How One Small Publisher Is Lighting It Up

How One Small Publisher Is Lighting It UpOf all the independent publishers I’ve spoken to recently, Chris McVeigh of Fahrenheit Press stands out as one of the most outrageous. He won’t mind me saying that, I’m sure. “Indie Innovation” is about featuring smaller publishers that are doing things a bit differently, and when I heard about Fahrenheit Press’s mantra, it was clear that this publishing house was worth featuring.

McVeigh is certainly not the shy and retiring type, and his publishing house is out to make an impact. In its short life so far, Fahrenheit has persuaded Amazon to let it launch a book with no title, commissioned a rock band to write a song for a book (which was then written into the second edition), launched a fruitful ebook club, and successfully campaigned for a more equal proportion of published female crime writers.

These initiatives aren’t just gimmicks; they are backed up by a solid, growing business and a genuine wish to approach the market differently. After beginning life as a digital-only publisher, McVeigh will be launching Fahrenheit’s books as paperbacks at this year’s London Book Fair.

Fahrenheit Press aims to publish 50 books this year, up from the projected number of 24. A strong performance overall, that’s for sure.

I recently spoke to Fahrenheit Press’s driving force, Chris McVeigh, about how the publishing house operates, what kind of authors it takes on, and much more.

Much more.

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Another Way to Monetize Ebooks (Joe Wikert)
In today’s market there are typically two methods for ebook distribution: free or paid. I’ve said before that one day we’ll see an ad-subsidized model take hold. Purists generally reject that concept, saying they won’t let advertisements interfere with their reading experience. That’s fine. They can pay full price, but I’ll sometimes opt for the cheaper (or free) ad-subsidized version. There’s another option that could become popular one day, and it will be almost as as frictionless as the free model.

Tapas Media Launches Gamified Stories App (DBW)
At Digital Book World 2016, attendees heard Chang Kim, founder of Tapas Media Inc., talk about his company’s new app, Tapas, which allows users to read bite-sized content and access new chapters with virtual coins. After receiving approval from Apple’s App Store, the company released the app today. Based in San Francisco and Seoul, South Korea, Tapas Media was founded by Kim, in 2012, with a desire to build successful platforms for bite-sized mobile stories. The company’s primary product is Tapastic, a website and app for book and comic creators and readers.

The Curious Incident of the Book in the Digital Age (DBW)
Below is the full text from the keynote speech, “The Curious Incident of the Book in the Digital Age,” delivered by Gail Rebuck, Baroness Rebuck of Bloomsbury, DBE, at the London Book Fair’s Quantum Conference on Monday, April 12.

B&N to Outsource Some NOOK Functions (PW)
In announcing Barnes & Noble’s third-quarter results last month, CEO Ron Boire said right-sizing the Nook business was one of his main priorities. On March 15, B&N closed its NOOK App store. Now it is outsourcing some NOOK technology services to Bahwan CyberTek. BCT, a global provider of software products and services, will take over cloud management and development support for NOOK software, among other services. As a result of the transition, B&N will close both its Santa Clara, Calif., and Taiwan offices by July 2016.

Should Independent Booksellers Go Omni-Channel? (PW)
Up to now, independent booksellers have been struggling to compete with online retailers by selling ebooks through the American Booksellers Association’s partnership with Kobo. But given how much business big houses are doing with physical books online—last year 50 percent of Penguin Random House’s total revenue came from the combined online sales of physical and digital books—it could be time for independent booksellers to make a bigger push to sell physical books through their websites.

OverDrive Adds 500 New Publishers to Global Ebook Catalog (DBW)
From a press release: “OverDrive, the industry-leading platform for eBooks, audiobooks and streaming video to libraries and schools, continues to expand internationally as new channel partners launch in Germany, China, Denmark, the Middle East, Japan and South America. With the addition of 500 publishers such as Grupo Planeta, Bastei Entertainment, ACT and Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press to its growing catalog of more than 5,000 publishers, OverDrive now offers content in 50 languages to channel partners in 59 countries.”

5 Tips for Designing Beautiful Book Covers (BookMachine)
Rachel Lawston is the founder of Lawston Design, and is freelance designer and illustrator for publishing and digital media. Rachel’s worked with the likes of Penguin Random House, Walker Books and Orchard Books. Here are her 5 tips for simple and creative cover design.

London Book Fair Deal Trends (Pub Lunch)
With the Bologna Book Fair over and the London Book Fair set to begin next Tuesday, April 12, it’s time for our first review of dealmaking trends (with an update Tuesday morning). Total domestic deals in the five weeks prior to LBF (starting March 7) are down modestly right now but should rise some by our final count.

London Book Fair 2016: Hachette CEO Presses Chinese Publishers (PW)
In his short keynote speech at the 2016 International Publishers Congress in London, Hachette CEO Arnaud Nourry opened on an optimistic note. “Books have proven, again, their staying power in the face of the social, economic and technological transformations that have affected the world since books were invented 560 years ago,” he said, adding that publishers are the only media industry “to have successfully ridden the first digital wave.”

Continued Growth at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair (NY Times)
The Bologna Children’s Book Fair, the largest and certainly the most important international trade show and book fair dedicated to children’s books, wrapped up Thursday after four packed days of sales meetings, award ceremonies, art exhibitions, panel discussions and parties. Visitors thronged the long, light-filled halls of the city’s modern conference center, with the fair’s organizers reporting a 9 percent increase in attendance from last year, including 1,278 exhibitors from 74 nations, along with 856 journalists from 40 countries. In its 54th year, the fair holds a unique place in the world of books as a hybrid marketplace, conference, art show and prestigious prize-giving operation.

Interview: Publishing’s Power Agents (Hollywood Reporter)
Sloan Harris and Esther Newberg are in charge of arguably the most influential collection of book agents at a Hollywood talent agency. The publishing department at ICM Partners represents more than 100 best-sellers a year — including the last two Pulitzer winners (The Goldfinch and All the Light We Cannot See), authors as diverse as Nobel Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai and comedian Steve Martin — and helped bring Steve Jobs and Black Mass to the screen. Harris, 53, and Newberg, 74, who have co-run the department since 2007 and whose offices sit 10 feet apart, have the easy familiarity that comes from having long debated issues professional.

Choose Your Role (Seth Godin)
In many creative endeavors, we encounter: The producer, the director, the star and the star’s assistant. The producer initiates. The producer says “yes.” The director (and often, the writer, a different version of directing) determines the plot, makes the decisions, owns the quality of what is produced. The star is a celebrity, the draw, the one we want a selfie with. The star auditions and the star waits to be picked.

Happy Birthday, Beverly Cleary! (NY Times)
One of the world’s great inventions, only a little behind the light bulb, was Ramona Quimby, the strong-willed, lovable and exasperating star of “Ramona the Pest” and other books. For decades the Ramona books have been a gateway drug luring young readers into the spellbinding world of books. Ramona’s inventor, Beverly Cleary, has sold 85 million copies of her books about Ramona, Henry Huggins, Ralph S. Mouse and other beloved figures. Cleary will turn 100 on Tuesday, so I asked her about her characters, her life and her wisdom.


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