January is often a time of recaps and predictions, and the book industry is no exception to this trend. We've already shared in our December issue the big ideas we think will impact the publishing industry in 2015, so it seems only fitting that we take a look backwards as well. Book Business brings you the top 5 most popular articles of 2014.
Hachette Book Group CIO Ralph Munsen wants to move IT to the front of the office. Early this month, he plans to start embedding IT analysts throughout the firm in an effort he hopes will give the publisher more time to focus on the creative projects that make up its lifeblood.
IT "will actually sit with the people who use the tools and support them," Mr. Munsen said in an interview. Ten business analysts will be assigned to functions including finance, digital, sales and marketing, and production.
What will book publishing bring in 2015? Shrouded as the industry is behind a veil woven of billions and billions of dollars, it's difficult to say. But if you look hard enough - at the bestseller lists, the court cases, the controversies - you can glimpse through the metaphorical keyhole and into the back rooms where the deals are made. With this in mind, here is a somewhat reliable predictor for the publishing industry in 2015.
Let's begin with what we do know:
Hacking, denial-of-service attacks, and other acts of cyberterror and cyberwar have been with us for years, but are becoming more common as more disenfranchised countries and factions come online and gain the skills to perpetrate hacking attacks. Retailers like Target, Home Depot, and TJ Maxx were famously hacked in order to gain credit card numbers, while banks and other financial institutions have been hacked for monetary gain.
But theft isn't the only motivation. Increasingly, politics is becoming a motivation, from Wikileaks to Edward Snowden.
It's a cheerful orange giant stuffed with fan fiction and smileys which can garner a billion reads for an erotic One Direction story - scoring 25-year-old Texan Anna Todd a six-figure publishing deal in the process. But Wattpad also has a serious side as a thriving culture of original writing, with a small but steady flow of authors finding mainstream success with Big Six publishers such as Random House and Harper Collins. Half a dozen of these authors are getting together in the real world mid-December, at Wattpad's first UK convention.
In April, Wattpad receieved $46 million in funding led by OMERS Ventures, reported TechCrunch, and with around 25 million monthly active users, it's not hard to see why. Lau told TechCrunch, "To give some idea of how much content users are posting on Wattpad, they're uploading one chapter every half a second. That's about 150,000 uploads every day, and if you translate that to reading time, that's about 10 hours of reading uploaded to Wattpad every minute." Nazia Khan, Wattpad's communications manager, answered some of our burning questions about the exciting story-sharing platform.
My wife and I recently returned from an anniversary trip to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. If you ever have the opportunity to go there, do it; we have nothing but terrific things to say about the city, people and food. The trip opened my eyes to the opportunities that exist for digital content to enhance the travel/vacation experience. Unlike most hotels in the U.S., our resort didn't include free wifi access. They instead offer something akin to 1990's dial-up speeds at $10/day for each device.
The chance to publish the second edition of our Guide to Digital Publishing Platformswas a great opportunity to rethink many of the basic concepts of book publishing such as the role of the cover, and the need for using as many digital bookstores as possible. It is common wisdom that when publishing a book, the cover design is one of the most important elements that will influence a book's sales success. Much money is spent employing book design experts to make sure a book cover is attractive and lures the reader in.
This webinar explores how publishers are adapting to industry changes, and the ways in which they are not.
Penguin UK launches one of its most ambitious projects ever this week in which it effectively aims to crowd source the future of the book. On Thursday it will release a chunk of free, cross media content from Stephen Fry's new volume of memoirs More Fool Me - as well as material from the earlier Fry Chronicles - and will actively invite creative disobedience, digital play, tech mash-ups and all kinds of online mayhem on a global scale.