Saturday, February 25, 2017

Publishers Lunch

Today's Meal

Year-end stats from Bookscan and PubTrack Digital and current earnings season reports from public companies have been giving us a good picture of 2016 trade publishing performance. So it feels a little odd to step back as the AAP -- still running a month or two behind their normal schedule -- has released monthly StatShot statistics for September 2016.

Total digital sales for the month of $116.7 million were down 8.3 percent (or $10.6 million) compared to $127.3 million in September 2015. (Remember that the year-over-year ebook shortfall starts getting smaller in the September comparisons, since September 2015 is when Penguin Random House became the last of the big publishers to switch back to full agency.)

Gross trade print shipments were $626.9 for September, up slightly from $616.9 million in the prior year. Net overall sales of $680.6 million were also just up from $676 million in 2015. In both cases, adult sales were slightly down, with a 4.6 percent lift in the smaller children's & young adult segment.

For the three reported quarters of 2016, net trade sales of $4.641 billion were a mere $2 million ahead of the same period in 2015, though that's an improvement from the
midpoint of the year, when AAP sales were down 2 percent. Children's sales made the difference, up $56 million overall -- and up $77 million in hardcovers, thanks to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. In adult books, trade paperbacks performed the best, up $86 million.

Gross print shipments to accounts were $4.584 billion, up $130 million from 2015. Digital sales to consumers, meanwhile, were down $152 million in the same period, at $1.036 billion (-12.8 percent). eBooks alone declined $195 million over the nine-month period, 18.7 percent lower -- though we should underscore that Harry Potter ebooks don't show up in the AAP figures, since they are issued by Pottermore, which does not report to the organization, rather than Scholastic, which does report Potter print sales.

News Corp. has announced that Bedi Singh will step down as chief financial officer on March 1. Susan Panuccio, currently cfo of News Corp. Australia, will succeed him. Executive chairman Rupert Murdoch said in the release: "Through his astute financial management of key acquisitions and divestitures, and with the prudent institution of cost controls across the businesses, Bedi has helped News Corp. weather the challenges of this era better than its peers, and put it on firm footing for long-term growth and profitability." Singh, who has served as cfo since 2013, will continue to advise the company on digital property interests in India, while pursuing other opportunities.

Carolyn Gill has joined Clarkson Potter as marketing manager. Previously she was a marketing manager at the New York City Food & Wine Festival. In addition, Natasha Martin has been promoted to senior publicist.

Irish-born author Frank Delaney, 74,
died on February 21 after a stroke. Delaney's books included the novel Ireland, the nonfiction book Simple Courage, and his ongoing podcast on James Joyce's Ulysses. A new novel is forthcoming from Putnam.

PEN America's annual World Voices Literary Festival in New York will proceed without Israeli government sponsorship this year, after having received such support in four of the last five years. Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign For the Boycott of Israel celebrates the change, and notes that they had enlisted signatures from 240 writers, poets, and publishers in their call for PEN America to reject Israeli government support. Those efforts included citing criticism from PEN International in the past for the Israeli government's "killings and the reported deliberate targeting of certain journalists, media organizations, and their infrastructures: and "the practice of administrative detention against journalists and other writers."

an email, executive director of PEN America Suzanne Nossel told representatives of organizations calling for the rejection of Israeli sponsorship, "Each year, our sources of funding for the Festival change depending on a wide range of factors."

BuzzTrace, a new online software that helps authors manage multi-platform social networking and analytics, will launch March 16. The program was created in conjunction with Ingram Content Group's 1440 Accelerator, a fourteen-week startup program.

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