Publishers Weekly January 18, 2021

Publishers Weekly magazine is the definitive professional resource covering every aspect of book publishing and book selling. Over 20,000 book and media professionals turn to Publishers Weekly each week for news and information. Publishers Weekly covers the creation, production, marketing and sale of the written word in book, audio, video and electronic formats.

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PWxyz, LLC
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51 Numéros

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1 min
the week in publishing

In an open letter, more than 250 authors, agents, booksellers, and publishers urged publishers not to sign book deals with members of the Trump administration or anyone who supported the storming of the U.S. Capitol on January 6. Facing protests over preorders of Andy Ngo’s Unmasked, Emily Powell of Powell’s Books in Portland, Ore.,said the store would sell the book online only. Medium has acquired Glose, a digital reading platform and e-book and audiobook retailer based in Paris. Amazon has been targeted in a class-action lawsuit alledging e-book price fixing by the same law firm that successfully sued Apple and five major publishers for colluding to fix e-book prices in 2011. Penguin Random House promoted Gillian Blake, David Drake, Chris Jackson, Tricia Narwani, Scott Shannon, and Kara Welsh, among others. Online & On-Air The Week Ahead Bookstores…

1 min
fast start for book sales

Unit sales of print books got off to a blazing start in 2021, jumping 19.3% in the week ended January 9 over the week ended January 2 at outlets that report to NPD BookScan. Moreover, units were up nearly 25% over the comparable week in 2020. Sales hit 17.1 million units, which BookScan said was a record high for the first week of January. Early January is always a good time for titles tied to renewal and self-improvement, and those categories did especially well compared to last year. Double-digit gains were posted in body, mind, and spirit (up 63%); self-help (30%); cooking (22%); and religion (13%). The new year did not help the travel category, however, with units tumbling 41% in the week. Overall, adult nonfiction sales rose 19% over the first…

4 min
bookstores gear up for 2021

Buoyed by strong holiday sales and an unprecedented consumer shift to online ordering, independent bookstores have weathered more than 10 months of the Covid pandemic, with some even posting sales gains in 2020. But PW’s ongoing survey of store owners and managers found that many remain concerned about the government’s response to the pandemic and the continuing uncertainty about the health of the economy. The 25 independent bookstores who participated in the survey had widely varying sales results last year, with one store reporting a 50% sales increase over 2019 and another citing a 43% decline. Ten stores reported sales declines of 10%–35% compared with the previous year. Nine stores hovered between declines of 10% and gains of 10%. While those numbers would not be encouraging in other years, the declines…

3 min
a roller-coaster year for m&a

The economic uncertainty caused by both the pandemic and the presidential election limited merger and acquisition activity in 2020, but there were still a number of significant transactions. The most dramatic move, of course, was Penguin Random House’s November 25 announcement that it had agreed to acquire Simon & Schuster for $2.175 billion—the biggest trade book deal in American publishing history. PRH expects to complete the acquisition sometime around the middle of this year. ViacomCBS announced early in 2020 that it was looking to sell S&S, but it paused negotiations when the pandemic hit in March. Discussions heated up in early fall as ViacomCBS looked to close the deal before the end of the year. That pattern can be seen in overall deal announcements in 2020: a smattering of acquisitions were…

3 min
european book sales falter

Year-end book sales across Europe were slammed by December lockdowns after Covid-19 cases surged across the continent. Still, preliminary results in three major markets show declines for the full year were modest. In Germany, Europe’s single largest book market, sales were up 25% in the first two weeks of December over 2019, but they plummeted when a new lockdown was imposed on December 16. Overall sales for the year were down 2.3% compared with 2019, according to BUCH, a monthly report from the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels, a German book publishing trade group. Bookstores saw sales drop 8.7% for the year, but gains by online booksellers and platforms offset that decline. “It is true that books played an important role for people during the crisis,” said Karin Schmidt-Friderichs, head of the BDB,…

3 min

DEAL OF THE WEEK Rooney’s New Novel Goes to FSG Mitzi Angel at Farrar, Straus and Giroux took U.S. rights to Sally Rooney’s third novel, in a two-book deal brokered by Tracy Bohan and Andrew Wylie at the Wylie Agency. Beautiful World, Where Are You is set for September. It follows four people in Ireland, FSG said, who “are still young—but life is catching up with them. They desire each other, they delude each other, they get together, they break apart…. Are they standing in the last lighted room before the darkness, bearing witness to something? Will they find a way to believe in a beautiful world?” Rooney (Normal People) made the longlist for the Booker Prize in 2018. Archer Returns to HC Jeffrey Archer has left St. Martin’s Press to publish…