Tag: J K Rowling

Self-employed in publishing

BookMachine February Wrap: Publishing stories from around the web

This month in publishing, booksellers have taken the spotlight, with Waterstones announcing their first year of profit since the 2008 financial crash. In fact, Bookstore sales rose 2.5% in 2016 and Amazon is determined to get in on the action, with plans to open 10 books and mortar stores across the US by the end of 2017, in a move to “solve digital retail’s biggest design flaw.” They are also rumoured to be scouting for shops in London. However, the footing is not even: Amazon has been given tax cuts while high street stores suffer – though, as the FT points out, UK tax law isn’t actually Amazon’s fault.

February has also marked the first full month of Trump’s presidency. Early February saw Trump pass an executive order banning entry to the US for citizens of seven majority-Muslim nations. Publishing professionals across the board have stood up against the ban, notably Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and former Children’s Laureate Malorie Blackman. In response, Publishers’ Weekly followed the lead of Penguin Random House US and Hachette Book Group US by offering to pay half its employees’ membership fees to PEN America.

Members of the reading public have also registered their unhappiness, voting with their reading habits by sending dystopian fiction to the top of the bestseller charts, as well as organizing to flood the White House with books for Valentine’s Day.

On a lighter note, Trump’s actions have also kicked off a feud between Harry Potter author JK Rowling and television presenter Piers Morgan. Already having had to defend Harry Potter books against threats of burning this month, Rowling scored some biblical hits against Morgan before London-based Big Green Bookshop took up the gauntlet by deciding to live-Tweet the entire first Harry Potter novel at Morgan. The process would have taken 32,567 Tweets, however at the time of writing, Morgan has blocked the Big Green Bookshop and thwarted their efforts.

This has been a month in which defense of free-speech and liberal values have been at the fore: “sensitivity readers” have been highlighted; anger has bloomed in light of 2017’s all-white Carnegie and Kate Greenaway longlists; and the Authors Guild in America has called for vigilance in these “not normal” times. Meanwhile, more complex debates have erupted over the sale of a Juno Dawson book to a 12-year-old at school, and arguments continue to rage over Milo Yiannopoulos’s upcoming book, both for and against.

“Publishing has a part to play in this fight,” said Chief Executive of Faber & Faber, Steven Page, accepting the Frankfurt book fair independent trade publisher of the year award. “We are about freedom of expression, making the public aware and [providing] education. These are things that matter very much now.”

Rowling pens Potter short, George R.R. Martin tells impatient fans where to go

As you’ve no doubt heard by now, J.K. Rowling yesterday posted a new, 1,500 word Harry Potter story on Pottermore, the series’ subscription-only web platform. “Dumbledore’s Army Reunites” is written as a newspaper article by the books’ resident tabloid hack Rita Skeeter, and finds Rowling’s teenage heroes now in their mid-30s and attending the Quidditch World Cup. Naturally, Rowling’s avid fans got a wee bit excited and, even though you might expect the site to brace itself for the inevitability that every one of its subscribers would instantly want to read the first new material in the series for seven years, Pottermore crashed soon after the story went live. The site is now fully operational again, however, so fans can read the story over and over as they wait in line at Universal Studios’ new Diagon Alley attraction, which coincidentally (ahem) also opened yesterday.

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Today in Rowling: PS3 Pottermore, Casual Vacancy paperback

Though the combination of the two hasn’t always been well received in the past, Sony’s video gaming arm has announced its latest attempt at porting the world of Harry Potter to the Playstation: the company will partner with J. K. Rowling’s Pottermore site for a social gaming initiative on Playstation Home, the online gaming hub of the PS3. Initially, the venture will see a selection of environments known to fans of the books opened up for virtual exploration – Diagon Alley and the Hogwarts Express are two of the first to be named – and used as locations for assorted games and other interactive experiences, including such Potter universe staples as duelling, collecting trading cards, picking out an owl or other appropriately magical animal and shopping for Hogwarts essentials.

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Everyone thrilled by commission of Casual Vacancy adaptation

In a startling break from its usual cycle of Dickens-Austen-Brontë adaptations, BBC One has announced plans to translate J.K. Rowling’s post-Potter bestseller The Casual Vacancy to the small screen. BBC One Controller Danny Cohen commissioned the project following discussions with Rowling’s agent-slash-husband Neil Blair, and the finished product is expected to air some time in 2014. Given the combined global grosses of the Harry Potter films, the only real surprise here should be that it’s going to TV (and non-commercial TV at that) and isn’t the first part of a lucrative cinematic series, perhaps charting small town elections all over England, with official tie-in ballot papers for sale in stationers across the land.

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National Book Award nominations announced

Potentially ending our long national nightmare of not having heard Lorraine Kelly read aloud from Fifty Shades of Grey, the nominees have been revealed for this year’s National Book Awards. The ceremony, which takes place on December 4th as a special birthday treat for Jay-Z, probably, will indeed feature the hugely popular, scandalising controversy magnet, but only in a hosting capacity, arf arf . (DISCLAIMER: This is obviously an unfair characterisation. I’m sure Lorraine Kelly’s lovely. And she can probably hook you up with a stylist who’ll give you a wonder of a dye job and get those fifty shades down to fewer than ten.)

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It’s a Brand New World

This is a guest post from Kathy MeisKathy Meis, who is founder and president of Bublish, a social book discovery platform that is revolutionizing how writers share their stories and readers find books they’ll love. 

In the world of business journalism, where I come from, the idea of a publishing brand, is common. Forbes, Financial Times, and The Economist are all household names. Book publishing, however, evolved quite differently, primarily because of its distribution and monetization models. Book publishers haven’t traditionally sold directly to their customers nor have they had to worry about making money through advertising, which requires a strong brand and an intimate understanding of one’s readership.

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Harry Potter and the publishers of fury

Steve Dinneen on how JK Rowling hopes to change the face of publishing by sidelining Amazon

JK Rowling has delivered a warning shot to the publishing industry that it must adapt to the rapidly-changing online world or
risk becoming marginalised.

The Harry Potter author revealed she will offer her record-breaking children’s books for download through her own website, circumventing the need to visit digital bookshops like those owned by the likes of Amazon and Apple.

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