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Understanding the University Press Segment: Q&A with Paula Barker Duffy, Director, University of Chicago Press
June 1, 2007

The University of Chicago Press is the largest university press in the United States, according to the press’s director, Paula Barker Duffy. Founded in 1891, it is one of the oldest, continuously operating university presses in the United States. Book Business Extra spoke with Duffy about the University of Chicago Press’ areas of expertise, being a self-sustaining press, its biggest challenges and more. EXTRA: The University of Chicago Press claims to be largest university press in the U.S. How is this defined, what makes you the largest? DUFFY: The University of Chicago Press publishes both books (approximately 280 titles in 2007) and journals

BISG To Release Book Industry Trends 2007
June 1, 2007

The Book Industry Study Group Inc. (BISG), a trade association for book industry standards, policy and research, is scheduled to announce its annual book sales estimates and forecasts in both dollars and units for the time period of 2005–2011, today during BookExpo America (BEA) at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan. The estimates are part of the 2007 edition of “Book Industry Trends,” BISG’s research publication that has provided a view of U.S. book publishing sales for the past 30 years. The preview at BEA will feature highlights from the new publication, a description of the research methodology and sources of

Top 30 Book Manufacturers
June 1, 2007

If 2007 goes down as “The Year of RR Donnelley,” it will do so as a result of a 65-day span at the turn of the year during which the conglomerate announced it would acquire three industry stalwarts: Perry Judd’s, Von Hoffman and Banta Corp. But the past year has been about more than consolidation and leveraged buyouts. North American printers continue to grapple with the mounting menace that is offshore manufacturing, fluctuating paper prices amid a series of mill shutdowns, and the ever-evolving technological demands of their customers. And yet, despite these challenges, there are also a number of opportunities facing the market.

Barnes & Noble Reports Increased First Quarter Sales Results
June 1, 2007

Barnes & Noble Inc. recently reported that sales for the first quarter of 2007 increased by 3 percent to $1.1 billion compared to the prior year’s first quarter. Store sales reportedly increased 3.3 percent to $1 billion and BarnesandNoble.com sales were up 8 percent to $93.8 million, also compared to Q1 of 2006. The increase in sales was attributed to some successful titles including: Rhonda Byrne’s “The Secret,” Chris Bohjalian’s “The Double Bind,” Mohsin Hamids “The Reluctant Fundamentalist,” and others. For the second quarter, the company anticipates comparable store sales at Barnes & Noble stores to increase in the low to mid single digits,

Focusing on Faith
May 1, 2007

The large New York publishing firms might have been forgiven, in early 2000, for taking little or no notice of a slim volume of Bible commentary put out by Multnomah Publishers, a small religious publishing house based in Colorado Springs. The book, which analyzed an obscure Old Testament passage as a sort of self-help guide to releasing “God’s favor, power and protection” through prayer, was bought up by large evangelical churches and began to be talked about online and in so-called “small group ministry” sessions around the country. One year and 4 million copies later, everyone in the publishing world had heard of

Deconstructing Distribution
May 1, 2007

The recent collapse of San Diego-based wholesaler Advanced Marketing Services (AMS), and its distribution subsidiary that it took down with it—the much esteemed Publishers Group West (PGW) that it acquired only five years ago—reminded me of the remarkable way in which our industry sorts through 180,000 new titles a year and the millions more in print. Somehow, in a timely manner, the industry moves books into stores, superstores, specialty stores and gift shops, big-box discounters, grocery and drug store chains, and libraries of all kinds—aggregating more than 100,000 accounts that someone has to bill and collect on. Dramatic though the PGW collapse is, drilling

An Exhibition of Optimism
April 1, 2007

In the months following the Sept. 11 attacks, museum admissions declined sharply, exhibitions were cancelled, and in the turbulence, administrators began examining whether they could continue to publish books as a result. Today, “there is generally a very optimistic feeling, which is not to say it’s easy. It’s still very difficult, but it’s an exciting time, and I feel really good about our future,” says Yale University Press Publisher Patricia Fidler. “No one was saying that a few years ago.” Currently, her art and architecture division publishes 120 books annually, of which roughly 60 percent stem from Yale’s museum partners. Stephanie Medlock,

Future of Print Takes Center Stage at Book Business Conference & Expo
April 1, 2007

More than 1,000 publishing industry professionals converged on New York’s Marriott Marquis, March 5-7, braving a windy Times Square to attend the 2007 Book Business Conference and Expo. The future of print was a primary theme throughout both the exhibit hall, which housed approximately 100 industry suppliers and services, and the conference program, which was packed with more than two dozen sessions, roundtables and panel discussions relevant to book publishers looking for tools to manage their businesses in an ever-changing industry. “The conference hit on so many of the most significant issues facing book publishers that attendees and speakers alike were truly energized by

Random House Sales and Profits Up, According to 2006 Fiscal Report
March 26, 2007

Random House posted a 6.5 percent growth last year, according to 2006 sales data released Wednesday, during a press briefing in Berlin, by its parent company, Bertelsmann. Random House sales jumped to $2.5 billion last year, helping the New York-based publishing arm of the German media conglomerate to raise its operating profit 9.6 percent to $242 million. In a letter written to Random House staff, Peter Olson, Random House chairman and CEO, said the company’s fiscal performance “is especially impressive for having been achieved against the backdrop of a sluggish international book marketplace, a slightly unfavorable foreign exchange rate due to the dollar’s ongoing weakness against

You’re Hired!
March 1, 2007

Publishers rely on the Internet or classified ads to spread the word about new positions, but how can you guarantee you will attract people with the best or even relevant skill sets? Furthermore, the more important question may be: Exactly what skill sets should you be looking for in today’s constantly changing publishing environment? Beyond the obvious characteristics any publisher would want in a new hire—intelligence, loyalty, enthusiasm, writing and editing skills, an eye for layout, business and marketing savvy, and so forth, publishers may wonder if they should expand the perimeter of the required skill set to prepare for embracing the multimedia

Help Yourself to Opportunity
March 1, 2007

Whether it’s through Dr. Phil’s advice on “getting real” or Dale Carnegie’s strategies on “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” we seem to be incessantly compelled to better ourselves. Besides spiritual and professional self-help books, do-it-yourself books have exploded in popularity over the years (the “For Dummies” line published by John Wiley & Sons Inc. among them). But like any other market segment, the self-help book market faces challenges—challenges that are, in fact, similar to those most publishers are facing at the moment. They also face great opportunity in a changing marketplace—opportunity that some say could be easily missed. Community Is Key

“Potter” Sets Amazon Pre-order Record
February 2, 2007

With the date—July 21—set for the publishing event of the year, the release of J.K. Rowling’s latest “Harry Potter” novel, signs of the oncoming consumer frenzy are already here. Amazon said today that “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” first-day advance orders taken on yesterday exceed the online retailer’s first-day pre-order number of the previous edition of the series by 547 percent, according to a report by Reuters. Rowling announced the name of the seventh and final Potter book on her Web site yesterday. Lisa Holton, president, Scholastic Trade Books and Book Fairs, told Book Business in an interview in the February issue that the publication of

Simon & Schuster Sets Bestseller Record
December 15, 2006

When the New York Times Best-Sellers list comes out next Sunday morning, Simon & Schuster will have its highest-ever one-week total of titles on the weekly chart. The company, a division of CBS Corporation, announced yesterday that it will have 21 bestsellers on the list, in the Dec. 24 edition of the Sunday Times Book Review section. Besides placing titles throughout eight of the 10 Times lists, Simon & Schuster claimed the top three slots on the “Hardcover Advice, How-To, Miscellaneous” category with “YOU: On a Diet,” “Mad Money” and “Joy of Cooking.” The total puts the number of Simon & Schuster bestsellers to appear on

A Primer on Selecting Alternative Book Papers
November 1, 2006

Mills have traditionally heavily promoted their high-quality papers made from virgin fiber stocks. But technological changes in recent years have made available other types of stocks—in particular: recycled, synthetic and groundwood substrates. Each of these papers offer characteristics that are different from papers made from virgin fibers. Here are a few important considerations for each of these paper stock “alternatives.” Recycled Content Many publishers are feeling pressure from environmental groups to use recycled papers, which often are sold at a premium, while the post-consumer content still hovers at around 10 percent. However, characteristics for papers used by magazines, catalogs, newspapers and flyers have improved to a

Children’s Book Publishers Think ‘Outside the Book’
October 1, 2006

Children’s books may be about finding the kid in all of us, but everyone in the children’s publishing business agrees that they have to grow up when it comes to taking advantage of profitable opportunities. The Internet is clearly not going away, yet with the need to protect children from cyberspace predators, publishers have to go through parents to get through to their young audiences. Once you reach them, however, it can’t hurt to be as multidimensional as possible. Jason Wells, publicity and marketing director for New York-based Harry N. Abrams Inc., says kids are looking for books that are not just self-contained

The Era of Experimentation
August 1, 2006

The adult trade business has had to endure many changes in recent years. E-books are seen as a business model alternative, but while they’ve been convenient for consumers, the adult trade revenues aren’t exactly astounding. Sure, mobile content could be a savior of the future, but right now it’s an experiment of the present. With all of that in mind, we look at the present of adult trade. No Denying Technology Brian Murray, group president of HarperCollins, says digital opportunities are growing, and the adult trade market is going to be dependent on how it’s able to grab the Web-browsing consumer. “The bookstore

Industry Outlook Bright
August 1, 2006

Despite the predictions of gray skies that have become increasingly prevalent in forecasts for the book publishing industry, a recent survey conducted by Book Business shows that the large majority of industry executives still cast an optimistic eye toward the future. In addition, most respondents foresee a lucrative long-term future for their companies and appear unconcerned that digital-format books will eventually replace print. Sixty-eight percent of those surveyed replied they feel “optimistic” about the industry’s future and another 10 percent are “very optimistic.” Just 16 percent consider themselves to be “pessimistic.” Furthermore, these executives appear to, for the most part, have high hopes

Top 30 Book Manufacturers
June 1, 2006

For the second consecutive year, Visant Corp. nailed down the top spot in Book Business’ Top 30 Book Manufacturers List (p. 41)—ranked by 2005 book manufacturing revenue—in what was certainly an up-and-down year for many book printers. The book manufacturing landscape continues to change, with paper prices on the rise while availability declines. Publishers are being more vigilant than ever in controlling their costs, while Asia’s impact on the market increases each year. In its annual look at the state of the industry, Book Business sought insights from executives at four of the companies on the list—four companies, it is worth noting, that posted

New Study Shows Steady Growth for Publishing Industry
May 26, 2006

NEW YORK -- A new study by the Book Industry Study Group (BISG), a book standards, policy and research organization, makes a case with results from its new study that the book publishing industry continues to experience steady growth, predicting that net revenues will top $40.4 billion by 2010. The 2006 edition of “Book Industry Trends” estimates that total publishers’ net revenues in 2005 reached $34.59 billion, up slightly more than 5.9 percent over 2004’s total. According to the new report, sales for the juvenile trade category rose 9.6 percent in 2005, to $3.34 billion. Religious book sales also continued to grow, increasing 8.1

U.S. Book Production Falls 18 Percent in 2005
May 12, 2006

NEW PROVIDENCE, N.J. -- Bowker, a bibliographic information agency, released a report this week that shows book publishing in the U.S. decreased 18 percent in 2005 to 172,000 new titles and editions -- marking the country’s first decline since 1999. The statistics, based on preliminary figures from U.S. publishers, were compiled from Bowker’s Books In Print database, a comprehensive listing of more than 6 million U.S. book, audiobook and video titles. The U.S.’s decrease allowed for Great Britain to assume the top spot as the world’s leader in English-language publishing, with the U.K.’s 206,000 new books in 2005 representing a 28-percent increase. The U.S.’s