Publishers Weekly March 15, 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

The Frankfurt Book Fair has recommitted to running a hybrid in-person and virtual book fair this year and has opened registration for exhibitors. The in-person event is scheduled for October 20–24 and has been given the theme “re:connect.” Small Press Distribution announced that executive director Brent Cunningham will step down following the completion of an internal investigation commissioned by the association’s board. An interim director has been appointed until a permanent replacement is found. Barnes & Noble Education sales continue to be hit by the pandemic, with revenue for the third quarter ended Dec. 31, 2020, down 18.1% compared to the previous year. Retail sales declined 15.1%. Scribd Audio is launching with 40 titles. The first title will be Black Imagination by Natasha Marin, originally released in print by McSweeney’s. Scribd said it…

7 min
sticking with niches

New England’s independent publishers are known for carving out strong niches and holding steadfast to them, come what may. The extraordinary forces of the last year—pandemic, protests, and climate change—put that model to the test, and for five publishers it appears that strategy paid off. At the outset of the pandemic, sales took a nosedive at Interlink Publishing Group in Northampton, Mass., as traditional sales channels collapsed. “Most independent booksellers canceled their orders for our spring list, Amazon suspended ordering for a month, and international trade came to a complete halt,” said founder and publisher Michel Moushabeck. “It was a very scary time.” Sales rebounded in fall, however, and Interlink ended the year up 8% over 2019. Moushabeck attributed the gains to a list that cultivated a dedicated audience who sought out…

1 min
march starts with 34% pop in print unit sales

Fueled by huge gains for a host of Dr. Seuss titles, as well as solid results for several new books, unit sales of print books soared 34.2% in the week ended Mar. 6, 2021, over the comparable week in 2020, at outlets that report to NPD BookScan. Unit sales jumped 57.9% in juvenile fiction over the week ended Mar. 8, 2020, as Dr. Seuss titles took eight of the top 10 spots on the category list. The Cat in the Hat led the way, selling about 105,000 copies in the week, compared to 22,000 copies in the first week of March last year. Green Eggs and Ham followed, selling about 90,000 copies, trailed by One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish (88,000); Oh, the Places You’ll Go! (74,000); and…

2 min
podium hit new milestones in 2020

The surge in digital audiobook sales has helped numerous publishers grow in the past few years, and perhaps none has benefitted more than Podium Audio. The audio-first publisher, which began life as Podium Publishing before changing its name about a year ago, hit $50 million in revenue in 2020, and its total title output passed the 2,000 mark, from 1,300 at the beginning of the year, CEO Scott Dickey told PW. Podium is best known for its large list of science fiction titles, but Dickey said romance sales “grew dramatically” in 2020. Mysteries and thrillers also saw good gains, as did nonfiction. Dickey has no doubt that the Podium’s recent growth is due to its focus on audio. “Audio is not the caboose on the train for us,” he said. “It is…

4 min
bookselling spotlight: cavalier house books

Cavalier House Books, a new and used general trade bookstore in Denham Springs, La., opened in 2009, but its roots go back to 2005, when John Cavalier and his future wife Michelle Cavalier started supplying local elementary, middle, and high schools with required-reading titles while they were still students at Southeastern Louisiana University. At first, they filled their pickup truck with orders off of 18-wheelers on the highway because they were not allowed to deliver to residential homes, and they shipped books out of a 12-sq.-ft. shed in the backyard of John’s parent’s house in Denham Springs, a bedroom community across the river from Baton Rouge. “When things got busy, we would have palettes of books in the living room,” John said. Since then, the Cavaliers have expanded their wholesaling business…

3 min

DEAL OF THE WEEK Hyperion Wins Johnson’s MG Series In a seven-figure deal, Stephanie Lurie at Disney-Hyperion bought the first two books in a planned middle grade series by Leah Johnson (You Should See Me in a Crown). Johnson was represented by Patrice Caldwell at New Leaf Literary & Media in the North American rights agreement. The first book, Ellie Engle Saves Herself, was acquired after an 11-house auction. Caldwell described the series as “a superhero origin story in the tone of the Baby-Sitters Club.” After a freak earthquake hits the titular 12-year-old heroine’s small town, she finds that she has the ability to bring things back to life with her touch. Johnson is a YA author, and Ellie is her middle grade debut. The series is set to launch in…