Friday, November 10, 2017

Publishers Lunch


Today's Meal

Lagardere reported third quarter sales, with publishing division revenues falling 4.3 percent to €646 million (down from €675 million a year ago). Underlying sales fell more, since that total includes €11 million from recent acquisitions. (Brainbow and Bookouture each contributed €5 million, and IsCool Entertainment added €1 million.)

This year's results were weighed down comparatively by last year's release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by Hachette UK, and that division was down 13.5 percent as a result.

US sales were down 2.8 percent, on "a lighter release schedule." But the big French division rose 6 percent, mostly on improved educational sales. Foreign exchange, with a weaker British pound and softer US dollar, cost the division €17 million for the quarter. Earlier this year, ceo Arnaud Nourry had told analysts in the investor call he "would not bet on significant organic growth for the year."

Since the quarter closed, in early October Hachette Livre contributed to the founding of
Educapital, a new European ed-tech and professional training investment fund, which raised €45 million overall to start.

Separately, Quarto issued a
trading update to warn investors that, despite stronger second half sales, "full year adjusted profit before tax is now expected to be significantly lower than board expectations." After suspending the interim dividend earlier this year, the board "will not be recommending the payment of a final dividend." While those announcements weighed heavily on the stock, which is down 18 percent, to its lowest levels since 2012 (and shares are down about 60 percent this year), it actually bodes well for the company's future.

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Ralf Markmeier will join Harper Germany as managing director and publisher starting January 15. He succeeds Thomas Beckmann, who will retire in February, after 18 years with Harlequin and Harper. Markmeier was previously with Random House Germany, which he joined in 2003. Harper Collins cdo and evp of international publishing Chantal Restivo-Alessi said, "Ralf's extensive trade publishing knowledge and management skills, gained at the biggest publishing conglomerate in Germany, will help us continue our growth trajectory." Restivo-Alessi also commended Beckmann's "outstanding service over the last two decades" and added: "During his career, Thomas consistently demonstrated his deep understanding of book and magazine distribution, and his commitment to the business and to his team."

At William Morrow, Kaitlin Harri has been promoted to senior marketing director.

Mika Kasuga has been promoted to the new position of publishing manager at the Random House Publishing Group. She will continue to work on backlist initiatives while also serving as a centralized operations manager for Random House, Spiegel & Grau, One World, Lenny and The Dial Press.

Kyla Pigoni has been promoted to marketing manager at Amazon Publishing. In addition, Lucy Silag has joined as publicity lead. Previously she was assistant director of publicity for the Random House Publishing Group.

Awards/Best of
Waterstones announced its Best Books of 2017
shortlist, with the winner to be named on November 30:
Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders
The Book of Dust, by Philip Pullman
Mr. Lear, by Jenny Uglow
A Skinful of Shadows, by Frances Hardinge
Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls, by Elena Cavilli & Francesca Cavallo
Talking to My Daughter About the Economy, by Yanis Varoufakis
The Lost Words, by Robert MacFarlane & Jackie Morris

The National Book Awards will stream the November 15 ceremony on
Facebook Live, switching from the National Book Awards site, where it has streamed in the past. Produced in conjunction with Telescope, the new livestream will feature a fancier three-camera format.


A Chicago Tribune article discussed some publishers' experiments with standalone audio products. Hachette Audio, as one example, plans to draw on unpublished content from their authors for audio-only projects, looking for stories their authors, as svp, content development and audio publisher Anthony Goff described, "might find in their desk drawer that they could record in audio." Similarly, Harper Audio and Macmillan Audio have launched their own straight-to-audio projects.

President and publisher of Simon & Schuster Audio Christopher Lynch said he expects straight-to-audio offerings to be "one, two, or three hours long," rather than the length of traditional audiobooks, and by authors people will recognize. He also cited as an obstacle "talking to our writers and their agents about doing this without taking them away from their day jobs." Meanwhile, Audible has been ramping up acquisitions for the
Audible Originals line.

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