ANALYSIS Publishers and retailers have pivoted to keep books on shelves and in readers’ hands — but will holiday sales fill them with joy?
thestar.com – Sunday November 1, 2020
In New York, a week or so ago, the famous Strand bookstore sent out a call: “We Need Your Help!”
“The Strand’s revenue has dropped nearly 70% compared to last year,” wrote the shop’s proprietor, Nancy Bass Wyden, in a letter. “We need to mobilize the community to buy from us so we can keep our doors open until there is a vaccine.”
And like some present-day remake of “It’s A Wonderful Life,” customers lined up around the block and placed so many orders for books they crashed the website.
The famed Paris bookstore Shakespeare and Co., also made an appeal to its customers in a message this week. “We are struggling, trying to see a way forward during this time when we’ve been operating at a loss, with our sales down almost 80% since March.”
‘Thank God we have that’: Wattpad author says writing gig became coronavirus emergency fund
globalnews.ca – Sunday November 1, 2020
When Caroline Richardson’s husband was temporarily laid off in the spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic, money became a concern.
The family of four was down to one income and the bills kept coming. There was the mortgage, car payments and two kids who wouldn’t stop growing and needing new clothes just because the economy was going through a rough patch, she recalls.
Luckily, though, Richardson’s long-time hobby came to the rescue. Government employee by day, Richardson is a writer of — in her own words — “mature, steamy romantic stories with a happy ending” in her free time.
It’s a labour of love she’s kept up for years, says Richardson, who has four book-length stories under her belt. But it wasn’t until one of her most recent works took off on Wattpad, an online storytelling platform, that her pastime became a lucrative side-gig.
Bridport Prize to be held online this year
bridportnews.co.uk – Thursday October 29, 2020
BRIDPORT’S creative writing competition will be broadcasting its award ceremony for the first time ever this year – and everyone is invited.
The ceremony for the Bridport Prize – one of the most prestigious open writing competitions – will take place at 6pm today (Thursday).
The annual ceremony traditionally takes place at the Bridport Arts Centre and is strictly invitation only. However, due to the pandemic, this year’s ceremony has had to go online.
The award has helped launch the career of a number of famous writers, including Kate Atkinson and Kit de Waal.
Harry Potter publisher says Covid is weaving magic over book sales
theguardian.com – Wednesday October 28, 2020
The Harry Potter publisher, Bloomsbury, has reported its most profitable first half in more than a decade, after a nation tiring of box sets fuelled a lockdown boom in book sales.
The company furloughed staff as the coronavirus crisis forced the publishing industry to shut down, but has seen a remarkable change in fortune as the pandemic has persisted.
“It is a complete surprise because we had as grim a beginning to the pandemic as everyone else in March when 100% of our customers shut down worldwide,” said Nigel Newton, the chief executive.
“And then we found that early on people showed short attention spans and were watching TV. But then reading reasserted its power and people found they could escape through books, and sales have been booming ever since.”
DHH Literary Agency to host virtual pitching day
thebookseller.com – Thursday October 15, 2020
DHH Literary Agency is hosting a virtual event enabling aspiring authors to pitch their work direct to its team.
With the pandemic stopping agents from going on the road as in previous years, the agency is opening up its pitching sessions on 4th December. They will be held via a mutually agreeable online video platform.
Founder David Headley said: “In the past, we have had the most tremendous response to our pitching sessions, and we are counting on this time being no different, despite not being able to meet face-to-face. More than ever, we’re in need of good stories to make us forget about the current state of affairs, so we welcome the chance to have authors send – and perhaps pitch – their work to us.
David Higham reveals Open Week events
thebookseller.com – Monday October 12, 2020
David Higham Agency has revealed the line-up of top agents taking part in its events ahead of its New Writers' Open Week for under-represented talent.
The organisation is running a series of online events in November, which are open to all writers applying for its January Open Week. The deadline for the week has also been extended until 26th October.
Hollywood has gobbled up book rights during the pandemic. Here’s why
latimes.com – Wednesday October 7, 2020
Author Rumaan Alam kept his expectations low, even as the film rights to his upcoming book “Leave the World Behind” became the center of a bidding contest among Hollywood studios this summer.
During two brisk weeks in July, the Brooklyn-based novelist kept interrupting his family vacation on Fire Island to field phone calls from agents, producers and executives. Sam Esmail, creator of USA Network’s “Mr. Robot,” was on board to direct a feature based on the socially conscious thriller. Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington had agreed to star and produce. Studios including Netflix, Apple and MGM were making offers.
Alam remained skeptical until that Monday when, while on the beach with his husband and two sons, he got the call from Michelle Weiner, head of Creative Artists Agency’s books department, who was handling the auction, saying they’d scored a deal with Netflix.
“I was waiting for the day when Michelle’s assistant would have to send me, like, a consolation bottle of Champagne,” Alam said. “I was sitting there in the sand kind of dumbfounded.”
Books by the Banks 2020 writing contest open to adults, teens; entries accepted online until Jan. 4
nkytribune.com – Tuesday October 6, 2020
Despite the postponement of the Book by the Banks 14th annual book festival, the 2020 writers’ contest is still happening.
This year’s contest theme is “Home.” Writers are encouraged to interpret this theme as literally or figuratively as they desire. Fiction, nonfiction, and poetry are welcome.
“Even though we had to move the festival to 2021 due to COVID-19, the board voted unanimously to continue its support of the region’s writers,” said David Rippe, president of Books by the Banks. “The love of writing, reading and books is a yearlong mission for us.”
The contest is open to adults and teens with cash prizes for the top three entries in each category.
Penguin, Bloomsbury, Juggernaut can wait—Twitter is the new fiction publisher
theprint.in – Sunday October 4, 2020
Move over Bloomsbury, Penguin, and Juggernaut — Twitter is now the premier fiction publisher in the era of coronavirus.
When Twitter user Shiv Ramdas wrote a lengthy thread about his brother-in-law buying a truck of rice, his posts received 77,000 retweets and 3 lakh likes within days. That’s how starved people are for a quick, interesting read on social media.
Let’s be honest, it’s practically impossible to get through a 500-page book today when you have to respond to every text, Instagram forward, and see every video on Facebook or Twitter. But fear not, Twitter story threads are the new place to quench that bookworm in you.
And you thought Twitter is only a playground for trolls. After Black Twitter and Dalit Twitter became thriving virtual subcultures, fiction Twitter is slated to be the next big thing.
Anyone can tell a funny, evocative, romantic, or thrilling story on Twitter — 280 characters at a time. All you need is snarky vocabulary, internet inside jokes, and concise sentences. Each tweet becomes a chapter, and each thread, however long you may want it to be, becomes the tale.
Shercliff launches Suffolk's first literary agency
thebookseller.com – Wednesday September 30, 2020
A new agency, Laxfield Literary Associates, headed by Cassava Republic's Emma Shercliff, is opening in Suffolk and launching a debut novel prize.
The agency, which is billed as Suffolk's first, opens its doors on 1st October. It was started by Shercliff in association with Blake Friedmann Literary Agency, which will handle translation and screen rights.
Shercliff was prompted to launch the agency partly as a response to the Common People report, led by Professor Katy Shaw of Northumbria University, which highlighted the lack of literary agents outside London.