You should read the full piece, but I don’t buy the logic. HC would be far better off spending considerably less on a decent design/code house that would bring expertise inside or even in buying the time of an outside house in full than attempting to integrate a large publisher facing all the same issues it faces itself to acquire digital innovation know-how. Two better reasons present themselves for this move, the first, content acquisition and lots of it and the second defensive market consolidation.
HarperCollins is acquiring Christian publisher Thomas Nelson—publisher of the mega-bestselling Heaven Is For Real—for an undisclosed sum in a deal that will be finalized by the end of the year. Thomas Nelson has been on the forefront of experimentation with digital publishing, and HarperCollins is buying not just the company but also that digital experience.
As you can see, Apple is missing half of the 10 titles on this week’s ebook bestseller lists (narrowed down to just self-published titles). That has to be troubling to Apple and its publishing partners. Apple and the big trade publishing houses could argue that the sorts of people who buy 99 cent ebooks aren’t iPad/iPhone owners. That would not be a clever argument. I would argue that after launching the iBookstore with great fanfare Apple is acting very much like a company that doesn’t much care about ebooks.
Barnes & Noble faces a different problem. None of the books here sells for over five bucks and yet Amazon manages to discount many of the titles from Barnes & Noble’s list prices, on average over a third off (of course it’s prices are lower still compared with Apple’s).
I’m intrigued by this news on many levels. There’s much to admire in Text. I can see how the ending of the Canongate link up may present challenges but opportunities too, especially when the new owners are possessors of deep pockets like the Wheelers. It’s the hint that the move on Canongate’s part might be a defensive one, a move to retrench back to the UK market that intrigues the most.
The Wheelers bought their stake in Text from Jamie Byng, the head of Edinburgh-based publisher Canongate with which Text entered a partnership in 2004. Negotiations took place over the past few months, with the deal sealed last Friday. Mr Byng said he sold to refocus on the UK market.
Text Publishing was established about 20 years ago by former McPhee Gribble publisher Di Gribble as part of Eric Beechers Text Media. Michael Heyward has run the company since publishing its first book, Shane Maloneys Stiff, in 1994. He, his wife, senior editor Penny Hueston, and Mr Byng bought the publisher in 2004 from John Fairfax, owner of The Age, which had bought Text Media in January of that year.
Fascinating move this. It will be interesting to see how things develop. I get the sense that many US service providers see UK publishers a potential clients, and they might be right:
Perseus will combine its Constellation digital-services technology with Faber & Faber’s Faber Factory to offer services to independent publishers seeking to convert their new and older titles to digital form, including file conversion, digital book production and social-media marketing services.
Clock this one up to a great real-world play that adds value to an existing portfolio of titles and content while also building on Osprey’s digital potential. Old House seems like the perfect fit for Shire and like some of Bloomsbury’s recent acquisitions the opportunities to create something that extends the brand into digital publishing is very real. Oddly enough too, the acquisition suggests that Richard Charkin’s comments at the ‘Are Publisher’s Relevant?’ debate yesterday about how the new digital age makes strict focus (here’s hoping I didn’t pick him up incorrectly) less important when building list has a real-life example, Osprey the home of a heritage, a military and a science-fiction imprint!
Rebecca Smart, Osprey Groups Managing Director, said:Old House is my ideal addition to the Osprey family. Weve worked incredibly hard with Shire over the last four years, and with real success, to establish ourselves as a major force in the British heritage market. The addition of Old House, especially bearing in mind our plans to grow and diversify its list, will really help to consolidate our position in that sector.
It was a good segment and I think I gave a decent account of myself. If you are interested in Self Publishing and will be in Ireland on 16th October the conference is great value, features industry experts and will really bring to life the issues involved.
There’s also a session on Digital Publishing that even publishers will find useful if they haven’t yet made a move into that space yet.
Do you know what? I don’t. I don’t have a story to tell, I don’t have anything to say (again, awareness of irony). I can out-drama queen Mariah but put me on a stage and I assume plank-like qualities, ask me to write fiction…well, it isn’t horror but it’s damn scary!