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Writers' News

Audible's Captions Program Stirs Fears, Frustration Among Publishers

publishersweekly.com – Saturday July 20, 2019

“Outrageous” and “copyright infringement” were the first two (unsolicited) emails PW received from independent publishers when word of Audible’s new program to run text along side its audiobooks began to spread. The program, called Captions, which requires the company to transcribe audio to text, was highlighted in a story in USA Today with a headline touting that Audible is looking to let customers “ ‘read’ an audiobook while [they] listen.” While the company disputes that description, saying Captions is not at all akin to the act of reading, publishers, literary agents, and organizations representing authors are skeptical.

While Audible said in a statement that Captions “does not replicate or replace the print or eBook reading experience,” publishers are unconvinced. “There are real copyright issues here and authors, publishers, and agents should review and clarify their positions,” said Dominique Raccah, CEO of Sourcebooks. “It seems unlikely that Audible was granted these rights.”

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WGA’s fight with agents enters Act 2, but there’s no end in sight

latimes.com – Friday July 19, 2019

Like many of his peers, writer Rasheed Newson, a co-executive producer on the Showtime drama “The Chi,” was supportive of his union’s efforts to rein in some of the aggressive practices of talent agencies.

But three months after the Writers Guild of America told members to fire their agents, Newson is growing frustrated with the lack of progress in resolving a dispute that has consumed Hollywood.

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U.S. Publishers Report Nearly $1 Billion in Sales as Strong Industry Growth Continues

benzinga.com – Wednesday July 17, 2019

 

NEW YORK, July 17, 2019 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- The Audio Publishers Association released the results from their annual sales survey, conducted by independent research firm Management Practice Inc., which revealed that the strong growth the audiobook industry has seen in recent years continues. Based on information from responding publishers, U.S. audiobook sales in 2018 totaled $940 million, up 24.5% from the previous year, with a corresponding 27.3% increase in units. This continues the seven-year trend of double-digit revenue growth in audiobooks year over year.

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Grammarly will now tell you if your writing is bland

news.yahoo.com – Wednesday July 17, 2019

Grammarly has announced that its text Editor tool will not only check your grammar correctness and spelling, but also warn you if your writing is bland or lacking in conciseness.

Since the company was founded over 10 years ago, Grammarly has offered students, professionals, and anyone who types on a computer an AI-powered grammar tool that helps them write and spell correctly. This week the company announced that its browser extension, web, and desktop Grammarly Editor apps are getting an update that will do more than just keep users' texts mistake-free, it will also encourage them to write smoothly and more concisely.

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Munsch made m.d. at Abrams & Chronicle Books

thebookseller.com – Monday July 15, 2019

Inez Munsch will move from Hardie Grant Publishing to become m.d. of Abrams & Chronicle Books in September.

She takes over from Brenda Marsh who is returning to the US after serving in the position since June 2016. Munsch will take over the role at the London-based company on 23rd September, the A&CB board announced today (15th July).

Munsch is currently the UK and export sales director at Hardie Grant Publishing. Since she joined in 2014, the company has consistently achieved year on year growth, streamlining and diversifying their sales channels and adapting to the changing market. Prior to joining Hardie Grant Publishing, Munsch spent more than 10 years working at Bloomsbury Publishing where she gained experience working across a variety of different areas of the business that culminated in her role as head of UK sales.

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Deep Vellum Acquires Two Publishers, Adds Imprints

publishersweekly.com – Wednesday July 3, 2019

Dallas-based translation publisher Deep Vellum has acquired the backlist of two separate independent publishing house-- Phoneme Media of Los Angeles and A Strange Object of Austin, Tex.--and is expanding into publishing works originally written in English.

Phoneme is a prominent publisher of poetry in translation with a backlist of more than 30 titles from 25 languages, including Rilke Shake by Angèlica Freitas of Brazil, which won both the National Translation Award and Three Percent's Best Translated Book Award for Poetry in 2016. A Strange Object focused on publishing experimental, debut works and has a backlist of seven titles, including Three Scenarios in Which Hana Sasaki Grows a Tail by Kelly Luce, which won the the Bill Fisher Award for Best First Book from Independent Book Publishers Association in 2013.

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Walker Books acquires Jennifer Bell MG in six-figure deal

thebookseller.com – Tuesday July 2, 2019

Walker Books has acquired two novels by middle-grade author Jennifer Bell in a six-figure, pre-emptive deal. 

Executive editorial director Denise Johnstone-Burt acquired UK, Commonwealth and translation rights to two books, including Wonderscape, which is set in a futuristic gaming world, from Polly Nolan at the Greenhouse Literary Agency.

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The £6 Billion UK Publishing Industry Sees A 3% Rise In Digital, 5% Drop In Physical Sales

forbes.com – Monday July 1, 2019

The United Kingdom's publishing industry's revenues hit £6 billion in 2018 off the back of its digital sales growth, according to new figures recently released by the Publishers Association. The bad news: A 5% drop in total physical sales accompanied the industry's 3% digital sales growth. Here's what the leading representative voice for UK publishers found in their new report.

Despite digital's upward trend, total digital sales figures remain well below those of print sales, at £653 million compared to print book sales' total of £2.9 billion. A list of key highlights from the full PA Publishing Yearbook 2018 also notes that the total consumer audiobook sales income is up 43% in 2018, reaching £69 million — that's a steep growth rate worth noting, even if it's not exactly unexpected.

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New chapter? UK print book sales fall while audiobooks surge 43%

theguardian.com – Thursday June 27, 2019

UK book sales fell for the first time in five years in 2018, despite the success of bestsellers such as Michelle Obama’s autobiography, Becoming.

The UK publishing industry was hit by a surprise fall of £168m (5.4%) in sales of physical books last year, ending a period of growth stretching back to at least 2014.

Sales fell from £3.11bn in 2017 to £2.95bn last year, according to the latest figures from the Publishers Association, which published its annual yearbook on Wednesday.

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PFD's Agora Books launches writing community and prize

thebookseller.com – Thursday June 27, 2019

Peters Fraser + Dunlop e-book imprint Agora Books has launched a prize to celebrate its new writers’ group, Lost the Plot, which offers "no-nonsense advice, industry insight, and community connection".

PFD and Agora Books are introducing the community aimed at aspiring commercial fiction authors across all genres. Lost the Plot will provide "no-nonsense advice, industry insight, and community connection" including how to access support on writing, finding representation, and navigating the publishing process as well as connecting with other authors. 

The Lost the Plot Work in Progress Prize is for unfinished manuscripts with "the aim is to get books out of a drawer and into the world, to encourage writers to stop procrastinating in pursuit of perfection and get feedback sooner," PFD said. 

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