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Posts Tagged ‘Anthony Cheetham’

Quercus Confident Despite First Half Losses

Quercus Publishing is bullish after nearly quadrupling sales to 3 million pounds and doubling losses to 340,000 pounds in the first half year, reports Growth Company Investor. The PLUS-quoted company, chaired by veteran publisher Anthony Cheetham, achieved interim turnover almost as much as for the whole of 2006. Interim cash was down from 752,500 pounds to 42,320 pounds, but debtors were trebled at 3.28 million pounds. During the first six months of the year, Quercus launched the first six titles of its new mass-market paperback division.

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UK Publishing Co-Op Revealed

The Times obtained a confidential memo from Waterstone’s which sets out what it expects publishers to pay if they want their books to be well promoted in its network of more than 300 stores this Christmas. The most expensive package, available for only six books and designed to “maximise the potential of the biggest titles for Christmas”, costs 45,000 pounds per title. The next category down offers prominent display spots at the front of each branch to about 45 new books for 25,000 pounds. Inclusion on the Paperbacks of the Year list costs up to 7,000 pounds for each book, while an entry in Waterstone’s Gift Guide, with a book review, is a relative snip at 500 pounds. Similar packages are available at other bookshop and supermarket chains, too.

Anthony Cheetham, the chairman of Quercus books, a small independent publisher, said: “It’s not a system you can opt out of. If Smith’s offer you one of these slots and you say no, their order doesn’t go down from 1,000 copies to 500 copies. It goes down to 20 copies.” Which is why he’s rather dismayed at having to pay for steep co-op for Costa winner Stef Penney‘s THE TENDERNESS OF WOLVES because it will not make the booksellers’ Christmas selections unless Quercus pays the going rate,

Neil Jewsbury, the commercial director of Waterstone’s, defended the charges and said that the quality of books chosen for books-of-the-year lists and other promotions was not compromised by money changing hands. “Our expert booksellers, with years of experience, decide on what the best books of the last year are,” he said. “It’s only after that that we enter into a confidential commercial agreement with the publishers to decide how best to feature and promote these titles.” Well, it ain’t so confidential anymore, and it remains to be seen whether consumers, er, readers will care about co-op practices. Maybe in another world we’d see a scandal along the lines of the early 1960s payola days, but it’s not exactly the 1960s anymore, now is it?

Jane Wood Jumps to Quercus

Jane Wood, currently Orion‘s editor-in-chief, has announced she will be moving to Quercus in the summer of 2007 to build up the independent publisher’s general and women’s fiction list, the Bookseller reports. Her job title will be publisher, and she will work alongside Sue Freestone, Jon Riley and Nic Cheetham. Wood, whose authors at Orion include Michael Connelly and Chris Simms, previously worked with Quercus chairman Anthony Cheetham at Orion and Century. She said: “I’m thrilled to be joining Quercus at this exciting time. I’m hugely looking forward to helping them build the trade fiction list. It’s a wonderful opportunity for me.”

What’s particularly interesting is that the buzz at Orion for months was that Wood was on the slow boat to retirement. Guess that’s been delayed now…

Costa Success for Quercus

While Stef Penney got all the accolades in the media for winning the Costa Book Prize last week, the real beneficiaries of hosannas is her publisher, Quercus. the Financial Times profiles the small press that’s found its way with an unusual path – combining “contact” publishing (or packaged books) with trade books such that the money made from one sector allows editors to buy within the other. “Modern technology has given small publishers an access to the marketplace they never had before,” said chairman Anthony Cheetham, who helped found Quercus in 2004. “Selling a book on Amazon.com, for example, is a democratic process: it doesn’t cost any money to get the book out there, and you have just as good a chance of access as the largest company on earth.”

Crucial to the small houses’ marketing power, however, has been a consortium called the Independent Alliance. It combines the sales and marketing efforts of seven small publishers, including Faber and Faber, Canongate and Profile, to achieve competitive scale. Consolidation among British booksellers means that with such marketing muscle behind them small publishers can gain wide exposure for a book if it is picked up by just one of the large retailers such as Waterstone’s. “Without the alliance, we never would have had the reach or visibility for [Tenderness of Wolves] that we had before the award,” said Mark Smith, Quercus’ CEO.

Or without some luck. “[Cheetham's] ex-wife, Rosie Cheetham, was a literary agent working for Time Warner at the time,” said Mr Smith. “She loved the book and tried to buy it, but they turned it down. So she passed it on to Anthony, and he loved it too.”