Publishers Weekly March 1, 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.

United States
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51 Numéros

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1 min
the week in publishing

Lawrence Ferlinghetti, one of the Beat generation’s most prominent poets, died on February 22 in San Francisco. He was 101. For nearly seven decades, Ferlinghetti not only wrote poems but sold them, from San Francisco’s City Lights Booksellers, which he founded with Peter D. Martin in 1953, and published them, at City Lights Publishers, which he started in 1955. His second book, A Coney Island of the Mind, was one of the bestselling poetry books of the 20th century. Simon & Schuster finished 2020 with both sales and earnings up about 11% over 2019. Sales were $901 million and earnings hit $141 million. A slew of adult nonfiction hits helped drive the gains. Sales at Hachette Book Group rose 3.9% in 2020 over 2019. Total revenue at Hachette Livre, HBG’s parent company,…

3 min
trade shines in flat year

In a result no one in publishing would have predicted last spring, when Covid-19 hit the U.S., book publishing sales finished 2020 flat with 2019, according to year-end figures supplied by 1,354 publishers to AAP’s StatShot program. The two major trade categories, adult books and children’s and YA, had gains of 12% and 6.4%, respectively, while the two big educational categories saw declines. With many public schools closed to in-person learning for long stretches of last year, sales of K–12 instructional materials fell 19.6% compared to 2019. Sales of higher educational course materials declined 4.3%, as many colleges and university turned to hybrid instruction, which changed student buying habits. In the adult books category, sales of both print and digital formats rose in 2020. Hardcover sales had the largest increase, up 18.9%…

4 min
booksellers “very engaged” at wi16

Due to the pandemic, the American Booksellers Association’s annual Winter Institute went virtual this year. It attracted 1,971 participants, up from the 1,500 attendees at last year’s live meeting in Baltimore. The event, held February 18–20, offered panels focused on pragmatic bookselling issues such as finances, labor laws, neurodiversity in the workplace, and strategies for better engaging with e-commerce. There were inspirational talks from celebrities, including former president Barack Obama and bestselling author Brené Brown, as well as keynotes and appearances by poet Amanda Gorman, futurist Brian David Johnson, and novelists Lauren Groff, Colson Whitehead, and Viet Thanh Nguyen. As usual, promoting new books was at the heart of the conference. Publishers’ sales representatives offered their traditional “rep picks” sessions, and dozens of authors gathered in chat rooms to talk about…

1 min
print units rose 10.9% in mid-february

Unit sales of print books rose 10.9% in the week ended Feb. 20, 2021, over the comparable week in 2020, at outlets that report to NPD BookScan. The adult fiction category had a solid week, with unit sales up 20.5% over the week ended Feb. 22, 2020. A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas was the top title, selling nearly 95,000 copies in its first week. In second and third place on the adult fiction list were two Kristin Hannah titles: The Four Winds, which sold more than 46,000 copies, and Firefly Lane, which sold more than 20,000 copies. YA fiction print unit sales jumped 47.7% over 2020, as E. Lock hart’s We Were Liars remained #1 on the category list, selling more than 15,000 copies. Adam Silvera’s…

3 min
partnerships expand archie’s reach

Archie Comics’ fictional teenagers Archie, Betty, Veronica, Jughead, and their buddies may date from 1941, the year the publisher was founded, but the Riverdale high schoolers continue to be among the most widely recognized characters in popular culture. The company has managed to keep the antics of the teenagers fresh for each new generation of fans. And while the publisher regularly updates their look and fashion, and adds diverse characters, it also uses partnerships of all kinds to expand the ways its stories are delivered, adding book formats (graphic novels as well as prose adaptations) and TV series. More recently, it has created a host of new partnerships to develop its characters for podcasts and audio dramas, new digital comics platforms, and educational content and workshops. “My goal for Archie has…

4 min

DEAL OF THE WEEK Ballantine Puts Grey in a Corner Actor Jennifer Grey sold a currently untitled memoir to Pamela Cannon at Ballantine. The world rights agreement was brokered by Brandi Bowles and Pilar Queen at the United Talent Agency. Ballantine said the book will explore “Grey’s lifelong journey, like many women, to love and accept herself while existing in a culture that often imposes a narrow and unforgiving definition of beauty and a woman’s worth.” Grey is best known for her starring role in the 1987 film Dirty Dancing, and the memoir touches on the highs and lows of her career, as well as her achievements in her personal life. Ballantine called it an “ongoing coming-of-age story for women of every age.” Clinton and Penny Sell ‘Terror’ Hillary Rodham Clinton is…