Happy Friday, once again! We hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving if you chose to celebrate it. There were some big bookish news stories this week, so lets get into it!
The $2.2 Billion Publisher
This is a big one. This week ViacomCBS agreed to sell their publishing group, Simon & Schuster, to Penguin Random House for a measly $2.2 Billion. That price point aside, this sale of one of the Big 5 publishers has people worried.
Back in 2013, Penguin Publishing merged with Random House, turning the Big 6 into the Big 5, and making Penguin Random House the largest publishing corporation in the United States. Now it’s about to happen again with Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster.
People’s concerns are lying with the fact that this new “megapublisher” will comprise close to 50% of all trade books published. Author’s Guild released a statement urging the US Justice Department to challenge the purchase of S&S, citing how the deal would hurt authors. In their letter they say that, “less competition would make it even more difficult for agents and authors to negotiate for better deals… because authors, even best-selling authors, wouldn’t have many options, making it harder to walk away.”
This story might be raising alarm bells for some of you reading, so we’ll make sure to keep following this story. We’ll let you know if anything changes, or if we are indeed looking at a new, smaller publishing industry.
Alan Rickman’s Diaries To Be A Book
This week, The Guardian reported that publishing house Canongate has acquired the rights to Alan Rickman’s diaries and plans to release them as a book in 2022. The diaries will allow fans to get a little more insight into the late actor’s life.
Rickman began writing the diaries in the 90’s, after his career had been started, with the intention of having them be published. Rickman’s widow, Rima Horton, said that she was “delighted” to have Canongate publish her late husband’s diaries and that “the diaries reveal not just Alan Rickman the actor, but the real Alan – his sense of humour, his sharp observation, his craftsmanship and his devotion to the arts.”
The book will be titled The Diaries of Alan Rickman and will be published in the Fall of 2022.
Audible Royalty Controversy
Amazon’s Audible service is in the news this week as well for some controversy. They recently updated their terms allowing customers to exchange or return any audiobook within 365 days of purchase. This change was intended to try and get listeners to explore and listen to newer content, however it ended up being abused. The return or exchange policy has led to some customers using a single credit to listen to a whole series of books.
Author’s noted that they had seen a drop in sales by 15% to sometimes 50%. On top of this, Audible fails to provide transparent data on returns, so it can hard to tell just how much authors are losing.
The Author’s Guild wrote a letter to Audible, asking people for signatures to get Audible to change the policy. Audible has since responded, updating the way royalties are paid so that no author will be charged for a return after 7 days of purchase. Still, many say that this is not enough, and 7 days is more than enough time to finish and return an audiobook.
You can help support authors in this by signing the Author’s Guild petition for Audible to change the policy.
Scholastic Book Fairs Continue
2020 has been a rough year, but Scholastic says that their book fairs won’t be one of the things we miss out on this year. Working within the CDC and WHO guidelines, Scholastic has adapted their book fairs to be safer in the age of COVID. These changes include shortening how much time or how many kids are allowed in at once, or in some instances holding outside or drive-through book fairs. We are glad that this tradition is finding a way to continue and keep kids safe.
Not Quite Bookish News
HBO Adapts The Last of Us
In adaptation news this week, we have HBO announcing the production of a The Last of Us series. The show will helmed by the creator of the HBO series Chernobyl, Craig Mazin, and The Last of Us developer’s VP, Neil Druckmann. The show will cover the events of the first game, which was written by Druckmann.
As a video game fan, this is exciting news! Coming off the heels of The Last of Us Part II releasing this year, this seems like a natural next step. Playstation Productions, the studio working on this show, hopes that this is the first of many game-to-screen series that we get to see.
That’s it for our Bookish News this week! Tell us what you thought of this week’s bookish news. Let us know if you think there’s something we should add to next week’s post either here or message us on Twitter! Make sure to stay safe, and happy reading!