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Publishers Weekly

Publishers Weekly

January 13, 2020

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
PWxyz, LLC
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51 Issues


1 min.
the week in publishing

Sourcebooks, Mango Publishing, and the Experiment all announced acquisitions in the first week of 2019. Sourcebooks bought Dawn Publications, a 40-year-old publisher of nature and environmental titles for children. Mango acquired Yellow Pear Press, which specializes in lifestyle and regional titles, as well as its Bonhomie Press imprint. And in its first-ever acquisition, the Experiment acquired Appletree Press, a publisher of titles on health, food, and lifestyle. IDW Publishing is partnering with the Smithsonian Institute to publish illustrated books—primarily graphic novels but also other formats, such as coloring and picture books. The plan is to release the first two titles as soon as fall 2020. Boom! Studios announced plans to publish Kurt Vonnegut’s classic sci-fi/antiwar novel Slaughterhouse-Five as a graphic novel. Millicent Bennett and Sarah Pelz joined Houghton Mifflin Harcourt as editorial director…

3 min.
print unit sales fell 1.3% in 2019

After managing to eke out small annual gains over the past few years, unit sales of print books dipped 1.3% in 2019 compared to 2018 at outlets that report to NPD BookScan. Units slipped to 689.5 million last year, down from 698.4 million the year before, according to BookScan, which tracks 80%–85% of print sales. The decline was not unexpected, as sales in 2018 were driven by strong performances of a plethora of political books and the blockbuster success of Michelle Obama’s Becoming, which was the top seller that year with more than three million copies sold. In 2019, Becoming was the #1 title in adult nonfiction, selling about 1.2 million copies. Without any Trump-related blockbuster titles reaching the sales heights of 2018’s Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff (which sold more…

5 min.
allison hill outlines her plans for the aba

Allison Hill assumes the role of CEO of the American Booksellers Association on March 1, taking over from Oren Teicher, who retired in November after 10 years in the job. Hill is moving to the position from Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena, Calif., where she was president and CEO. Unsurprisingly, Hill credits a book with leading her to pursue the job. “Two years ago, I was reading Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett, which asks you to use design principles to envision three different paths to your future,” Hill said. “One path was to own Vroman’s one day, one was to leave the industry entirely, and the third was to be CEO of the ABA. And here we are today!” Hill, who is from suburban Detroit, has held numerous positions in publishing and…

1 min.
‘crawdads’ takes the triple crown

In addition to selling the most print books in 2019 at outlets that report to NPD BookScan, Where the Crawdads Sing also sold the most e-books and audiobooks last year, and in impressive fashion—selling more than one million units in each format. The e-book and audio numbers come from Bookstat, which was founded by Paul Abbassi and computes online sales for millions of e-books, audiobooks, and print titles daily by tracking their relative rankings across thousands of retailer category lists and calibrating them against realtime feeds of daily sales of hundreds of thousands of titles provided by partner publishers. Abbassi said that on average in a given week, Bookstat’s figures vary by 1%–4% from actual sales marketwide. This is the first collaboration between PW and Bookstat. Starting with the month, we…

2 min.
rwa on the brink

After a month of controversy that has torn the Romance Writers of America apart, the organization faces an uncertain future. At the center of that controversy was the sanctioning of author Courtney Milan, a Chinese-American novelist and chairwoman of the RWA’s ethics committee, who criticized a novel by white author Kathryn Lynn Davis, which featured Asian-American characters, as a “racist mess” on Twitter. In addition, Suzan Tisdale, another RWA member, was criticized by Milan for keeping Sue Grimshaw on staff at her publishing company despite an alleged history of racist comments in her capacity as romance buyer at Borders. Those criticisms led to a formal ethics complaint that resulted, in late December, in Milan being censured, suspended for a year as a member, and banned for life from holding a leadership…

3 min.

DEAL OF THE WEEK Chan’s ‘Mother’ Joins 37 Ink Family For her 37 Ink imprint, Dawn Davis nabbed North American rights to Jessamine Chan’s debut novel, The School for Good Mothers. Chan, a former reviews editor at PW, was represented by Meredith Kaffel Simonoff at DeFiore and Company. The book, 37 Ink said, is a “literary, speculative” novel about “an anxiety-prone, 39-year-old Chinese-American single mom” who, after leaving her infant daughter alone for an extended stretch, finds herself under the scrutiny of Child Protective Services. Forced to complete a yearlong parenting course to be reunited with her daughter, the heroine finds herself paired with a “helper” whom she must learn to love, like a child, in order to successfully graduate. The publisher said the book explores “whether a ‘bad mother’ can…