It’s no secret many authors aren’t convinced traditional publishers offer them contract terms worth signing for. Over the past two years, Digital Book World and Writer’s Digest have tracked some of that dissatisfaction in our annual Author Surveys.
Enter Simon & Schuster’s North Star Way imprint, which the publisher bills as a more “client-centric approach” than the existing model has previously offered.
The new imprint promises authors “an expanded suite of profile-building, ancillary services that extend beyond the boundaries of traditional publishing.”
Building on the SimonSays program of author-led online video courses it rolled out earlier this month, Simon & Schuster also tackles another issue with its new imprint: the worry that books are struggling to compete with a rising tide of multimedia as more readers go mobile.
North Star Way will publish video content, apps, podcasts and courses in addition to print and ebooks.
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Amazon Earnings Slim, but Better than Expected (Pub Lunch)
The e-tailer’s fourth quarter sales rose 15% while its modest net income of $214 million still came in higher than many predicted, causing Amazon stock to jump about 11%. But as Publishers Lunch points out, “It is the lowest fourth-quarter growth increase for the company since 2009.”
BitLit Signs Wiley (DBW)
The ebook bundling start-up added selections from HarperCollins and Elsevier to its catalog in two deals in the last half of 2014. BitLit now brings in just under 1,000 technical titles from Wiley, rounding out an offering that’s doubled in size since November.
Related: Q&A with BitLit CEO Peter Hudson
New Discovery Tool Turns from Readers to Texts (PW)
A start-up called Trajectory unveils an algorithm offering to significantly improve book recommendations. The tool shifts the focus from consumers’ past buying behaviors toward the content itself, analyzing a book’s internal structure and elements in order to identify titles with similar features.
Harlequin Enters the Bull Ring (PW)
Partnering with the Professional Bull Riders organization, Harlequin announces a new line of novels about bull riders, whose covers will feature those very professionals at the heart of what Harlequin CEO Craig Swinwood calls “the fastest growing sport in America.” The series will be sold exclusively at Walmart locations in the U.S.
Adobe Digital Editions Adds iPad App (Talking New Media)
The Adobe ebook platform rolls out out an app for the iPad. It includes PDF and EPUB3 support but strikes one observer as parsimonious when it comes to other features.
Why the Big Five Isn’t a Cartel (The Shatzkin Files)
Digital Book World Conference Chair and industry leader Mike Shatzkin argues that critics who consider Big Five publishers a “cartel”—a case made by some earlier this month at Digital Book World 2015—make the false “assumption that the per-copy royalty terms and rights splits are the most important element of publishing contracts.” Here’s why Shatzkin reasons that isn’t the case.
Five Publishing Innovators to Watch (SkilledUp)
The slowdown in ebook growth has some wondering whether the year ahead will be anemic on innovation as well. One industry watcher thinks not, and ticks off five companies that are each bringing something new to digital publishing.
Free Webcast: Surveying the Mobile Landscape (DBW)
Analyst and author of a new Digital Book World report on mobile strategies Thad McIlroy offers a thorough introduction to the leading trends in the mobile market and tactics for publishers of all sizes to adapt on a wide range of fronts. Don’t miss his free webcast on February 17th.