HarperCollins UK has seen a 66% drop in profits for the year ending 30th June 2013, according to results filed with Companies House. Pre-tax profits at the publisher dropped from £8.3m in 2012 to £2.8m in 2013, a decline of 66%. Profit after tax stood at £1.07m, falling  80% from £5.3m. HarperCollins has attributed the decline in profits to costs incurred by a change in its distribution system.

In anticipation of a rare week-long block of reading time (electricity is limited in Tulum, Mexico, and, as a result, so are televisions), I loaded up my Nook Simple Touch with another rare treat: fiction.

I've found my reading habits have tended toward nonfiction in recent years and, in the last year or so, toward my tablet (at home) or phone (in transit) and away from fiction and my trusty eInk reader. But last week, as I was loath to get sand up in my iPad's, let's call them delicate areas, and wary of trying to read from that back-lit screen under the Yucatan's intense glare—not to mention that I was anxious to get caught up in an epic tale—the Nook and Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings won the dias day.

HarperCollins has published the Visual Companion and Official Movie Guide for The Hobbit, as well as children's books The Movie Story Book and The World of Hobbits to coincide with the cinema release of the first of three films based on the prequel to JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Arctic Paper delivered 404 tonnes of Arctic Silk 130gsm to Italian book printer Rotolito Lombarda Spa for the 740,000 books that made up the initial print runs of the four titles, reprints of which are already in the pipeline.

As a lifelong Tolkien fan and an ardent Latinist, translating The Hobbit into Latin has been a long-cherished ambition of mine. But I am aware that others might think of it as, at best, a rather whimsical endeavor ("You're doing what?", "The Hobbit -- in Latin!", "Who's going to read that?!"). So perhaps I should begin by explaining why I think there are such good reasons for doing it that the only wonder is it had not been done sooner.

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