Wednesday, 31 October 2012

LSI UK Proof Email Wording Comes Under Scrutiny

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A UK publisher has raised some concerns about Lightning Source's e-proofing system. The publisher, located in the West of England, voiced its concern about the wording used in an email correspondence. Today, PrintWeek ran a news piece after it had access to the contents of the email.

From PrintWeek:

In an email, seen by PrintWeek, sent by Lightning Source to its client the company states: "Please note that any printing anomalies may not be visible in the electronic proof. By approving this title via the eproof, you release LSI from any errors or defects that arise during printing."

Lightning Source customer relations manager Andrea Mansell told PrintWeek said that LSI had changed the wording in response to the complaint.

She said: "It does appear to be a little ambiguous. We have recently changed the wording slightly because the context was slightly out and it has been made clearer that it is nothing to do with the print quality. It refers to editorial errors which we can’t be held responsible for."

However neither PrintWeek nor LSI’s client has seen a revised version.

The customer relations manager informed PrintWeek that the wording of emails sent out as part of the e-proofing process had been changed following the publisher's complaint, though both PrintWeek and the publisher have yet to see the revised wording.   
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Monday, 29 October 2012

Self-Publishing Book Expo Highlights Part One | Bookmakingblog

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Bookmakingblog has the first of its highlights of last weekends Self-Publishing Book Expo, held in New York.

"The saddest faces this year, as in past year, were on authors who paid to exhibit so they could tout and sell their books. These folks get little 'traffic' in the exhibit hall compared to service providers. I admire their perseverance -- but not their business judgement. SPBE is simply not a place where people go to buy books. If someone does stop by an author's table and does get interested in a book, it's easy to delay the purchase and order it for less money from, and not have to carry it around."

Michael N. Marcus,

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Anyone Fancy a Random Penguin? It's A Done Deal! | Penguin Random House (Updated)

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Bertelsmann and Pearson have confirmed talks are underway to combine their respective publishing divisions, Random House and Penguin. Some weeks ago on TIPM's Facebook page I posted that we would soon see some major changes in the publishing industry. The discussions to merge the two largest publishers in the industry is further signs that we are entering a serious phase of consolidation and both publishing groups have said this is an effort to create a global market leader in response to the strategic challenges of the ebook business. Early suggestions are that Bertelsmann will look for a stake of at least 50% in the merger.
Discussions remain at a very early stage and the news has been greeted with considerable concern by authors and booksellers. Melville House's Dennis Johnson has a round-up of the reaction to the news here.

UPDATED Monday 29th, October:
As of this morning, Bertelsmann and Pearson look to have agreed the principle terms on the deal which will see the merging of Random House and Penguin. The Wall Street Journal has released some of the details that will see Bertelmanns take a 53% majority hold in the merger. Significantly, the WSJ are citing Bertelmanns hope that the merged publishing division could be in place in the second half of 2013 if the deal gets antitrust approval. The new merged organisation will be called Penguin Random House.


Pearson and Bertelsmann agree consumer publishing partnership: Penguin and Random House to combine, creating the world's leading trade publisher

October 29, 2012
Pearson and Bertelsmann today announce an agreement to create the world’s leading consumer publishing organisation by combining Penguin and Random House.

The combination brings together two of the world’s leading English language publishers, with highly complementary skills and strengths. Random House is the leading English language publisher in the US and the UK, while Penguin is the world’s most famous publishing brand and has a strong presence in fast-growing developing markets. Both companies have a long history of publishing excellence, and both have been pioneers in the dramatic industry transformation towards digital publishing and bookselling.

Under the terms of the agreement, Penguin and Random House will combine their businesses in a newly-created joint venture named Penguin Random House. Bertelsmann will own 53% of the joint venture and Pearson will own 47%. The joint venture will exclude Bertelsmann’s trade publishing business in Germany and Pearson will retain rights to use the Penguin brand in education markets worldwide.

Bertelsmann will nominate five directors to the Board of Penguin Random House and Pearson will nominate four. John Makinson, currently chairman and chief executive of Penguin, will be chairman of Penguin Random House and Markus Dohle, currently chief executive of Random House, will be its chief executive.

In reviewing the long-term trends and considerable change affecting the consumer publishing industry, Pearson and Bertelsmann both concluded that the publishing and commercial success of Penguin and Random House can best be sustained and enhanced through a partnership with another major international publishing house. They believe that the combined organisation will have a stronger platform and greater resources to invest in rich content, new digital publishing models and high-growth emerging markets. The organisation will generate synergies from shared resources such as warehousing, distribution, printing and central functions. Pearson and Bertelsmann intend that the combined organisation’s level of organic investment in authors and new product models will exceed the total investment of Penguin and Random House as independent publishing houses.

The two companies believe that the combination will create a highly successful new organisation, both creatively and commercially, with the breadth and investment capacity to deliver significant benefits. Readers will have access to a wider and more diverse range of frontlist and backlist content in multiple print and digital formats. Authors will gain a greater depth and breadth of service, from traditional frontlist publishing to innovative self-publishing, on a global basis. Employees of the new organisation will be part of the world’s first truly global consumer publishing company, committed to sustained editorial excellence and long-term investment in a rich diversity of content. And shareholders will benefit from participating in the consolidation of the consumer publishing industry without having to deploy additional capital.

The combination is subject to customary regulatory and other approvals, including merger control clearances, and is expected to complete in the second half of 2013.

In 2011, Random House reported revenues of €1.7bn (£1.48bn) and operating profit of €185m (£161m). Penguin reported revenues of £1.0bn and operating profit of £111m with total assets of £1.0bn. After completion, Pearson will report its 47% share of profit after tax from the joint venture as an associate in its consolidated income statement.

Under the terms of the agreement, neither Pearson nor Bertelsmann may sell any part of their shareholding in Penguin Random House for three years. To protect Pearson’s interests as a minority shareholder, if Bertelsmann declines a Pearson offer to sell its entire shareholding, Pearson may require a recapitalisation by which Penguin Random House raises debt of up to 3.5x EBITDA, with a dividend distributed to shareholders in line with their ownership. In addition, from five years after completion, either partner may require an IPO of Penguin Random House.

Marjorie Scardino, chief executive of Pearson, said: “Penguin is a successful, highly-respected and much-loved part of Pearson. This combination with Random House – a company with an almost perfect match of Penguin’s culture, standards and commitment to publishing excellence – will greatly enhance its fortunes and its opportunities. Together, the two publishers will be able to share a large part of their costs, to invest more for their author and reader constituencies and to be more adventurous in trying new models in this exciting, fast-moving world of digital books and digital readers.“

Thomas Rabe, chairman and CEO of Bertelsmann, said: With this planned combination, Bertelsmann and Pearson create the best course for new growth for our world-renowned trade-book publishers, to enable them to publish even more effectively across traditional and emerging formats and distribution channels. It will build on our publishing tradition, offering an extraordinary diversity of publishing opportunities for authors, agents, booksellers, and readers, together with unequalled support and resources.”

For more information


Luke Swanson / Simon Mays-Smith / Charles Goldsmith +44 (0) 20 7010 2310


Becca Sinclair +44 (0) 20 7010 4279

Brunswick (for US media enquiries)

Oliver Phillips + 1 212 333 3810 ext 669

About Pearson

Pearson is an international education and information company with world-leading businesses in education, business information and consumer publishing.

Pearson is the world’s leading learning company, providing educational materials, technologies, assessments and related services to teachers and students of all ages. We publish across the curriculum under a range of respected imprints and are also a leading provider of electronic learning programmes and of test development, processing and scoring services to educational institutions, corporations and professional bodies around the world.

The Financial Times Group provides business and financial news, data, comment and analysis, in print and online, to the international business community. It includes the globally-focused Financial Times newspaper and website; a range of specialist financial magazines and online services; and Mergermarket, which provides proprietary forward-looking insights and intelligence to businesses and financial institutions.

Penguin, founded by Allen Lane in 1935, is today one of the world’s leading English language publishers and the most famous brand in the industry. Penguin publishes 4,000 titles every year for readers of all ages and in print and digital formats. Its extensive range of titles includes top literary prize winners, classics, reference volumes and children’s titles.
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News Corp Also Interested in Deal on Penguin

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Rupert Murdoch - World Economic Forum Annual M...
Rupert Murdoch - World Economic Forum Annual Meeting Davos 2007. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Since Friday, it has emerged that News Corp, parent company of HarperCollins, may also be considering a move for Penguin following confirmation that Pearson and Bertelsmann were at the early stages of talks about a merger between Penguin and Random House. The news that News Corp, owned by media mogul Rupert Murdoch, could be simply an attempt to scupper the current talks, or a serious attempt to offer Pearson a different kind of deal one that might create less antitrus issues.
Melville House has all the detail.
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Thursday, 25 October 2012

Ridan Publishing - The Rise and Fall of a Small Press

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Signing up with a small press publisher can be risky for an author. However, if that small press has a proper distributor in place, the close working relationship between publisher and author can bear fruit. It is likely the author will deal with a small group of publishing professionals who know their business and the industry intimately. A niche market book might be accepted for publication, but passed up by a larger publisher because it is considered not to have commercial value that will bring a return on the publisher's investment. Small presses can sometimes be more adept at maximising sales at provincial and local level for an author and helping an author connect and build a readership community. While large publishers are also capable of doing this, and do — despite contrary opinions and headlines that publishers are not interested in new emerging authors — the landscape and role of authors is changing.

The days of authors retiring to the shed at the bottom of the garden or a windswept beach house for six to twelve months to write their next book are long gone unless you are Stephen King, JK Rowling or Jodi Picoult. The reality is that most authors hold down a full time job and try to snatch as many quality hours of writing as they can. Marketing departments at a publishing house require the involvement of an author to build branding platforms and engage with the reading public at an intense level never before considered. Discoverability and awareness are critical elements a publisher needs for their books in a world where we are bombarded with information and enticement to capture our attention every second of the day — whether it is via tweets, TV, radio, billboards, email, text messages, junk mail in our letterboxes or the latest celebrity's face glaring at us from the newsstands of the local store — they all demand a tiny piece of our time and attention.

Social media and the explosion in self-publishing has helped to level the playing field for authors and small presses over the past few years, and while independent and traditional fraternities in publishing have learned a great deal from each other, neither appear comfortable to openly accept and easily acknowledge this fact.
Let's get back to signing up with a small press and why there are some things an author needs to be aware of before committing a book to publication. One thing authors will often complain about with a large publisher is how often personnel and in particular editors can change at large houses. This is not normally a problem with a small press, and often the editor is in a very senior position, if not the owner of the press itself. It's also a common denominator I find with small self-publishing providers as well. The real problem lies with small presses where the editor is not only the owner, but, sometimes, the only full time staff member. Running a business as a sole proprietor is no easy task, and when your business is you alone, no one is there to bail you out when things get hectic or you need a holiday, or worse, personal issues take over your work time.
Two and a half years ago, I responded to a post on AbsoluteWrite, an author forum, about a small press based in Virginia, USA, called Ridan Publishing. I was the first to respond to a query from Canadian author, David Burton, about the company. My reply was limited because I had not heard of Ridan until then, but a quick look at the company's website suggested it had limited distribution beyond what many POD self-publishing providers offered, but it certainly had no immediate red flags. This was the only time I posted to the AbsoluteWrite thread on Ridan but since then it has become one of the most visited Bewares and Background forums. In fact, as an exercise in following the rise and fall of a small press, and the surgical attention to detail a small press can come under on AbsoluteWrite, I'd suggest every writer considering this route of submission should read right through the full thread.
Like some newer small presses, Ridan Publishing began life as a self-publishing imprint for author Michael Sullivan, but soon expanded and began offering other authors non-fee traditional publishing contracts. By all accounts, Ridan Publishing did a pretty good job for its authors and sold many thousands of books building up a respected niche market in fiction. Ridan was run by Robin Sullivan, wife of Michael Sullivan, and she spent some time explaining the rigours of running a small press on AbsoluteWrite for quite a time, fielding many probing questions from posters. Month by month, it became esssential reading for me, and, clearly, many others interested in the world of a small press. I only posted once to the thread on Ridan, because I felt most of my expertise was better suited to the AbsoluteWrite forums on self-publishing. What did interest me most about Ridan Publishing was that it had transitioned from a self-publishing imprint of one author to a small press for many authors.
I'm not going to recount the full story of Ridan Publishing here. I think the AbsoluteWrite thread linked above does that perfectly, and it should be a cautionary tale for any author looking at submitting to small presses, in particular those run by a sole propietor. Perhaps it would be an idea for anyone reading this article to pause and go to the thread and read it in its entirity. By late 2011, Ridan Publishing's Robin Sullivan was banned from posting on AbsoluteWrite. I felt the decision to ban her was utterly appaling, and, combined with an experience I'd had on another thread previously—when I and several others were described as 'you Brits' by a moderator (never a wise think to say to two Irishmen) —I pretty much decided to curtail my postings on AbsoluteWrite to postings I felt added value or information rather than those that engaged in prolonged discussion about publishing and self-publishing.
There is no doubt in my mind, for whatever reasons—and I judge no one for allowing personal matters in their lives to completely consume them—that Robin Sullivan neglected her professional responsibilities to the authors of Ridan Publishing, and there is much reason to beleve she only acted positively and faced the music in the face of a serious Internet rebuke, and the fact she was a sole proprietor of a publishing company with absolutely no plan B to fall back on in her absence. Robin Sullivan gives her side of the story here on PodioMedia Chat.
If there is one thing I would have liked to hear Robin Sullivan say in the above interview; it is that she is done with Ridan Publishing. Telling everyone she would be happy if another book never came in the door of Ridan simply was not enough. You are either in the small press publishing business or you are not.   
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Wednesday, 24 October 2012

CreateSpace, Smashwords and Author Solutions Dominate Self-Publishing Market | Bowker

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Bowker Press Release:

[Editor's Note:  Bowker annually release figures and reports like the one referred to in the press release below, however it should be noted that Bowker only rely on titles with an ISBN, and given that Amazon KDP lists over 200k self-published titles and Smashwords lists 60k titles for 2011 (against Bowker's claimed 40k), quoted figures below should be taken with a large grain of salt.]
Self-Publishing Sees Triple-Digit Growth in Just Five Years, Says Bowker®
CreateSpace, Smashwords and Author Solutions dominate infrastructure landscape
New Providence, NJ - October 24, 2012 - The number of self-published books produced annually in the U.S. has nearly tripled, growing 287 percent since 2006, and now tallies more than 235,000 print and “e” titles, according to a new analysis of data from Bowker® Books In Print and Bowker® Identifier Services. The research explores the dramatic U.S. growth of an area once relegated to the fringes of publishing. It finds that while production increases are occurring in both print and e-book formats, the latter is driving the greatest percentage gains. It also shows that while self-publishing may seem like a cottage industry, it is dominated by large firms that offer publishing services to individual authors.
“Self-publishing is now supported by a sophisticated and highly accessible support structure,” said Beat Barblan, Director of Identifier Services for Bowker, an affiliate of information powerhouse ProQuest. “It’s provided everyone who has a story to tell with a method for sharing it and leveled the playing field to an unprecedented degree. This is no longer just vanity presses at work – self-publishing is out of the dark corners and making its way into the mainstream. Notable success stories include a number of self-published authors landing their titles onto the prestigious New York Times bestseller list for ebook fiction.”
Bowker’s research into self-publishing was prompted by an earlier study that showed 2011’s 148,424 self-published print books represented about 43 percent of that year’s total traditional print output and contributed to the first significant expansion in print production since 2007. While print accounts for 63 percent of self-published books, e-books are gaining fast. E-book production in 2011 was 87,201, up 129 percent over 2006. Print grew 33 percent in the same period. While self-publishing is a DIY undertaking, Bowker’s analysis shows its infrastructure is made up of a handful of large firms. In 2011, CreateSpace dominated the print segment, supporting the creation of 58,412 titles (39 percent of self-published print books). Smashwords topped the e-book producers with 40,608 titles (nearly 47 percent of total self-published e-books). The combined divisions of Author Solutions (part of Penguin Group) produced a total of 47,094 titles and Lulu Enterprises checks in with 38,005 titles. The Bowker analysis shows that beyond these four players, no company has more than 10 percent of market share.
Small presses, a category that is defined as publishers who have produced 10 or fewer books, accounted for 34,107 self-published titles -- 21,256 print and 12,851 e-books -- in 2011. Print book production by small presses increased more than 74 percent between 2006 and 2011 -- hearty growth that’s dwarfed by CreateSpace’s 1702 percent increase during the same period. While marketing their works remains the next great hurdle for self-published authors, Bowker research points to major influencers within their control. Bowker surveys of book consumer habits show that authors can effectively reach more readers with online excerpts, retailer recommendations and customer reviews.
Bowker is the official ISBN Agency for the United States and its territories. The Books In Print® database derives a valuable portion of its information from these ISBN assignments, providing the nation’s most comprehensive view of book production. The Self-Publishing Report and other Bowker® Market Research studies that illuminate the business of books are available at
About Bowker® (
Bowker is the world's leading provider of bibliographic information and management solutions designed to help publishers, booksellers, and libraries better serve their customers. Creators of products and services that make books easier for people to discover, evaluate, order, and experience, the company also generates research and resources for publishers, helping them understand and meet the interests of readers worldwide. Bowker, a ProQuest affiliate, is the official ISBN Agency for the United States and its territories. The company is headquartered in New Providence, New Jersey, with additional operations in England and Australia.
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