Imprint, a unit formed in late 2014 and led by publisher Erin Stein, is closing. Imprint was a part of The Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group focused on branded publishing, new content creation, and acquiring original commercial fiction and picture books.
The world has been rocked by the coronavirus, and people are being forced to stay indoors to prevent the spread. Businesses have been forced to shut down, and Amazon has put priority items on top of their delivery lists. Books have taken a back seat on Amazon until the end of April, and The Strand and Barnes and Noble along with hundreds of other bookstores across the country have closed until further notice, but what does that mean for book publishers?
Image via SimonOwens
Right now the e-book and digital audiobook companies are doing well in keeping readers reading. However, some brick and mortar stores are trying to switch to online, due to only a handful of book distributors remaining open for now. Unfortunately, the online orders are barely scratching the surface of what bookstores do on a typical day. So, if the remaining distributors are shut down, then the bookstores that are running strictly on online orders are going to be in trouble. The Strand had to lay off 188 workers, though they hope they can rehire them once they reopen.
As for the publishing houses, it’s hard for them to promote and produce new books when author tours are being canceled and book printings are on hold. Layoffs could be coming next, and then what? The Big Five; Simon and Schuster, Penguin Random House, Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins, and Macmillian already backed out of BookExpo and Bookcon. The event has been pushed back to the end of July, but right now their main publishers are not attending. So many books that were in the works are now put on hold, and nobody really knows what will happen when this over.
One thing we can count on is authors having plenty of time to write, so by the time this pandemic comes to a close, there will not be enough literary agents for all the manuscripts that will be overflowing their desks and emails. So, if you’re a writer you should be writing as much as you can right now! Work on your craft and continue to buy books from distributors for as long as they’re open.
Keep reading. Keep writing. Stay Home.
Featured Image via The Writing Cooperative
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Lady Gaga is well known for her unique sense of style and her amazing singing voice. She has eleven Grammys and was nominated for an Oscar for her starring role in A Star is Born. Gaga has accomplished so much over the years, and she even walked the red carpet in a meat dress back in 2010. Now, she has signed with Macmillan, one of the big five publishing houses, to publish a children’s book.
Image via Oprah Magazine
The book will be filled with stories from young people, and words of encouragement from Gaga. The young people who will be contributing their stories are apart of the Born this Way foundation, started by Gaga and her mother. The foundation has a program called Channel Kindness, which helps young people elevate their acts of kindness and bravery. According to Gaga, the book will help uplift communities and instill hope in everyone. It will also showcase how no act of kindness is too small.
Children need a book that can help them better understand ways to be kind, and they need a book that encourages kindness. We hear a lot of stories about bullying, and we rarely hear any stories about acts of kindness. Those stories are few and far between, and now Gaga is using her voice to uplift kindness.
According to one of the publishers, Jean Feiwel, she believes this book is an anthem and an embrace that children and everyone around the world need. Jean is absolutely right, and it will definitely encourage children to want to be better and to do better. Kudos to Gaga for spreading her kindness with the world.
The book will be released on September 22, 2020. You can pre-order your copy here.
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Featured image via MTV
In a draft of a memo sent to Macmillan authors, CEO of the publishing giant, John Sargent, wrote of a new plan to increase revenue made through e-book lending at libraries. “To balance the great importance of libraries with the value of [authors’] work,” Macmillan plans to sell only one copy of any newly-released e-book at $30 to any library. Libraries will then have to wait two months after the title’s release to purchase additional copies at $60.
For those of you who aren’t fluent in corporate-speak, this means Macmillan is essentially trying to squeeze more money out of libraries that already face overly-complicated licensing policies for e-books.
Seattle Public LIbrary, Image via Thestranger.com
In some sense, this new arrangement should come as no surprise. E-books represent a dramatic challenge to the library lending model, and Sargent notes that digital lending is inherently more seamless and involves less friction than its physical counterpart. After all, what’s easier for the reader: traveling to a physical location to check out and return a physical copy or merely downloading an e-book from a library’s database? Still, these proposed changes which are scheduled to come in to effect November 1st have angered quite a few public libraries.
Marcellus Turner, chief librarian of the Seattle Public Library, chose to respond to these changes in a statement on the library’s website.
Marcellus Turner, Image via the Seattle Public LIbrary
The gist of his response:
- Macmillan’s new policy will severely affect the ability of library’s in dense, urban areas to meet their visitors’ needs.
- The policy will disproportionately affect readers with limited resources.
- Major publishers already charge an increased rate for library copies of e-books, and licensing agreements for e-book lending are already complicated. This change from Macmillan represents an even more restrictive shift in the publishing industry.
Turner ends his message by explaining that public libraries are highly committed to providing access for those that most need it, but Macmillan’s new policy makes that commitment much harder to maintain.
Image Via Library as Incubator Project
In an interview with TheStranger.com, Andrew Harbison, assistant director of collections at access at SPL, took issue with Sargent’s claim that e-book lending cannibalizes e-book sales. Though the lending model may need to be re-examined, Harbison contended e-book lending may actually boost sales by “retaining, maintaining, and advocating for a robust reading culture.” Harbison also argued this change will reduce the quality of the collection a library can build, ultimately harming readers who depend on library services.
What do you think? Are Macmillan Publishers in the right for prioritizing their bottom line? Or should libraries be thought of as a public good rather than a money-making tool? Let us know on Facebook and Instagram!
Featured images via TheStranger.com and Seattle Public Library
Some book publishers are rethinking the way they distribute their e-books to public libraries. Thanks to the convention of digital-book borrowing apps, many readers are able to read new titles on their tablets without having to wait for a physical book to be returned. This is especially relevant when big releases such as Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury and James Comey’s A Higher Loyalty are in popular demand. Readers flocked to these books the second that they hit the shelves, so digital book-borrowing apps became extremely convenient for those that wanted to rent the book without having to wait.
However, Macmillan, who published both Wolff and Comey’s books, are not as thrilled. With such widespread access to their most popular books, the company believes that they’re losing potential sales.
“Library reads are currently 45% of our total digital book reads in the U.S. and growing,” Macmillan Chief Executive John Sargent told The Wall Street Journal. “They are cannibalizing our digital sales.”
It is for this reason that Macmillan plans to limit each library system’s access to one digital copy of each new book it publishes in the first eight weeks of the book’s release. The action is set to take place on November 1st, and the hope is that more people will be inclined to purchase new books, instead of easily renting them.
Image via Google Play
Steve Potash, chief executive of Rakuten OverDrive, a digital distributor of e-books, replied to Macmillan’s move: “It will create a backlash against Macmillan books and their authors. Libraries encourage and showcase authors to readers. Now libraries will have a hard time doing that for Macmillan.”
Whether the decision to rubberneck e-book copies is fruitful or not is yet to be seen. However, for those of you digital-book borrowers out there, be prepared to wait for Macmillan’s new releases—or at least be prepared to fork over the money to buy a copy for yourself.
Featured Image Via Engadget