Penguin Random House, the largest book publisher in the world, is chopping off its self-publishing arm. The company said Tuesday that it has sold Author Solutions—the self-publishing author-tools platform that it bought in 2012—to an unnamed affiliate of US private equity firm Najafi Companies for an undisclosed sum.
Whether driven by sinking profits or negative publicity, Penguin Random House’s exit from self-publishing is an admission of defeat: The giant self-publishing market essentially now falls largely to Amazon, which already churns out an estimated 85 percent of self-published titles via its various platforms.
While Author Solutions will likely continue to run as a self-publishing business, it seems traditional publishing companies have largely decided to steer clear of Amazon in this area.
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Traditional Publishing: What Is It Good for? (Jane Friedman)
When I first started working in publishing, no one questioned the value of a publisher. Now they do. When I tell nonfiction writers they need to demonstrate to the agent/editor they have a big enough platform—enough visibility—to sell books without the help of a publisher, they’ll ask, “What’s the publisher for then?” When I tell fiction writers that their work needs to be compelling, polished and ready for publication before they query, they’ll ask, “What’s the publisher for then?”
Ebook Authors May Be an Endangered Species, But We Can Fight Back (Guardian)
The Society of Authors has warned of the abysmal pay received by many writers. Yet with innovation—and the book-buying public’s support—we may yet survive.
A Manifesto for Digital Freedom in Storytelling (Futurebook)
Advocates of print books carp at ebooks. Self-published and traditionally published authors snipe at each other. The trade authors accuse the self-published authors of putting out tripe and crap; the self-publishing authors accuse trade authors of snobbery. And everyone hates digital. Ok, not everyone. But some people seem to overlook the wonderful benefits of various publishing modes these days.
Intellogo’s Tools for Self-Publishing Platforms (Pub Perspectives)
Intellogo Founder and CEO Neil Balthaser examines the challenge of discoverability and provides a solution for the flood of content on self-publishing platforms.
Barnes & Noble Reports Holiday Sales Results (DBW)
Barnes & Noble reported sales for the nine-week holiday period ending January 2nd, 2016. Core comparable store sales, which exclude NOOK products, increased 1.6 percent, marking the second consecutive holiday increase.
Pearson Rebrand to Reflect 100% Focus on Education (Bookseller)
Pearson has rebranded to reflect its 100-percent focus on education. The rebrand launched on Monday with Pearson intending to roll out its redesign globally over the next two years. Designed to work flexibly within a wide range of international markets and cultures, age ranges and audiences, and, importantly, “to work on all different applications,” the rebranding is hoped to be “used and built on” as well as “played with” to “deliver better learning experiences” worldwide, according to a Pearson-commissioned video telling its “design story.”
Will Amazon Pantry and Fresh Succeed in 2016? (Econsultancy)
I thought the most interesting response to Amazon Pantry came from US consumers who saw it as reneging on Amazon’s USPs of free and fast delivery. That’s because although pricing is competitive for groceries, Prime users are used to free delivery, not another $5.99 on top of their membership. Additionally, Pantry deliveries take up to four business days in the US, as opposed to 1-2 days for Prime deliveries.