Industry News

News Bites

A summary of industry news for the week

by Morgan Amer

  • Publishing company, Hyperion is working on creating stronger ties with its parent company, Walt Disney. Recently, they hired Laura Hopper in the position of editorial director of franchise publishing, and Ruth Pomerance as senior editor to acquire and develop talent that will work with all of the Disney/ABC Television Group (DATG) businesses. Hyperion has also confirmed that they will be selling select backlist titles that don’t fit this developing business model. Through Hyperion’s newly-created Story Lab, they are attempting to find writers who can work for both books and television. Hyperion’s main goal in this shift is to find multiplatform stories.
  • Despite an ever increasing digital presence and a growing global market share, BBC Worldwide has sold Lonely Planet to Brad Kelley, a US billionaire, at an almost £80m loss. The company’s governing body has since blasted them for the decision. Paul Dempsey, interim chief executive of BBC Worldwide defended his actions when he said, “We acquired Lonely Planet in 2007 when both our strategy and the market conditions were quite different, we have also recognised that it no longer fits with our plans to put BBC brands at the heart of our business.”
  • In a strange twist of irony, Chicago schools were recently told by the district to remove Marjane Satrapi’s graphic novel about growing up in Iran during the revolution, Persepolis, from classrooms and school libraries. In the face of a critical backlash, the district later tried to explain that the title was only removed from lower grade classrooms because they did not think the graphic language and images were appropriate. The American Library Association, many free speech organisations, and Satrapi herself, condemned the school district’s actions.
  • A new press watchdog will replace the current system of voluntary self-regulation in England and Wales. This new independent regulator will have the power to demand apologies from UK publishers and impose up to £1m fines. Three tests to determine whether an online organisation is a news publication will ostensibly protect from overstepping and preserve freedom of the press. However, with much of today’s press run solely online the big question is, could bloggers be at risk of intense regulation? According to ­­­Culture Secretary Maria Miller, these tests should safeguard “small-scale bloggers” and special interest publications.
  • Pope Francis’s book On Heaven and Earth will be published in English language for the first time on May 7th by Image Books. Originally published in Latin American and Spain in 2010, the book will contain the newly elected – and first Jesuit and Latin American – pope’s views on all matters regarding religion. The work is comprised of a series of religious conversations between the pope and Rabbi Abraham Skorka.
  • In order to more effectively publicise their services in the industry, several print related charities have teamed up. The charities will help each other raise their profiles by sharing information and cross-referring when necessary. To find out more about these charities, or if you or someone you know needs help, please contact one of the charities below:

This Week’s Awards Announcements

  • The longlist for the Women’s Prize for Fiction – formerly sponsored by Orange, now generously backed by an anonymous endowment – has been announced. Among the list are the usual suspects; Zadie Smith, Hilary Mantel, and Barbara Kingsolver, along with newcomer – and commercial success – Gillian Flynn.
  • The George Orwell prize – that celebrates the art of political writing – announced its longlist, headed by Marie Colvin’s On the Front Line. The winner will be selected in May.
  • The shortlist for the Children’s Books Ireland Book of the Year Awards has been announced with Sheena Wilkinson’s second novel Grounded leading the way. The winners will be announced on May 8th.
  • Annabel Pitcher’s sophomore novel, Ketchup Clouds, about a death-row inmate and pen-pal, won Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize this year in both the teen and overall categories. RJ Palacio’s novel, Wonder, won the 5-12s category and Rebecca Cobb’s, Lunchtime, snagged the picture book title.
  • The International Youth Library in Munich has selected their White Ravens 2013, outstanding international books for children and young adults; among them is Irish author Kevin McDermott’s Valentina.
  • Reginald Bakeley’s humourous how-to, Goblinproofing One’s Chicken Coop, has won the Diagram prize for Oddest Book Title of the year.
  • Poet, essayist, and awarding-winning author Benjamin Alire Sáenz, has picked up the 2013 PEN/Faulkner Award for fiction for his collection of short stories, Everything Begins and Ends at the Kentucky Club.
  • Henry Crumpton’s The Art of Intelligence : Lessons from a Life in the CIA’s Clandestine Service snagged this year’s St Ermin’s Hotel Intelligence Book of the Year Award. The prize is given to English non-fiction titles that pertain to intelligence and espionage.

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