HarperCollins: Getting Back to Square One

harperlogoIn fiscal year 2013, HarperCollins saw significant revenue and profit gains versus a year ago.
The company brought in $1.369 billion in revenue and $142 million of EBITDA (a common measure of corporate profit). That’s up from $1.189 billion in sales and EBITDA of $86 million in fiscal 2012.
Perhaps a more interesting comparison would be the year HarperCollins had in 2008: $1.388 billion in revenue and operating income of $160 million. Very similar to this year. Call it getting back to “square one.”
So, how did the company do it? Reportedly, by buying Thomas Nelson. Ebooks also have played a part.
Read more.

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The rest of the day’s top news:
Goodreads Growing Pains (GigaOm)
Leading book-focused social networking site Goodreads is going through some growing pains. As the site tries to balance serving readers with serving authors and publishers, it’s rankling some of its devoted users by changing policies. One controversial change is that Goodreads is now deleting reviews that discuss an author personally rather than the book itself.
Consequences for Liars (NYT)
Think it’s okay to give a fake review on a website like Goodreads or Yelp, pumping up the user ratings for a friend, family member or colleague? Think again. New York regulators have fined 19 companies $350,000 in penalties for either being paid to write and publish fake reviews or for soliciting such a business strategy.
Penguin Random Reshuffle (Pub Lunch)
As the integration continues, more promotions are being made at Penguin Random House. The latest is Cyrus Kheradi, a Random House veteran, who was made senior vice president, director of international sales and marketing.
The Death of $1.99 Ebooks? (GigaOm)
Kobo is reporting that the $1.99 price point for ebooks is “dead.” Smashwords is reporting the same – basically that books priced there don’t do as well as $2.99 or $0.99, for instance. Ebook prices have been ticking down over the past few months and are now hovering near all-time lows. Check out our $0.00 to $2.99 ebook best-seller list from last week to see how many of the titles are priced at $1.99 and where they fall in the overall best-seller list. (There are two in the top-25.)
Small Selection, Low Prices Key to Future of Book Retail? (Medium)
One experience online book retail doesn’t try to replicate is the very small, “charity” bookshop (as they’re called in the UK). They may have just a few hundred books on hand – and at low prices – but you somehow always find something to take a chance on for just a dollar or two. Maybe publishers and retailers can learn from this example to create a new kind of niche book retail experience online.
More on DBW 2014 (Pub Lunch)
DBW partners Publishers Lunch break down more of what’s new about Digital Book World 2014.
Read Your Ebooks During Takeoff and Landing (NYT)
Don’t you think it’s stupid that the Federal Aviation Administration doesn’t allow e-readers to be in use during the takeoff and landing of an aircraft? The rules on this issue may change – as early as next year.  
Don’t Blame Technology – Roll With It (Idealog)
Are you the person who rails against the trappings of modern society or the person who takes advantage of them? You may find it hard to succeed in the book business in the foreseeable future if you’re the former.  
Fifty Shades of Merlot (DBW)
E.L. James is lending her books’ name and her palette to a new venture: wine. Fifty Shades of Grey Wine will produce a red and a white to start. Perhaps the message is, if you are too timid to try the books, how about trying the wine first and seeing where that takes you?
How to Make Blog Tours Work (The Future of Ink)
According to at least one observer, blog tours – the practice of authors “touring” a bunch of different blogs relevant to their work and making guest posts tailored for each blog – works when it comes to selling books. Here’s how.


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