangerous environment.

I now live in Auckland, but I went to University in Christchurch, so have many, many friends living in what is/was a wonderful city. Those I have talked to/e-mailed/texted/FB-ed are safe but badly shaken, but there are several I’ve not yet heard about.

As the days go on the people of Christchurch will need a lot of help. There will be months, even years, of rebuilding, and as of today more than half the city is still without power/water. Organisations like the Red Cross and many others are doing some fantastic work, supported by caring people from all over New Zealand, and all around the world.
Sisterson then gives info on how all of us might aid recovery efforts:

California mystery writer and professor Margot Kinberg is setting up a charity raffle--“Do the Write Thing”--of signed mystery novels, to raise funds. Several authors have already donated signed copies of their books, and she is looking for more, so she can create the biggest/best raffle possible. People will enter the raffle by donating to the Red Cross. If you are a mystery author willing to help out, please contact Margot at MargotKinberg@gmail.com

You can read more about Do the Write Thing here.

I have also placed on my Web site information about various ways to donate/get involved here.

I know we are all busy with many things in our lives, but I would urge you all to consider helping in any way you can, and feel comfortable doing. The crime- and mystery-writing community--writers, readers, and reviewers, etc.--is a very connected one, with a great sense of community and camaraderie. Christchurch was the home of NZ’s most well-known mystery novelist, Dame Ngaio Marsh, and the current home of several NZ crime writers (the three I have contacted, including Paul Cleave, who some of you met at Harrogate, are all safe, but badly shaken). It would be terrific if we could all pull together and help them out.
Perhaps some of the authors who read The Rap Sheet ( and this blog) will consider contacting Kinberg to offer assistance."