The death of the traditional book had been greatly exaggerated

Penguin boss admits the company read too much into the eBook hype

Penguin wrongly lost confidence in the power of the printed word and invested “unwisely” amid the rise of eBooks, one of the company’s bosses has admitted.

The “bad moment” means Penguin – one of the UK’s biggest publishers – now takes steps “much more cautiously” than it would have five years ago.

The comments came after figures showed eBooks sales fell for the first time since 2014 last year. Experts said the data showed reports about the death of the traditional book had been greatly exaggerated.

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During the talk, the two women also suggested it was a good time to be a debut novelist, as publishers were looking for writers with “no track record”.

They admitted this was sometimes bad news for authors who had already produced two or three books. [EDS NOTE: A pointed reference to self-pubbed authors?].

“If you are a brand new name it is fantastic, and success is bigger than it has ever been, but to be in the middle it is very difficult… talented people are in danger of being sidelined,” Ms Alexander said.

Read more here.

Black-owned Bookstores Soldier-on in the Fight to Survive and Thrive

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There is a feeling among writers of color in America that the publishing industry is not giving them a fair shake.

Many of them say that they are being marginalised by a publishing establishment that is predominantly white.

To further complicate matters, Black-owned bookstores have been steadily closing down over the past decade, depriving those very same writers of important outlets for promoting and selling their books.

In 2015 Lee & Low Books, America’s largest multicultural children’s and young adult book publisher, launched the first major study of employee diversity in publishing that has since confirmed the African American literary community’s worst fears.

Based on a survey of more than 40 publishers and review journals, and research done by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, the Lee & Low study confirmed what many had long suspected; the people working behind the scenes in America’s publishing industry are overwhelmingly white and female.

The findings showed, among other things, that board members and those in executive positions in publishing are 86 percent white and 59 percent women. It also revealed that the editorial staff are 82 percent white and 84 percent women, while the marketing and publicity departments are 77 percent white and 84 percent women, The sales people are 83 percent white and 77 percent women.

The study also provided statistics from 1994 to 2012 indicating that while 37% of the U.S. population are people of color, only 10% of the books published focus on multicultural content.

Read more here.

The List Where Indies Count

If you’re a regular IndieReader, then you’re familiar with our bestseller list, compiled on Sunday for Monday’s post, culled from The New York Times, USA Today and Amazon. Looking for something to great to read this weekend? Look no further than this week’s list.