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Posts Tagged ‘Orion’

UK Booksellers Missing Out on Manga, Publishers Warn

The Bookseller’s Caroline Horn reports that UK publishers are warning booksellers that they are missing out on sales by failing to acknowledge consumer demand for manga. Publishers have been piling into the manga market for the past two years, with Little, Brown‘s Orbit the latest entrant through US list Yen Press this autumn. Random House launched its Tanoshimi imprint last year, while Orion‘s Gollancz started publishing manga in 2005, and Pan Macmillan signed an exclusive sales and distribution deal with manga publisher Tokyopop last summer.

“There is a lot of stock out there, but perhaps the growth in retail space allocated to manga is not keeping step with the amount of titles being published,” said Orbit business manager George Walkley. “In any of the major chains, manga is being under-cooked in terms of space.” Tokyopop UK sales director Dennis McGuirk added: “The issue is about the amount of space dedicated to this sector by high street retailers—manga is not given a huge amount of space so fans are given a limited offering and need to seek out specialists or go online for purchases.”

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Orion Injects Music Into Rebus Marketing Campaign

Orion is running the first ever publisher promotion with music-based social networking site Last.fm as part of its year-long campaign for Ian Rankin‘s final Inspector Rebus novel, reports the Bookseller’s Alison Flood. Orion’s promotion, which begins on August 16th, will see a dedicated area of the site host exclusive Rankin/Rebus top 20 playlists, with a Rankin essay on music, an author video, audio extract and cover image of the as yet untitled book. Banners and ads will drive users to the Rebus area; the page will click through to Amazon for pre-ordering of the novel, which will be published in the UK on September 6th.

“I really wanted to focus on the music aspect of the books as this potentially will be Rebus’ swansong, and I think that there are so many opportunities now to exploit the specific cultural and musical crossovers that are important to Ian’s writing,” said senior marketing manager Claire Brett. “Working with Last.fm will enable us to invert this relationship – we’ll introduce new fans to the books via the music.”

Orion Realigns

Publishing News reports on Orion‘s realignment, announcing a number of promotions and refashioning its hardcover publishing unit into a Trade Division. The new Division, headed by Orion MD Lisa Milton, comprises Weidenfeld Non-Fiction and Illustrated, Orion Non- Fiction; Weidenfeld and Orion fiction; Gollancz; and Orion Children’s Books. Weidenfeld Illustrated paperbacks is added to Susan Lamb‘s brief as MD of the Paperback Division. Both women report to Deputy CEO and Group Publisher Malcolm Edwards. Mark Rusher, previously Marketing Director of Weidenfeld & Nicolson, steps up to become Trade Marketing Director, while Helen Richardson, formerly Publicity Director of Orion, takes on the expanded portfolio of Trade Publicity Director, both reporting to Milton. Meanwhile, Anthony Keates increases his brief from Paperback Marketing Director to become Paperback Marketing and Publicity Director, reporting to Lamb.

Independent Bookstore Gets Major UK Marketing Campaign

Publishing News reports that a major marketing initiative for independent booksellers has been agreed by the Booksellers Association, which has worked with Bertrams, Gardners and THE to bring the scheme to fruition. The campaign, which uses the Love Your Local Bookshop logo originally established by Books@Hoddesdon, begins this autumn when independent booksellers and their customers will vote on a shortlist of 20 titles (10 children’s) which will be showcased in the BA’s Christmas catalog. The shortlist will be decided by independent booksellers from a longlist derived from sales data that specifically relates to independent bookshops. The BA will provide point of sales for the Independent Booksellers’ Book of the Year 2007.

Dallas Manderson, Group Sales Director at Orion, praised the scheme, saying: “This is an innovative idea which can only help increase sales and raise the profile of the independent sector.”

Rosie De Courcy Joins Random House UK

DeCourcy.jpgThe Bookseller reports that veteran publisher Rosie de Courcy has joined Trevor Dolby‘s new imprint at Random House. She starts immediately as publishing director of the as-yet unnamed imprint, with plans to publish in the region of 6 to 8 novels each year. De Courcy was a founding member of three start ups in British publishing – Futura, Century and Orion. Most recently she has been editor at Little, Brown UK.

Dolby said: “When I first discussed the imprint with Random House, Rosie was the only person I wanted to publish the fiction. She is quite simply an iconic publisher, one of the great editors of the last 25 years. It’s a privilege and a thrill that she’s agreed to join me.”

Good News for Lagardere

Lagardere, parent company of Hachette Book Group (as well as Hachette’s UK arm comprising Hodder Headline, Orion and Little, Brown Book Group) reports its first quarter revenues and for the publishing arm, revenues rose by 29.2% to 411.2m euros (or ($554 million), largely due to the consolidation of 83m euros of sales from Time Warner Book Group. On a like-for-like basis, revenues to end March 2007 advanced by 3.0%. They report that the 2007 outlook for Lagardere Publishing is good, especially for Education in France and Spain and for Literature in the United States.

What Works There Doesn’t Here, and Vice Versa

Finally, the Bookseller addresses one of my all-time favorite pet issues of the publishing world: how is it that one book can be a phenomenal success in one country but tank elsewhere – or never get published at all? Think of, say, Richard Powers selling almost 300,000 copies of THE TIME OF OUR SINGING in Germany when before his National Book Award win he was selling in staunchly midlist literary fiction numbers. Or Martina Cole being the top-selling novelist in the UK for years on end, but she hadn’t been able to get a book deal in America until only very recently. Many of these disparities have to do with lack of global appeal (Cole was thought to be a tough sell based on her very Essex-centric voice) or foreign rights agents not being pumped up enough to sell certain properties over others, or the commensurate buying foreign houses not enthusiastic enough to buy. I could go on.

Katherine Rushton focuses her piece specifically on Diane Setterfield‘s THE THIRTEENTH TALE, a big success in the US (staying on the NYT list for weeks on end) but faring far less well in the UK. 14,000 copies sold is fine for a debut novel – but not one that Orion shelled out 800,000 pounds for. So what happened? Well, the Sesalee Hensley touch helped, as did Atria‘s non-stop marketing plan (it worked to earn out the $1 million-plus advance) and the jacket cover worked gangbusters in the US but didn’t go over in the UK, but the true key may be this: publishers point to the book’s romanticized portrayal of England as the key to its raging success in the US, and say that is also precisely what let it down in the UK.

“It encapsulated England in the way that only Americans think of England. Americans love that quintessential English writing, but it is quite mannered in a way,” says the publishing director of one major house. Chatto & Windus publisher Alison Samuel liked the manuscript but thought it was out of touch with real-life England. “There are two incidences towards the end where they drink cocoa. I haven’t drunk cocoa since I was a child. That picture of cocoa-drinking England only appeals outside England.” Or as another rival publisher put it: “It was pretty terrible. There was one review which was very fair and called it a ‘gothic stew’.”

Further down the piece really contrasts UK and American approaches, and prognosticates on the fortunes of Jonathan Littell‘s LES BIENVILLANTES, which will be out in 2008 from Chatto (UK) and HarperCollins (US): “It will do very well,” says one rival publisher. “Nazis sell.” But she predicts less of a take-up in the US. “The American [publishers] saw it as much smaller than we do because they thought it was too European, and it probably wouldn’t appeal to their Jewish audience.” Yeah, no wonder she wanted to be anonymous on that quote…

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…

Record Numbers for Dawn French’s Memoir

Just when you thought the UK would stop going all celebrity memoir-crazy, now the tide’s turned – they’re going comic memoir-crazy. After the staggering success of Peter Kay‘s book last fall, eight publishers, including Century, part of Random House, HarperCollins and Orion, are all in the hunt to secure the scribblings from Dawn French. According to the Sunday Times, they will meet French and her literary agency PFD this week. The eight have already had to offer 1.25m pounds simply to sit down and discuss the book proposal, and since Julie Walters got 1.6 million pounds for her book, chances are likely French will earn similar numbers. Century – which published the Kay book – is rumored to be the favorite.

French is popular with both male and female audiences – an important factor in ensuring book sales. The phenomenon of books by or about national treasures has been evident in recent years with titles featuring the likes of Billy Connolly, the late John Peel and Sheila Hancock‘s biography of her late husband John Thaw exceeding sales expectations.