Wednesday, May 29, 2013

BEA-Timed Announcements: S&S Streamlines Promo Funds for Indies; Penguin Sells Books on Wheels; PublicAffairs Pairs with The Economist; Ingram Partners with Courier; and More

Publishers Lunch

Simon & Schuster is expanding its offerings to booksellers with a new "premier marketing plan" that simplifies access to promotional funds for independent booksellers. They will bolster that new plan on June 10 with a new customer portal that consolidates marketing/co-op information, order tracking, invoices and digital catalogs.
Independently owned and operated brick and mortar bookstores with a maximum of 15 shipping destinations qualify for the new allowances, which replace traditional and newsletter co-op, and eliminate existing co-op approval procedures. Promotional funds will be based on the previous year's total direct and indirect net physical purchases, paid to booksellers in quarterly credits. It also offers exempt funds for approved author appearances. S&S recently provided independent booksellers 60-day invoice dating (from the end-of-month) and a new, lower 30-unit minimum for orders.
"Our Premier Marketing Plan has been developed thanks to a fruitful dialogue and much helpful feedback from our bookselling partners in the independent channel,” said evp, sales and marketing Michael Selleck in a statement. "At the top of their wish list was faster and easier access to promotional funds and we are pleased to offer this improvement which will enable all of us to place yet more focus on marketing and selling books. We look forward to continued partnership with our independent accounts in bringing books by our authors, at all different stages of their careers, to the attention of readers everywhere."

After promotional success with the Penguin-designed Mini Cooper, the publisher is supersizing the books-carton-wheels concept. The Penguin Book Truck -- debuting at BEA -- is a bookmobile with 96 linear feet of bookshelves with Penguin titles for sale, and its little friend the Penguin Book Pushcart is a hotdog cart of books to reach more remote locations (stationed in Central Park for Shakespeare in the Park visitors). Like John Steinbeck's Joad family, the book truck will take to the road this summer, traveling west on Route 66 from Oklahoma to California, stopping at numerous museums, universities and historical sites along the way.

Separately, PublicAffairs will take over as publisher of books from The Economist in North America, as of October 1, with the first new frontlist titles under their agreement publishing starting in January 2014. They will partner with Profile Books in the UK in developing The Economist books list, across fields ranging from business, finance and management to technology and current affairs. Profile has been the exclusive publisher of Economist books for 17 years, and will continue as their publisher in the UK and everywhere else, except for North America.

Also joining forces are Ingram Content Group and printer/publisher Courier Corporation, in what they call a strategic relationship. "Courier will use Ingram’s print-on-demand and digital distribution services, and Ingram will use Courier’s printing capabilities to streamline workflow and speed delivery to retailers and readers worldwide." Ingram's full-print-lifecycle LifePrint program announced last Friday will use Courier for some of the printing services offered.
Courier will offer expanded POD and distribution services to its publisher and self-publisher clients (via the recently-acquired FastPencil), and will use Ingram’s Print To Order channel capabilities for Courier's own publishing imprints to make backlist titles available globally. Courier ceo James Conway III says in the announcement, "Combining our expertise in process management and print production with Ingram’s channel connections and global scale creates an extraordinary opportunity for authors, publishers and retailers. In today's competitive environment, it's imperative to be fast, flexible and efficient in getting content out to consumers. Thanks to our collaboration with Ingram, publishers will have more and better choices than ever in content management, physical and digital production, and global distribution."

Any Hachette/Lagardere employees holding company stock will soon receive special one-time payment of 9 euros for every share, the parent company's disbursement of about half the after-tax proceeds of the sale of their minority stake in EADS. (Which is also why the stock is trading much lower today, since the dividend is paid to holders of record as of yesterday.)
Finally, Kobo announced some recent statistics in advance of BEA. The company says they added 2.5 million users worldwide in the first quarter of 2013 -- with 375,000 of those in the US, through their partnership with the ABA. More broadly, the company says their customers "are reading 34 percent more" in the first quarter of 2013 as compared to the same period a year ago. The real point of the release is to reinforce their belief that, as ceo Michael Serbinis puts it, "This is a massive $250-billion market and still in the early days of a 25-year transformation."

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg officially has declared Tuesday as "G.P. Putnam's Sons Day," in recognition of the publisher's 175th anniversary. Bloomberg said: "The story of G.P. Putnam's Sons has it all – entrepreneurship, determination, romance, big dreams. 

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