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Self-employed in publishing

This month in publishing news, it’s been all about the publisher’s best friend: the indie bookshop! The 2017 Independent Bookshop Week got well underway towards the end of June with the announcement of its annual Book Award, with winner Sebastian Barry praising the importance of independent bookshops and the culture they help to build. Publishers, too, seem to have thrown their weight behind this year’s celebrations with more gusto than usual, and the whole industry was set abuzz by hundreds of offline events and online by the lively #IBW17 hashtag.

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First up, if you find yourself in or around Auld Reekie this evening, BookMachine Edinburgh is the place to be (from 6pm in Carters Bar), closely followed by Literary Death Match in The Guardian Spiegeltent from 9-ish. What more could you ask for from an evening of bookish entertainment?

On the site this week, there’s Beck To Release Most Backward Book Ever, and Bookaboo looking for submissions for new series. Then we had a rush of questions (and answers), including 6 questions for Wendy Toole of the SfEP, 6 Questions for Russell Kerridge of Imagewrite, and Five questions for Sophia Blackwell.

Elsewhere on the web, have you ever wondered Why Self-Published Books Look Self-Published or Why Everything in Publishing Takes So Long? Do you agree that Publishing Is Broken, We’re Drowning In Indie Books – And That’s A Good Thing?

Meanwhile, As time ticks down, publishers and Authors Guild slam ebook settlement, we’re Cruising for a browsing (experience), it’s Rejection vs. Rock & Roll, and there’s some advice on Navigating the World of Literary Agents.

On the tech front, Daring Fireball is Thinking This iPad Mini Thing Even Througher, and finally, one for the social media types: Welcome to Medium.

Self-employed in publishing

The big news from March in UK publishing is obviously the London Book Fair (LBF). Poland shone at this year’s Market Focus, and the Fair was busier than usual, with six-figure deals struck ahead of time and publishers cheerfully splashing cash as sales rose. This was seen as further evidence of the rise of print, with The Guardian stating that by the end of the month stats showing that print outperformed digital. Yet, despite the recent whopping $65m forward paid for the Obamas’ new book (which hasn’t pleased all and prompted a list of the biggest deals of all time) no single title emerged as this year’s big hitter.

Even before LBF, however, World Book Day (WBD) brought the public out in favour of their favourite books, causing a slew of bookish opinion to hit the web: is it of concern that, for 25% of children, WBD tokens give them the chance to buy their first book? Should we be worried that children are dressing up as YouTubers on a day dedicated to books? Are celebrities shutting children’s authors out of their own trade? The standard of fancy dress was high and the enthusiasm for books strong, if this BBC article’s anything to go by, but was soured towards the end of the month by authors’ reactions to the government’s “sop and whitewash” £4m contribution to the libraries crisis.

Author Susan Hill kicked off this month’s bookshop news, by cancelling an event at Norwich’s indie bookstore the Book Hive, claiming they were engaged in “censorship” and were “anti-Trump”. Her now-infamous statement in The Spectator went viral, garnering fierce responses not only from the Book Hive, but also from other authors.

Across the pond, Amazon unveiled its first East Coast bricks and mortar bookstore, which some claim could “change the industry forever.” Further, in spite of more urges from Isreal that Amazon should stop selling books that deny the Holocaust or promote anti-Semitism, possible plans for a Middle-East expansion are speculated, as Amazon bought Doubai-based online retailer Souk.com. Closer to home, The Telegraph claimed a post-Brexit Britain needs more companies like Amazon, while our home-grown bricks and mortars engaged in fighting talk. The Waterstones boss attacked the “god awful uniformity” of chains such as WH Smith, and indies worried that small, unbranded Waterstones may become a threat. Good news for all bookstores is that, following in the footsteps of Emma Watson, actress and singer Emma Roberts has announced her own book club.

Diversity hit the headlines again, first of all with an expansion of Hachette’s diversity programme (launched last year) as they announce The Future Bookshelf, then with The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas rocking the boat even before its UK release. Buzzfeed and other outlets also got excited about the young black women breaking into “Britain’s very white” publishing industry.

In further political news, as Trump tried to read a book, satire has become part of the Trump book cottage industry. Following on in a similar vein, Costco has begun to stock Orwell’s 1984 due to its recent popularity, and the TV adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood is garnering some serious buzz. In the UK’s liberal heart of London, Timothy Snyder’s On Tyranny, out this week, is to be reproduced chapter by chapter in a series of 20 posters pasted along Leonard Street, near Silicon Roundabout. We’re not shy about our politics in publishing, that’s for sure!

On BookMachine over the past couple of weeks it was all Fitba, Shades and Gray as Cargo announced three new signings, there were 6 Questions for Jon Reed and we asked Should Children’s Books Come with Age Certifications?

In the news it was announced They’re Making Another Hobbit Film Now, and while Steidl launches book-scented perfume, Fifty Shades beats Harry Potter into submission on Amazon.

We had a guest post from Kathy Meis on why It’s a Brand New World, and if you find yourself in Edinburgh over the festival period, do amble along to BookMachine Edinburgh – 17th August.

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This week on BookMachine, we kicked things off with the The ABC of Waterstones: A Bookseller’s ‘Promised Land’ and 5 questions for Carolyn Jess Cooke, then looked at This week in literary prizes and the news that Today in tyrants: Hussein daughter seeks publisher for father’s memoirs. And if all that wasn’t enough, we had 5 questions for Rebecca Swift of The Literary Consultancy.

Elsewhere on the web it was a mighty busy week too, especially if writing’s your thing: here are 10 Ridiculously Simple Tips for Writing a Book, and Getting your first book published: Lessons learned! Meanwhile this post has Six Tough Truths About Self-Publishing (That The Advocates Never Seem To Talk About), while there’s the argument that Discoverability and Marketing Are Publishing Company Differentiators. Here’s How to fight back against bogus Amazon/Kindle reviews, and what about some Self-Publishing Statistics – Who are the Top Earners?

On the tech front, some are asking Can We Please Move Past Apple’s Silly, Faux-Real UIs?, is it a symptom of Nostalgia and Finitude in Digital Media?

For designers there’s The Future of Book Cover Design in the Digital Age discussed and Publishing Perspectives asks: Does Digital Publishing Really Encourage More Reading?

It seems that If You Want to Succeed in Business, Read More Novels, even though Over half of surveyed e-reader owners use devices to conceal ‘shameful’ reading habits. And for all that reading over the weekend, you might need 17 Cozy Reading Nooks Design Ideas.

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