Publisher’s Weekly News Briefs

Week of March 25, 2013

Scholastic Quarter Down

hungergamestrilogyWith sales of the Hunger Games trilogy falling even more than expected in the quarter ended February 28 compared to a year ago, Scholastic reported that revenue for the company fell 18.5% over the same period last year, to $380.5 million, while the net loss deepened to $20.1 million from $10.3 million. As a result of the soft quarter, Scholastic lowered its forecast for the full fiscal year for the second time and is now projecting sales to be between $1.75 billion and $1.8 billion.

Hastings Cuts Back on Books

With comparable store sales of books down 1.3% in the fiscal year ended January 31—after falling 4.8% in 2011—Hastings Entertainment said it is cutting back on the space devoted to books, music, and rental as it rolls out new products in an expanded electronics department and adds to its trends section.

Reorg for SMP Marketing and Publicity

St. Martin’s Press has announced changes in its marketing and publicity departments, moving from a “format-driven orientation to an audience-and-category-focused orientation.” The reorganization will establish four core-marketing teams made up of a combination of SMP’s current marketers, publicists, and digital marketers. The teams will focus on specific categories and audiences.

Random-Penguin Gets Okay In NZ

New Zealand is the third country to give its approval to the Penguin–Random House merger.     random_penguin_dr1

3 Reasons Why Communities Help Professionals Learn

The self-employed life can be a little lonely sometimes. The more work you put into your business, the less it seems you can relate to anyone else. It’s not that you’re actively pushing friends and family away; it’s just they can’t understand your specific issues.

Even worse, you start to live in a bubble that eventually won’t pop. You start to think you’ve got everything down pat and there’s no room to grow. This is how businesses get stuck in ruts and start to decline. Once this pattern is set, it’s tough to crack it.

That’s why it’s vital you involve yourself in a business community as soon as possible. Not only will it help you break out of your comfort zone, but meeting other business professionals can help your learn new ways to do things.

1. Information Sharing

This is one of the most obvious ways a community can help a professional learn, but it can’t be overstated. You accumulate a lot of knowledge during your time as a business professional and you start to think you know it all. All it takes is one person – or worse, one lost client – to come along and show you how little you know.

Believe it or not, this is actually a good thing! Realizing you’re nowhere near as smart or experienced as you think allows you to grow in ways you didn’t expect. Use your colleagues and even your competitors to expand your knowledge, both locally and globally. Don’t forget: they need your expertise too, so don’t be afraid to share.

2. Different Perspectives

Besides information, perspective is something that can only be gained when you talk to other people or consult new sources. Again, after doing business for so long, you start to think your way is the only way. It’s only when we’re challenged do we see how wrong we are.

Let’s say you’ve been selling your product offering one way for years and it’s never failed you. As a result, you become incredibly confident in your methods. However, at a community meeting, you realize your colleague is selling the same service in a drastically different way — and it’s never failed her, either. The conversations you could have about that alone could be business-altering!

3. Gets You Away From Work — Sort of

Part of getting stuck in a rut involves doing the same thing over and over, all day every day. If you’re always at the office or going to meetings or working on paperwork, you’re going to hit a wall and burn out. It’s happened before and it will happen again, even to the best professionals out there.

Getting out of the office once in a while and talking to others in your same position is a great way to free your brain up for a while and relax while you still move forward with your company. You’re not pulling yourself completely away, but simply hanging out with like-minded individuals (even online) can help you step away from any problems you’re having and see them from a new perspective. Just taking your mind off of the same ol’ thing for a while goes a long way toward allowing your brain to recharge.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from your colleagues or your competitors in online communities?

Shatzkin: Five Publishing Trends to Watch for in 2013

Amidst all the pre-2013 predictions and punditry on the future of digital publishing, publishing consultant and Digital Book World partner Mike Shatzkin has found five more trends that you should watch for in 2013:

1. Migration from print to digital will continue to slow. We’ve already seen the inflection point. When all is said and done, digital book growth in trade publishing will probably slow to about 30% to 50% in 2012 — still huge growth numbers but slower than the triple-digit growth years of 2011, 2010, 2009 and 2008.

2. Reference and illustrated books will continue to lag behind “immersive” reading books (novels and nonfiction) in the transition to digital. While some publishers have found success bringing reference and illustrated books to the 21st century, many have not and the adoption rate for digital reading of cookbooks and other illustrated titles has lagged behind novels and nonfiction. Will it continue in 2013? Shatzkin thinks so. Others think this will (finally) be the year of the enhanced ebook.

3. Mergers among publishers will become more common. Digital Book World also made this prediction — both in our Ten Bold Predictions for 2013 and in a story on the subject in March 2012.

4. Children’s ebook platforms will become powerful gatekeepers for digital reading. There has been a rise in the number of children’s ebook platforms — Storia, RRKidz and Ruckus Media are three good examples. In 2013, Shatzkin predicts, these portals — and perhaps those maintained by Nook and Amazon — will be a dominant force in children’s digital reading in 2013.

Learn more about the future of children’s digital publishing at Children’s Launch at DBW 2013.

5. Marketing will get dynamic for publishers and will be increasingly hard to separate from editorial. Shatzkin has predicted in the recent past a move to audience-drive marketing for publishers — much like the calendar- and topic-timed marketing employed by some start-up digital publishers like Open Road Media. Digital Book World went farther on Forbes to predict that some major publisher will form a back-list marketing department.

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