Salt to focus on anthologies rather than individual poets

In what will no doubt be distressing news for poets and readers alike, The Guardian reports that the independent publisher Salt will no longer be releasing collections of work by individual poets, opting instead to focus on anthologies featuring a variety of contributors. The reason, as anyone with any kind of awareness of poetry’s current standing in modern literature could likely guess, is a decrease in sales, both for the form in general and specifically in Salt’s own collections, with the company reporting a decline of over a quarter in the past year and of a full half over the past five years.

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News Flash! Valobox: wins Constable & Robinson Social and Recommendation Challenge

Valobox, the pay-as-you-go browser-based ebook service, has won an award from IC Tomorrow to develop a solution for lending, gifting or giving short term access to publishing content.

Valobox presented their model to a BookMachine crowd at Publishing Now back in December 2011, and it’s great hear more success stories from the innovative start-up.

The solution will enable Constable and Robinson to ‘Gift, lend and provide granular and/or time limited access to books via email addresses or gift tokens using the ValoBox platform.’

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These Pages Fall Like Ash [REVIEW II]

Earlier this month, we travelled to Bristol in order to try out a new kind of reading experience – a project that intends to fully integrate the physical with the digital. Pioneering the frontiers of storytelling and gathering media attention, These Pages Fall Like Ash is an AHRC- and REACT-funded project worth investigating… 

As with every new digital development, there is a tendency to wax lyrical on its boundary-pushing, experience-enhancing, multi-layering and super-innovating qualities. And this project was no different. However, as I mentioned previously, this time it seems as if they have hit upon something with real significance – a diamond (albeit one slightly in the rough) amongst the lacklustre onslaught of uncreative ebooks. It is a part-treasure-hunt, part-interactive, location-based, cross-platform serialised story. I make no apologies for the use of hyphens: it seems entirely appropriate for this kind of mash-up media (there I go again).

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Howard Jacobson wins second Wodehouse Prize

Having taken the inaugural award in 2000, Howard Jacobson has this week won the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for the second time, garnering top honours for his novel Zoo Time. The Bloomsbury-published title beat Joseph Connolly’s England’s Lane, Helen DeWitt’s Lightning Rods, Michael Frayn’s Skios and Deborah Moggach’s Heartbreak Hotel. It now only remains to be seen what Jacobson is going to do with the traditional prize, seeing as, having won previously, he presumably has a set of the complete works of PG Wodehouse going spare. Maybe he can mull it over over a glass of the Champagne Bollinger Special Cuvée that also forms part of his winning haul, possibly musing aloud to the Gloucestershire Old Spots pig that will now be named after his triumphant novel.

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Amazon to sell officially licensed fan fiction

Realising there’s a part of the internet that’s been around even longer than it has that still hasn’t been monetised to full effect, Amazon has signed a licensing deal with Warner Bros. to begin selling officially-sanctioned fan fiction, above and beyond Marvel’s Avengers films (hiyooooo). In a manner similar to the site’s pre-existing self-publishing e-book platform, Kindle Worlds will allow writers of fan fiction the chance to profit from something they’d probably be doing for free anyway, with or without an audience, albeit at a much lower rate than if they, say, changed the characters and settings from Twilight just enough to be legally discernible and then maybe added anal beads or something.

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Stephen King bypasses digital with pulpy new novel

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Stephen King has revealed that his latest project – no, not the TV adaptation of 11/22/63, the other thing. No, not his musical with John Mellencamp and Neko Case either, the other other thing. No, not his forthcoming sequel to The Shining, his other other other… look, the man keeps busy, is the point – anyway, King’s next book will bypass digital editions completely for the foreseeable future and be available exclusively in print. Upon its publication in a fortnight, the crime novel Joyland will commit wholly to its pulpy roots and be printed in paperback alone by Hard Case Crime, with a limited run of 2,250 hardback copies to follow a week later.

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My book’s been gazumped by Dan Brown!

laura-palmerThis is a guest post from Laura Palmer, the extremely talented Editorial Director and co-founder of Head of Zeus.

When I tell people I work in fiction publishing, the first thing they want to know is whether I spend my working day reading novels. I wish I could say yes. But the truth is that if you work for a small Independent start-up, like I do, you spend a lot of time doing important-but-boring things (proofreading ISBNS, maximising discoverability by optimising territory metadata encoded in ISBNs) and not much time doing important-but-fun things (reading great scripts, schmoozing agents to persuade them to send you great scripts). The result: your isbns are perfect. Your chances of finding the next bestseller are not. When you are squeezing your search into snatched evenings, weekends, and morning commutes, it makes it all the more exciting when one falls into your lap.

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5 Questions for Suzanne Kavanagh [INTERVIEW]

suzanneSuzanne Kavanagh (@sashers) is Director of Marketing and Membership Services at the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP). She is a passionate advocate of collaboration and skills in the publishing industry; a perfect speaker for our Unplugged event on the 23rd. We interviewed her to find out more:

1. What are the best examples of collaboration you’ve seen in publishing?

Two that spring to mind from companies I worked for are the launch of the Routledge Classics and reissue of a biography of Cardinal Ratzinger when he elected Pope Benedict by Continuum. Both were print product launches. They involved working with internal teams across sales, marketing, editorial, design and production. But they also drew in contacts from printers, typesetters, warehouse, wholesalers, key retailers and the press.

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5 Questions for Timo Boezeman [INTERVIEW]

Timo BoezemanTimo Boezeman is the Digital Publisher for De Arbeiderspers, one of the largest publishers in The Netherlands. He is involved in creating enhanced e-books, apps and hybrid projects (books + apps). Their recent launch, Earned Attention, has done just that – earned the Dutch publisher lots of attention. Being nosy, we wanted to find out more …

1. Your multi-platform title launch is getting a lot of attention; why did you decide to publish across all available platforms rather than testing each as you went along?

The whole idea was to create a platform which exists of a diverse range of product types, to: a) make all the content we had available to the reader, and b) to do this in the best possible way for each type of content. This resulted in a print book for the complete story from A to Z, an iPhone app for all the complete audio-interviews of every interviewed visionary (complemented with complete profiles) which is a great addition have beside you while reading the book, a blog with new developments, stories and interviews with new visionaries (because the story never ends, and this is a topic that is still in development), and an iPad app that combines all of these in one (the complete book, including its design, the audio-interviews and profiles of the visionaries, and a lot of extra links to additional content, interviews or a more in-depth analysis of something that is only touched briefly in the story, elements made interactive, creating Post-it like notes and a lot more).

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