When I saw this yesterday I thought we’d see more comment, after all it marks the acquisition of one of the more significant independents left in the UK at the same times as one of the other more significant independents (Quercus) has announced that it is for sale.
I think it’s a very smart buy by Little, Brown in that it closes off possible mergers and alliances that might have been more harmful to its interests and builds their list in some areas where, if they are not necessarily weak, they can always be stronger. As others have pointed out C&R has a decent direct to consumer operation which is no doubt attractive in these times of weakening booksellers.
All in all, an interesting move:
In the short term, Constable & Robinson, under Managing Director Pete Duncan who will now report to Little, Brown Publisher David Shelley, will continue trading from its current premises in Russell Square with business conducted as usual. The transaction has been structured as a purchase by Little, Brown of 100 per cent shareholding in the business, which remains intact as a company. All its contracts remain valid and will be honoured. There should be no disruption for authors and all arrangements with customers, freelancers, distribution partners, suppliers and other contacts of the house stand as they are at least until fully discussed with the parties concerned.
Interesting piece of news this:
Michael Pietsch, CEO of Hachette, said the founding publishers “never intended to run Bookish forever,” and that their objective of starting a first-class recommendation engine has been achieved in the current Bookish version. Despite the problems, and costs, of getting Bookish off the ground, Pietsch said the founding publishers would tackle the venture again. “We saw a need for a great discovery engine and that is what we created. We are happy to see it move to Zola where we expect it will thrive.”
With Bookish, Zola will be able to expand on existing elements of its social networking capabilities. Chiefly, the acquisition allows Zola to incorporate Bookish\’s book recommendation technology into its site. (That technology is a proprietary algorithm pairing users with content.) Regal said this is “the most exciting aspect of the Bookish opportunity. ” The recommendation engine Bookish has built will be incorporated into Zola’s site and this, Regal thinks, “is going to be really significant.” While Regal could not share details about how the Bookish algorithm would be added to Zola, he said it will happen “in the months to come” and he could explain more once “we have more insight into their technology.”
via Bookish Acquired by Zola.
To be fair, Lagardère’s first half report does draw attention to its success in digital, in fact, on the publishing side, it says the following:
Digital books continued their rise in English-speaking countries, accounting for 34% of Adult Trade sales in the United States (vs. 27% at end-June 2012) and 31% in the United Kingdom (vs. 22% at end-June 2012). Digital books now account for 11.3% of Lagardère Publishing’s total net sales, compared with 8.4% at the end of June 2012. In France, the contribution of digital sales to Adult Trade sales remains low (3.2%), although rising sharply.
But you need to actually work the sums to see what that means. It means that in Fast-half 2013 Lagardère saw €103.61million in digital sales (Based n 11.3% of Net Sales for the division of €907million). So digital is now worth over €100million in net sales to Lagardère. That €100million is €27.59million more than First-half 2012.
That €27.59million represents just over 3% of overall net sales for the publishing division meaning practically all the like-for-like growth in the division and more than all the reported growth in the division came from digital. Without digital, Lagardère Publishing would be a shrinking business.
Perhaps more interestingly, while digital is clearly growing well, another part of the business is also booming, their Partworks unit. Different ends of the spectrum in some ways, but driven by trends obvious in digital too, branded and licensed content and subscriptions with a healthy dose of direct-to-consumer thrown in for good measure!
I have two questions about this that have only occurred to me having read this yesterday;
1) If the book trade is so badly impacted in New Zealand and ebooks are growing so rapidly, why is the sales team being retained, surely they’d be about the first to lose their usefulness?
2) The implication of this story (although it isn’t in fact stated) is that local authors are not holding their own against outside authors, why is that and what are the implications for other smaller English language territories?
HACHETTE New Zealand, the local arm of the global publisher whose titles include biographies of Richie McCaw and Mark Todd, is to cease publishing locally with the loss of 12 jobs including its long-serving management team.
The New Zealand company, which publishes locally under the Hodder Moa imprint, will continue as a marketing and sales office for the group’s international titles and New Zealand backlist, according to a statement from Malcolm Edwards, chairman for Hachette Australia and New Zealand.
Local finance, administration and IT functions will be relocated to Australia and publishing will cease in New Zealand after the completion of its 2013 programme.
The New Zealand publishing business has shrunk largely because of “the increased sourcing of books from overseas, at the expenses of the local trade, and the rapid growth of e-books,” Mr Edwards said.
via Book publisher Hachette closes down in NZ | Herald Sun.
I tells ya, some fun will be had with this one methinks! I hope Agency falls, I really don’t like it!
The Justice Department has at last filed an anti-trust complaint in New York against Apple and five publishers over an alleged price fixing conspiracy. (Update: Three publishers to settle)
The decision to sue comes after weeks of media leaks that suggested the government was trying to pressure the parties into a settlement.
The issue turns on whether five publishers illegally colluded with Apple to implement “agency pricing” in which the publishers set a price and the retailer takes a commission. (see here for more details)
The lawsuit has yet to be posted on the Justice Department’s website but Bloomberg News says Apple and five of the “Big 6″ publishers are named as defendants. The named publishers are Macmillan, Penguin, Hachette SA, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster. (Update: a Bloomberg report says the latter three will settle. This is consistent with a leak earlier this month).
via It’s on — US sues Apple, publishers over e-book prices — paidContent.