The Slate Book Review and the Center for Cartoon Studies are proud to announce the nominees for the first Cartoonist Studio Prizes. The winner in each of our two categories will be announced on March 1; each winner will receive $1,000 and, of course, eternal glory. The shortlists were selected by Slate Book Review editor Dan Kois, the faculty and students at the Center for Cartoon Studies, and this year’s guest judge, legendary New Yorker art editor Françoise Mouly.
The most trafficked ebook store in the world today is Amazon. Very soon, that might not be the case.
Illustrated ebook store and ebook production management start-up Inkling has found a way to make Google Search a storefront for its ebooks, where readers can discover, browse and buy. It’s called the Inkling Content Discovery Platform.
“Google is now able to index the full content of our titles,” said Inkling founder and CEO Matt MacInnis, adding that readers “can buy the individual content shown or the entire book.”
Barnes & Noble had a rough holiday season: Same-store sales fell compared to a year ago and revenue from sales of the Nook tablet stalled. Despite a heavy investment in the Nook business, Barnes & Noble is expected to have a three-year cumulative loss of more than $700 million, according to Barclays Capital -- an indication that the bookstore's multi-front war with online retailer Amazon.com doesn't seem to be working.
The returns are in on sales for Amazon and Barnes & Noble from the holiday sales period. Remember that “surge” that I mentioned in my last blog? Like the song says “it ain’t necessarily so.”
On the one hand, Amazon had its biggest holiday season ever, with the Kindle Fire being its number one product—specifically the “#1 best-selling, most gifted and most wished for product."
Meanwhile, Barnes & Noble sales were down almost across the board—in stores, on-line and sales of Nook. Revenues were down 12.6% from the previous year. The good news is that sales of digital content were up 13.1%, “indicating that at least those who own Nooks are using them to buy content.” While B&N would not specifically break out Nook sales they did say that after Black Friday sales “fell short of expectations for the balance of holiday.”
For Barnes & Noble, the digital future is not what it used to be.
After a year spent signaling its commitment to build its business through its Nook division, Barnes & Noble on Thursday announced disappointing holiday sales figures, with steep declines that underscored the challenge it faces in transforming from its traditional retail format.
Until the transaction is closed (likely late 2013 pending regulatory approval), official news about the Random House Penguin venture is expected to be scarce. And yet questions abound. Why did two of the biggest players in book publishing throw in their lot together? Will further contraction occur in its wake? Will this give the new entity more leverage in its negotiations with mighty Amazon? And if so, will it be enough to matter? We rang up four industry experts and asked them what—if anything—it all means for publishers and publishing.
Books — staid and intellectual cultural artifacts that they so often are — were not all just staid or intellectual this year. Not nearly. There were, in fact, scandals, at least a few of them surrounding books and their authors and publishers, and there were times in which discussions of books and the business grew dramatic and tension-filled. Near-scandals! Other times, these conversations were simply very, very interesting, full of twists and turns, much like a good book.
Rainforest Action Network has launched a campaign urging HarperCollins to end the use of fiber from controversial sources after it said that independent forensic tests found significant quantities of pulp from Indonesian rainforests in several of the publishing company’s books.
Mixed tropical hardwood and high-risk acacia fiber were found in HarperCollins’ bestselling children’s book “Fancy Nancy’s Splendiferous Christmas,” RAN said. Acacia was also found in HarperCollins titles including “Splat the Cat: The Perfect Present for Mom and Dad” and “Talking Pictures: Images and Messages Rescued from the Past,” the environmental group said.
The recently announced merger of Penguin and Random House, which is owned by Bertelsmann in Germany, sent shock waves throughout Western publishing circles. This new leviathan will publish a quarter of all books appearing in English, with annual sales of close to $4 billion, yet it is being treated by The New York Times and other media as a routine and perhaps even beneficial development.
On the heels of the announced Penguin/Random House merger, Laura Hazard Owen at PaidContent has a piece about preliminary talks between HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster. HC parent company News Corp, was reportedly ready to make a cash bid to acquire Penguin once its talks with Random House became public.
While Random Penguin was a meme goldmine, HarperSchuster doesn't seem quite as hashtag friendly.
With the vaunted "Big 6" set to become a "Big 5" and possibly a "Big 4", we expect someone, somewhere to report rumors of talks between Hachette and Macmillan in 3…2…1…