Industry News

Welcome to Novel
Rocket’s September column on industry news. 
  • Cha-ching! Hear
    that? Profits are rising at Penguin Random House after the Penguin Group
    reported a strong first half of 2012. For more info… 
  • Profits are also
    rising at Lagardere Publishing (their U.S. subsidiary is Hachette Book Group). Total
    sales at Lagardere Publishing rose 1.4% in the first half of 2013. Here in the
    U.S. the company cited gains at Hachette Book Group, which rose 7% driven by
    higher sales of Nicholas Sparks’ titles plus higher e-book sales. For more info
  • E-book and
    paperback sales boost the bottom line for religious publishers. Faith-based
    publishers (Crossway, Gospel Light, Moody Publishers, David C Cook, Thomas
    Nelson and Tyndale House Publishers
    , among others represented by the
    Evangelical Christian Publishers Association) reported a 7.9% increase during
    the first quarter of 2013 in religious e-book sales compared to the same period
    last year.
  • From
    January-April this year, religious hardcover sales were down nearly 3.6%. In
    contrast, religious paperback sales experienced an 8% increase during the same
    date range versus January-April 2012. For more info
  • Total revenue at
    Houghton Mifflin Harcourt rose 5% in the second quarter ended June 30, 2013
    compared to the second quarter of 2012.  Sales increased in both its education
    and trade groups. For more info
  • Family Christian
    , now a nonprofit 501 (c) 3, has pledged to donate 100% of its profits to
    Christian organizations and causes. In November 2012, the nation’s largest
    Christian retail chain was acquired by three Atlanta-area businessmen who
    wanted to transform the business to increase Christian generosity. How great is
    that? For more info
  • After a larger
    than expected first-quarter net loss, Barnes & Noble former chairman, Leonard
    Riggio called off his offer to buy the booksellers’ retail business. For more info
  • And they’re
    playing nice again. Following a disagreement over terms, Barnes & Noble and
    Simon & Schuster announced that they have settled a dispute that left
    B&N’s stock of titles from the publisher diminished. For more info
  • And the battle
    continues. In their continued price war with Amazon, has
    announced that members of their loyalty program, Club O, will now receive
    “Club O Dollars” equaling 15% of a book purchase price to use toward
    future purchases.  In late July Overstock priced 360,000 book titles 10%
    below Amazon’s prices. For more info
  • Online retailers—led
    by Amazon—sold nearly half of all books in 2012, according to the 2013
    U.S. Book Consumer Demographics and Buying Behaviors Annual Review. For more info
  • And in other
    news, bookstore sales, which had been running close to even with 2012 through
    the first five months of 2013, tumbled 9.5% in June.
  • Regal Books
    (Gospel Light) has announced a new publishing initiative, Regal for Women:
    God’s Word for a Woman’s World. The line will encourage transformative change
    in the lives of women of all ages. For more info
  • Perhaps he still
    has some ‘splaining to do. In late July President Obama received a letter from a
    number of regional booksellers associations and the American Booksellers
    expressing their concerns about his nationally televised appearance
    at an Amazon fulfillment center during his tour promoting his economic recovery
    agenda. President Obama, or more likely a staffer, replied in a wordy,
    boilerplate letter that failed to address the issues the booksellers raised
    about Amazon’s predatory pricing, its decision to fight state sales tax, and
    other tactics that booksellers view as hurting all small businesses. For more info
  • Sourcebooks has
    acquired Simple Truths, a publisher of motivational and inspirational books. Simple
    Truths sells its publications direct-to-consumer, primarily through its
  • Great news for
    brick and mortar bookstores! LifeWay Christian Stores will acquire the Berean
    Christian Stores
    chain. The purchase gives LifeWay, which currently owns 163
    stores, 17 additional stores.
  • Xulon Press, a
    Christian POD publisher, has announced what it calls a first-of-its-kind free
    book publishing program for the faith-based market. Through, writers will be able to prep their manuscripts for
    print and e-book publication at no charge. The site goes live this month,
    and by early 2014 writers will have access to a system that guides you through
    formatting your manuscript for production—including access to a selection of
    free stock covers. For more info
  • And another
    self-publishing option for authors! Launching this month, Excel promises a
    breakthrough in digital self-publishing using an exclusive high-speed
    publishing technology. The project is a collaborative effort owned by Charisma
    and directed by Tom Freiling (former owner of Xulon Press). For more info
  • Mid-month,
    Morgan James Publishing will launch an e-book bundling program, providing a
    digital file version with every purchase of a physical book. Partnering with BitLit,a Vancouver-based smartphone app
    company, MJP will enables readers to claim free or discounted e-book editions
    of print books purchased through traditional channels. For more info
  • Last month,
    California based PM Press is the first book publisher to bundle free e-books
    with nearly every one of the physical books purchased on its website. For more info
  • Good news for
    Apple. Despite ‘blatant and aggressive disregard’ for antitrust laws, Judge Denise Cote significantly
    lightened the proposed injunctive relief the company will face after being
    found liable in its e-book price fixing trial. For more info
  • In contrast to
    the DOJ case against Apple, north of the border the Government of Quebec wants
    to make book price fixing legal. For more info
  • Despite a net
    loss in last year’s second quarter just under $900,000, Books-A-Million
    promises to continue on their current path, including diversifying the
    business.  BAM’s core book business has stabilized and some new areas,
    like gifts and pop culture items, continue to do well. For more info
  • The
    long-running copyright battle, Authors Guild vs. Google, is heating up
    again with opposition to Summary Judgment briefs filed last week. For more info
  • According to
    figures released by the Association of American Publishers, April adult book
    sales fell 4.0% compared to last April, while sales in the children’s/young
    adult segment dropped 33.1%. For more info… 
  • Effective
    September 16th, Julie Gwinn begins her tenure at Abingdon Press as the
    Christian living marketing manager. Gwinn comes from the B&H Publishing
    Group where she served as the trade book marketing manager and then fiction
  • Executive Editor
    for Harlequin Love Inspired Joan Marlow Golan retired last month. She
    joined the company in 1997 as a senior editor with Silhouette Romance.
  • . . . And Tina James has
    been promoted to executive editor, Harlequin Love Inspired.

Megan DiMaria is Novel Rocket’s industry news columnist. An author and speaker, she enjoys cheering on writers and loves to encourage others as they journey through life’s demands and delights. Megan is the author of two women’s fiction novels, Searching for Spice and Out of Her Hands