When you're trying to figure out what will happen in the book publishing business in the years to come, any prediction depends on how things work out that are beyond the control of the business, and sometimes well outside it. This will be increasingly the case if the book business, in what has remained a fairly lonely expectation of mine, is increasingly the domain of people who aren't publishing or selling books as a primary commercial activity, but as an adjunct or complement to some other principal objective.
Mills and Boon, the Harlequin-owned book publisher best known for its saucy women's fiction, is embarking on a new chapter in storytelling, with the launch of digital series The Chatsfield.
The series is not just an eBook, or an eBook with hyperlinks or video added. Harlequin has taken traditional storytelling and turned it on its head, creating non-linear stories in bite-sized chunks that are designed to be told in real-time.
In recent months, the double-digit sales growth of e-books in English has begun to plateau, but since the Spanish-language book market tends to be around three to five years behind the English-language market, e-book sales of Spanish books in the U.S. are just beginning to gain traction. Publishers of Spanish books based both in the U.S. and abroad are positioning themselves to benefit from the hoped-for uptick in sales.
When new communications media emerge, the typical pattern has been to simply put old content into the new format. I would argue that the most effective use of any medium is achieved only once the unique characteristics of that medium are fully grasped.
The international media company Bertelsmann invested heavily in expanding its businesses in 2013, as the company increased its revenues, operating result and Group profit. Investments in implementing the Group's strategy amounted to €2 billion, including financial debt assumed, up from €655 million in the previous year, and its largest sum since 2005. Group profit increased by 42 percent to €870 million. This is the highest Group profit since 2006, and is well above the latest expectations.
Getty Images made an interesting content-usage model announcement last week. After years of playing whack-a-mole with everyone who's ever stolen one of their images, Getty decided to embrace the free model for a portion of their library. You'll find additional details on this here and here.
Many new eBooks services are setting themselves up with claims to be the next Netflix or Spotify. They aim to be the subscription service for eBooks. But are they just dreaming and hoping that there is a market? Are they truly aligned, or are they adrift of consumer demand? The pundits and soothsayers all have their opinions, but does anyone really know, or are they merely playing to their respective audiences? The truth today is that no one knows and a gut feel is just that - a gut feel.
Today, StoriesAlive, the largest collection of children's interactive stories and creative workbooks, announced two additions to its library app available via iPad and Android tablets.
DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. is diversifying into children's books, creating a publishing unit that this year will issue titles based on such DreamWorks movies as "Kung Fu Panda" and "Madagascar."
DreamWorks Press, which will publish books in print and digital form, is the latest part of an effort by the animation studio to diversify beyond the high-risk movie business. Previous steps involved theme parks, a consumer-products business and the acquisition of an online video network.
Millions of out-of-print books and historical videoclips, black-and-white movies, nearly forgotten TV shows and pop songs are all available with a credit card or in many cases for free. It used to be that, for economic and technological reasons, this cultural history was locked away. Libraries and corporate archives kept a small subset of it available, but the rest was in storage, out of reach. The reversal has happened in just the past decade.