The following is a roundup of new publishers, agents, and digital media ventures (book-related) that we saw announced in 2020.
New traditional publishing imprints (Big Five)
Simon & Schuster
- Starting in February 2021, Little Simon Graphic Novels will publish for readers aged five to nine; so far, all titles are based on existing series. Ready-to-Read Graphics will debut in the summer with graphic novels for the same audience as Ready-to-Read leveled readers. Learn more.
- Black Privilege Publishing is housed under Simon & Schuster’s Atria Books division and headed up by radio presenter, television personality, and author Charlamagne tha God. It will focus on Black and brown narratives. Learn more.
Penguin Random House
- Jay-Z now has an imprint, Roc Lit 101. It will be partly overseen by One World publisher and editor-in-chief Chris Jackson. Among the first titles to release will be from CC Sabathia, music journalist Danyel Smith, Meek Mill, Yo Gotti, and Fat Joe, as well as illustrated books and cookbooks, children’s books, and books that “defy genre altogether.” Jackson says in the release, “Our aspiration for the imprint is to create books that draw from the best of pop culture. … The partnership isn’t just about the books—it’s also about audiences: we want to find new voices and new stories, but also new readers.” Learn more at Publishers Weekly.
- Married YA authors Nicola Yoon and David Yoon will help develop the Joy Revolution imprint, to launch in 2022 as part of Penguin Random House in the US. In the announcement, Nicola Yoon says, “Joy Revolution is not focused on stories of Black pain or immigrant struggle. Our books won’t be issue-oriented or polemical. The Joy Revolution imprint is all about telling stories of big love. The characters in them have big ideas about the world and their place in it. I believe love stories are truly revolutionary. Because love has the power to unmake and remake the world.” Learn more in Publishers Weekly.
- Founded by comedian Phoebe Robinson, Tiny Reparations Books will publish both literary fiction and nonfiction. Robinson said in the release, “We all know there is a lack of diversity in publishing. Tiny Reparations Books recognizes that the publishing landscape isn’t going to change until the actual work starts behind the scenes.” Learn more at Publishers Weekly.
- Flamingo is a new picture-book imprint under Penguin Young Readers. The imprint’s founder, Margaret Anastas, says, “My goal is to create an eclectic list with both new and familiar voices and some celebrity authors. In selecting books, I plan to do what I’ve always done: go with my gut.” Learn more at Publishers Weekly.
- Delacorte Press is launching Underlined, a YA imprint that will publish thriller, romance, and horror. The first titles will release this spring and summer. Beverly Horowitz, senior vice president and publisher of Delacorte, says in the press release, “Watching how our streaming culture has increased the expectation for fast delivery of content, we wanted to reach teens in a similar way. Our new line of Underlined books will be published on a rapid, regular schedule, delivering highly commercial, portable, and affordable reads under the recognizable and trusted Underlined brand.”
- GCP Balance, a nonfiction imprint, will launch in 2022 and publish across practical nonfiction categories, including health/wellness, business, self-help, diet, inspiration, and more. Learn more.
- Legacy Lit is dedicated to books for and by people of color. It will publish 12–15 titles across all genres, with the first titles to release in 2022. Learn more.
- Hodder Studio (part of Hachette UK) will publish both fiction and nonfiction across all types of media, including immersive audio, Twitter “tales,” and short podcast series. Hodder Studio says it “seeks to reimagine storytelling in a way that represents our ever-changing technological and cultural landscape.”
- HarperCollins is extending its existing series, I Can Read! (established in 1957), by launching I Can Read Comics! It targets children ages four to eight. Editorial director Andrew Arnold tells Publishers Weekly, “There’s a need to introduce comics to even younger readers, to give them the tools necessary to familiarize themselves with the format.”
- HarperChapters for early readers will focus on series rather than standalone titles. Each book will be 96 pages, with brief chapters and illustrations (or “airy layouts”), and feature stories with action and humor. The books have an “interactive component” consisting of progress bars at the end of each chapter and a final celebration page that totals up the number of chapters, pages, and words read.
- Quill Tree will focus on publishing authors with a strong point of view, as well as those who are often underrepresented. The launch list includes picture books (Michael Chabon and Neil Gaiman), a graphic novel (Jerry Craft), a middle-grade novel (Saadia Faruqi), and YA novels (Z Brewer, Jessie Ann Foley, Anica Mrose Rissi, Neal Shusterman, and Nina Varela). Learn more from Emma Kantor at Publishers Weekly.
- Harlequin (owned by Harpercollins) adds a trade paperback fiction line to Love Inspired, its inspirational romance imprint. Executive editor Tina James says in the press release, “The popularity of our Love Inspired and Love Inspired Suspense romance lines has encouraged us to expand in new and exciting ways. The trade imprint’s longer word count will allow for more complex stories and characters.”
- Carina Press, Harlequin’s digital-first romance imprint, plans to launch Carina Adores, a line of contemporary and classic LGBTQ+ romance tales. Titles will be released in ebook and mass-market paperback formats, with a length of 55,000 to 65,000 words. Learn more from Calvin Reid at Publishers Weekly.
- iHeartPodcast Network is now turning podcasts into books. Their new imprint (in partnership with Flatiron Books at Macmillan) launched in September with Stuff You Should Know: An Incomplete Compendium of Mostly Interesting Things by Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant. Four books have been signed to start. Learn more from Ashley Carman at The Verge.
Beyond the Big Five
- Crooked Lane books launches a new imprint. A publisher of crime fiction, Crooked Lane books is launching a new imprint, Alcove Press. Alcove will focus on book club fiction exploring family, friendship, and communities. Its first titles release this fall.
- UK’s Canelo launches a new crime fiction imprint. Canelo Crime will launch with eight titles this September and actively seeks new novels for 2021 and beyond. They plan to release 15 to 18 new titles per year. You can learn more at Canelo’s site, although it says (frustratingly) they are closed to submissions.
- Turner Publishing Group launches a new prestige imprint. Keylight Books, just launched by Turner, will publish fiction that’s ultimately meant to be licensed for the screen. The publisher is already partnered with a TV/film rights packager and has closed 10 film and TV deals. Learn more from Rachel Deahl in Publishers Weekly.
- Skyhorse launches a new romance imprint. Palomino Press is a new romance imprint from New York–based publisher Skyhorse. Contemporary romance will be the focus, with about 10 to 15 titles to be released annually, starting this fall. However, in 2018, Skyhorse announced job cuts and reduced title output because of sales declines.
Fiction and nonfiction
- Emancipation Books to focus on Black and minority authors. The Nashville-based publisher Post Hill Press is launching Emancipation Books to “give a voice to black and minority authors—including conservatives, libertarians, traditional liberals, and iconoclasts—whose nonconforming views are seldom represented in mainstream media, and find themselves increasingly unwelcome at the larger publishing houses.” Emancipation plans to release six to 10 books a year. They accept unsolicited submissions.
- Post Hill Press also launches a new Jewish imprint. Wicked Son will focus on “publishing sharp-edged political and cultural commentary as well as history, fiction, philosophy and other books of Jewish interest.” The imprint has already released several titles in 2020; its authors include Michael Oren, Shmuley Boteach, Ruth R. Wisse, Hillel Halkin, David L. Robbins, and more.
- University of New Mexico Press launches a new imprint. Starting in March 2021, High Road Books will publish both fiction and nonfiction with western roots and national appeal. Learn more.
- UK publisher Head of Zeus launches a new imprint. Aries is a new action and adventure fiction imprint at Head of Zeus, which publishes genre fiction, narrative nonfiction, and children’s books. Thirty titles will release in 2020, with 60 planned for 2021. The publisher says, “Whether Dark-Age historical epic or near-future techno thriller, Aries will bring together a community of authors with readers who are looking for their next adventure read.”
- A new adult imprint, Astra House, joins a children’s publishing operation. Astra Publishing House, owned by a Beijing-based company, consists of children’s publishers Boyd Mills & Kane and mineditionUS—and now a new imprint, Astra House. It will publish 20 to 25 adult titles a year across literary fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. Half of those books will be works in translation. Next year, the company will also launch Astra Quarterly, a new literary magazine. Learn more from Jim Milliot in Publishers Weekly.
- A new sustainability imprint from Pan Macmillan (UK). One Boat will be led by Carole Tonkinson; its first title is Eat to Save the Planet by Annie Bell, planned for release in December 2020. The publisher says One Boat refers to the power of one—how one person can make a huge impact and one habit can make a big difference.
- New Age publisher Inner Traditions expands its publishing program. It now has a tenth imprint, Sacred Planet Books, that will publish eight to 12 titles a year. Its first title, to release in October, will be The Corona Transmissions: Alternatives for Engaging with COVID-19—from the Physical to the Metaphysical. The imprint “seeks inquiry into planetary healing, personal transformation, redemption, inclusion, affirmation, and spirit.” Learn more at the website of the imprint’s curator.
- New music imprint announced at Bonnier Books UK. The yet-to-be-named imprint will publish memoirs, musical social histories, and first-person narratives from well-established writers, musicians, and commentators. Learn more at Music Week.
- Red Wheel Weiser launches new imprint. With plans to publish eight to 10 titles per year, Dharma Spring will focus on Buddhist teachings and publish books on meditation techniques, how to process difficult emotions, and practicing lovingkindness. Dharma Spring’s first title, releasing in October, is Opening to Grief: Finding Your Way from Loss to Peace by Claire Willis and Marnie Crawford Samuelson. Learn more from Emma Wenner in Publishers Weekly.
- British digital publisher Bookouture launches a nonfiction imprint. Bookouture (owned by Hachette) has just announced Thread, its first nonfiction imprint, which will focus on publishing “leading experts and voices” across numerous categories. Publisher Claire Bord says in the press release that it makes sense for Bookouture to expand its operations to nonfiction due to “the rapidly growing appetite for a broad range of nonfiction in digital formats.” For more background on the publisher, see this Publishers Weekly profile from 2016.
- A new business imprint at the University of Virginia. UVA’s Darden School of Business is partnering with the University of Virginia Press on a new business publishing imprint. The business school already houses Darden Business Publishing, the second-largest case publisher in the United States. The new imprint will publish books on business and economics from scholars worldwide. Learn more.
- A new craft books series from a UK publisher. White Owl Books has a new craft series debuting in May, with the first titles publishing in North America. Books are full-color paperbacks and focus on soft crafts, such as crochet and sewing.
- A new nonfiction imprint, focused on religion, at 1517 Media. Broadleaf Books is a new imprint at 1517 Media (formerly known as Augsburg Fortress), the official publishing house of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Broadleaf will publish nonfiction titles on religion, spirituality, social justice, personal growth, and Christian living. Learn more from Emma Wenner at Publishers Weekly.
Children’s and YA
- Sequoia Kids Media will target the school and library market. The new children’s publishing imprint, launched by Phoenix International, will release more than 30 titles in spring of 2021. The core demographic is children ages three to six, but the imprint may produce books for kids up to second grade. Learn more.
- Unruly: a new children’s picture book imprint. Children’s publisher Enchanted Lion is launching a new imprint in spring 2021 dedicated to picture books that defy traditional categorization. Such books contain more text and explore darker or more complex subject matter for older readers. Learn more.
- New YA imprint at Sterling. Sterling Publishing is launching Sterling Teen in Spring 2021. It will publish one to three books each season, starting with fiction but branching out into nonfiction. Learn more.
- Wolfpack launches a YA imprint. Founded in 2013, Wolfpack Publishing is launching Wise Wolf Books, a new YA imprint that will publish fiction in all genres. They are actively seeking submissions, particularly those in a series, from all regions of the world. Wolfpack’s sales are primarily digital and direct to consumer; Jason Boog profiled them recently in Publishers Weekly.
- Arcadia rolls out a new children’s series: Spooky America. The series is the first from Arcadia Children’s Books, an imprint that was formed last year. Eight titles for middle-grade readers will release on Sept. 7, all adapted from Arcadia’s existing Haunted America series for adults. Learn more.
- London-based publisher launches new children’s fiction imprint. Welbeck Flame is a new initiative from Welbeck Publishing Group. Learn how to submit at their site.
- Sasquatch Books launches new YA imprint. Spruce Books will publish visual nonfiction titles for tweens, teenagers, and young adults. The first title is Anti-Racism: Powerful Voices, Inspiring Ideas by Kenrya Rankin; the book features quotes and photographs. Seattle-based Sasquatch is owned by Penguin Random House, who acquired it in 2017. Learn more.
- Candlewick and MIT Press launch joint imprints for the juvenile market. The two Boston-based publishers will collaborate on MIT Kids Press and MITeen Press to publish books on science and technology. The first titles will release in fall 2021. Learn more from Alex Green in Publishers Weekly.
Comics and graphic novels
- A university press launches a comics imprint. Graphic Mundi, launched by Penn State University Press, will publish comics for adults and young adults, starting in spring 2021. The imprint is acquiring fiction and nonfiction on subjects such as health and human rights, politics, the environment, and science and technology. The university already publishes graphic novels as part of its Graphic Medicine series, which launched in 2015.
- New graphic novel imprint: Torch Graphic Press. The imprint is part of Cherry Lake Publishing Group, a Michigan-based children’s publisher that specializes in picture books and middle-grade novels. Its first titles release this fall. Learn more in Shelf Awareness.
- Spiegel & Grau return. In 2019, Penguin Random House (US) shut down its imprint Spiegel & Grau, run by the well-known veteran editors Cindy Spiegel and Julie Grau. The eponymous imprint was responsible for publishing a number of landmark works by authors such as Khaled Hosseini, James McBride, Ta-Nehisi Coates and Yuval Noah Harari—and the two women have worked together for 25 years, starting with Riverhead Books, which they founded. The two are back in business now, having launched an independent publishing house, Spiegel & Grau, and the New York Times has coverage of the new endeavor. With solid financial backing and distribution through Two Rivers and Findaway, the plan is to release 15 to 20 titles per year, but also produce original audio content and shepherd works to film and TV. Notably, Spiegel & Grau already has a first-look deal with Amazon Studios and a partnership with podcast company Lemonada Media.
- The editor of Michelle Obama’s Becoming starts a new publishing house. Molly Stern once worked as publisher of Crown, an imprint at Penguin Random House, but was laid off two years ago. She has now launched her own independent publishing company, Zando, using startup funds from SISTER, a global content company. The first titles will launch in fall 2021, with audio “a centerpiece of the company’s content.” The New York Times reports the publisher will “team up with high-profile individuals, companies, and brands, who will act as publishing partners and promote books to their fans and customers.” No specific projects have been announced yet.
- New children’s publisher: Little Genius Books. Starting in spring 2021, Little Genius Books will publish board books, picture books, activity books, nonfiction, novelty books, and more. Simon & Schuster is on board as distributor. Learn more.
- New Canadian publisher: Hush Harbour. Two Toronto-based authors have launched Hush Harbour, a literary press dedicated to Black queer feminism and uplifting works of short fiction.
- Emory undergrads start a children’s publishing house. Prior to the arrival of COVID-19, Sarina Adeline McCabe and Kalyani Allums started Ember Publishing House with the initial goal of publishing books for middle graders and young adults. Now they’re planning to publish children’s books to help young children better understand the pandemic. Learn more.
- A new independent political press launches in the UK. Hajar Press intends to publish “ambitious and politically engaged fiction and nonfiction” by writers of color—about six to eight books per year. However, their site—like Canelo’s—says they are not currently accepting submissions.
- Hallmark and Walmart partner on mass-market romance line. Starting Feb. 25, one Hallmark romance novel will be highlighted each week at Walmart, beginning with Country Hearts by Cindi Madsen. The director of Hallmark Publishing says, “Our books allow readers to experience all the joy and romance Hallmark movies have to offer.”
New literary agencies and agents
- Rachelle Gardner launches her own agency. Gardner, well-known for advising writers through her blog, is launching Gardner Literary, a full-service agency “representing diverse authors at the crossroads of faith and culture.” She was previously at Books & Such Literary Management.
- New literary agency: Book Wyrm. The Book Wyrm Literary Agency focuses on commercial fiction and nonfiction. It is founded by Sandy Lu, who was with the L. Perkins Agency for nearly 12 years. She is currently accepting submissions in a wide range of categories and genres.
- Raven Quill: a new literary agency for children’s and YA authors. Jacqui Lipton has founded Raven Quill Literary Agency and will open later this year to submissions via QueryManager. Lipton is an attorney, a law professor, and author of Law & Authors: A Legal Handbook for Writers, forthcoming from University of California Press this year. Follow her on Twitter at @Jacqui_Lipton.
- Accord Literary: a new literary agency for African authors. Launched by two children’s publishing professionals, Accord Literary represents Africa-based writers of middle-grade and YA fiction and has a goal of reaching young readers around the world. The agency has an open submission call to writers from across the African continent. For more insight into the African book market, read Ed Nawotka in Publishers Weekly (from early 2019).
- Janna Morishima has launched Janna Co. to represent authors and illustrators. She previously worked at Scholastic and was the director of the children’s group at Diamond Book Distributors. Learn more in Publishing Perspectives from Porter Anderson.
- Sophie Bradshaw establishes literary agency. Formerly publisher at History Press, UK-based Bradshaw will represent nonfiction only and focus on developing undiscovered and first-time authors of memoir; history; mind, body, and spirit; self-help; and business. The agency will work with authors around the globe.
- Three new literary agencies open in the UK. The first, Laxfield Literary Associates, will be run by Emma Shercliff in association with the Blake Friedmann Literary Agency. She was inspired to start her agency (based in Suffolk) because of the lack of literary agencies outside of London. Morgan Green Creatives launched by Kirsty McLachlan, who was most recently at David Godwin Associates. The Liverpool Literary Agency will serve writers from underrepresented backgrounds in northern England.
- Megan Manzano joins D4EO Literary. She is seeking middle grade and YA stories across genres but doesn’t want nonfiction, historical fiction, graphic novels, chapter books, or picture books. Learn more.
- Erin Clyburn has joined the Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency and is seeking a broad range of children’s, YA, and adult fiction and nonfiction. It’s easier to rule out what not to send her: children’s picture books (unless they’re nonfiction), romance, Westerns, epic fantasy, political or military thrillers, or hard sci-fi. Submit through QueryManager.
- Maria Rogers joins The Tobias Literary Agency. In the nonfiction category, Rogers seeks whip-smart cultural criticism and original and urgent journalism and science writing—as well as children’s nonfiction, anything from ancient history to contemporary issues. Previously, she was an intern at Writers House. Learn more.
- Katherine Wessbecher joins Bradford Literary. Previously, Wessbecher was associate editor at Putnam Children’s. She is looking to represent children’s books (picture books through YA), upmarket adult fiction, and narrative nonfiction for all ages. Learn more.
- Hafizah Geter has joined Janklow & Nesbit as an agent. She was most recently editor at Amazon Publishing.
- Amy Collins has worked in the publishing industry as a book buyer and sales rep and is now a literary agent with Talcott Notch Literary Services—where she’s also serving as director of subsidiary rights. She’s accepting both fiction and nonfiction; learn more at Writer’s Digest.
- Emmy Nordstrom Higdon has joined The Rights Factory as assistant agent. They are looking to represent authors of literary, upmarket, and commercial fiction; they’ll also cover narrative nonfiction for adults and older young adults. They specialize in LGBTQ2S+ literature. Learn more.
- Laura Mazer has joined Wendy Sherman Associates as a literary agent. Previously, she was executive editor at Seal Press. She is seeking progressive cultural commentary, feminism and racial justice, intelligent pop culture, keep-it-real prescriptive advice, irreverent self-help, and packaged gift or concept books. Learn more.
- Paloma Hernando has joined Einstein Literary Management as an associate agent. She was previously an intern at Writers House. Learn more.
- Renae Moore is now with The Tobias Literary Agency as an assistant agent; previously, she was with Tessera Editorial. Learn more.
- Aria Gmitter has joined Whimsy Literary Agency; previously, she was a literary assistant to Peter Miller. Learn more.
- Stephanie Kim has joined New Leaf Literary & Media. Previously, she worked in traditional publishing at William Morrow and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; she also worked in communications at Hulu and Scribd. Her interests: narrative nonfiction (memoir, pop culture, self-help) and voice-driven fiction. Learn more.
- Danya Kukafka is now an agent at Aevitas. She is seeking literary suspense, sophisticated thrillers, speculative fiction, and experimental fiction. Previously, she was an assistant editor at Riverhead. Learn more.
- Crystal Orazu has joined Context Literary Agency as a junior agent. According to Context’s site, Orazu “hopes to represent and uplift authors whose stories allow readers to feel seen and heard in new and exciting ways.” Learn more.
- Jackie Williams has joined The Knight Agency and seeks fantasy, science fiction, mystery, suspense, contemporary, and young adult. She was previously with Chronicle Books. Learn more (scroll to the bottom of the page).
- Emily Forney has joined BookEnds Literary Agency; she was most recently a publishing and editorial fellow for the LA Review of Books. She seeks fiction and nonfiction in middle grade and picture books, as well as young adult and adult fiction. She would like to see more fiction from BIPOC in particular. Learn more.
- Desiree Wilson has joined the Bent Agency. Previously, she was a freelance literary consultant and worked as an editor at Oni Press. She’s looking for horror novels (all ages); memoir, especially from BIPOC authors; YA and adult science fiction and fantasy; short story collections of LGBTQ+ fiction; and more. Read her full guidelines.
- Two agents have joined Aevitas Creative Management: Karen Brailsford and Georgia Frances King. Brailsford is based in Los Angeles and is especially interested in arts and entertainment, memoir, biography, health and wellness, and spirituality. King is based in New York and is interested in nonfiction books about emerging science and technology, futurism, design, culture, and the arts.
- Lindsay Guzzardo has joined Martin Literary Management and heads up adult fiction. Learn more.
Digital media ventures
- A new digital storytelling app, Alexander, focuses on shorts works by well-known authors. Alexander will launch with nonfiction works from authors such as Colum McCann, Xiaolu Guo, Chigozie Obioma, Carlo Rovelli, and Valeria Luiselli. It is subscription based ($3.99/month) and integrates audio performance and short film; readers can toggle between text and audio. Read the press release.
- Binge Books launches. The same group that runs Authors A.I. has now launched Binge Books, a book discovery site for fiction. Consider it a more friendly version of Goodreads, with a focus on genre fiction and independent authorship. In the future, Binge Books will be able to recommend books based on AI analysis of story lines you’ve enjoyed in the past.
- New digital publisher NeoText to publish short-form works. NeoText will publish works ranging from science fiction and noir novellas to investigative journalism and narrative nonfiction. Their executive and editorial team comes from a mix of industries, including video games, book publishing, and Hollywood. Illustrator François Schuiten tells The Hollywood Reporter, “At a time when the graphic novel industry is walking in circles, NeoText is forging a new path, building bridges between prose, comics, and cinematic storytelling.” Monthly releases will be priced at $2.99 each.
- Roxane Gay is launching a book club and newsletter. It’s called The Audacious Book Club, which is part of a new overall endeavor called The Audacity, debuting on January 11, with new writing from Gay and essays by emerging writers.
- Leaf Mag launches in Australia to demystify the book industry. The online publication to help inform anyone seeking to enter the Australian book industry has been launched by two university students and a recent graduate. Visit Leaf Mag.
- Amazon rolls out a book club feature. If you’ve been browsing Amazon lately, you may have seen a prompt to join a book club. According to the site FAQs, the book club feature is still in its “early access” phase, which means only some customers are allowed to create a book club—but anyone can join a club. The clubs featured on the homepage (Rom-com readers unite!, Unforgettable reads) already have thousands of members. You can search clubs by location and genre.
- BookClub, a new publishing startup, raises $6 million. BookClub, a new platform that helps authors run their own online book clubs, has raised a bushel of cash to “scale” author-led book clubs. A press release claims, “The BookClub experience will be unlike anything available to authors and readers today.” BookClub founders believe the need for the platform has become more apparent during the pandemic because opportunities for authors to promote their work and meet fans at events have “disappeared.”
- Kobo Plus launches in Canada. Launched in 2017, Kobo Plus is Kobo’s all-you-can-read ebook subscription service, which until now was only available in the Netherlands and Belgium. Last week, the service finally expanded into the company’s homebase of Canada at the subscription cost of CAN$9.99 per month. Their press release notes, “Since the launch of Kobo Plus in the Netherlands, the company continues to experience double-digit year-over-year sales growth for à la carte ebooks alongside rapid subscription growth.” While the financial terms offered to traditional publishers aren’t publicly known, Kobo Plus pays self-published authors based on time read. Also, authors who participate in Kobo Plus do not have to be exclusive to the service, as they do with Kindle Unlimited.
- NetGalley launches a mobile app, adds audiobook distribution. NetGalley, the paid service used by publishers primarily to circulate advance review copies, has rolled out an app for Apple and Android. They’ve also added audiobooks to their service.
- BookFunnel adds support for audio. BookFunnel, the service used by many authors to distribute digital review copies and giveaways (as well as sell ebooks direct), can now deliver digital audio. Authors who pay for the Mid-List plan or above can get started right away. Full pricing and plans will be announced next year. Learn more.
- Penguin Random House launches a secondary education website. The resource is designed specifically for middle- and high-school educators and administrators and features downloadable teaching guides, catalogues focused on specific disciplines, a central place for teachers to build classroom libraries, and news about the latest PRH books and events. PRH already has dedicated sites for elementary school and higher education.
- Mills & Boon now offers an ebook subscription service. The romance publisher, owned by HarperCollins, is launching We Love Romance with unlimited access to thousands of titles. It is currently available only to those in the UK or Ireland and costs £7.99/month or £79.99/year. The imprint publishes 60 new titles every month.
- Diversion Publishing has launched a podcasts division. Diversion Publishing, started in 2010 by agent Scott Waxman, publishes dozens of titles per year across all formats. They’ve just announced they will serialize nonfiction books as episodic audio series, written and hosted by authors, through a partnership with iHeartRadio. Revenue from advertising and sales will go primarily to authors, according to Publishers Lunch (subscription required). Diversion sees the series as a means to sell film and TV rights, and UTA will represent those rights. Three of the announced podcast series are by Waxman’s clients; the other two are developed from books on the Diversion Publishing list. Read the press release.
- Publishers Weekly launches a trade magazine in Spanish. Publishers Weekly en Español (PWeE) is a joint partnership between US-based Publishers Weekly and Seville, Spain–based Lantia. The magazine will be published in print and digital formats every other week, with the first issue expected in advance of trade shows in Madrid and Frankfurt. The magazine will be distributed first in Spain, then later in Mexico and Central and South America. Publishers Weekly notes, “It will cover news, interviews, and pre-publication book reviews sourced from and focused on the global Spanish-language book market.” Learn more.
- A new subscription service for manga fans. With rising demand for English-language Japanese comics (and rampant piracy), a new mobile manga subscription service has been launched: Mangamo. So far, it offers access to 300 translated manga titles—which is more than any other service—from about a dozen different publishers for $4.99 per month. In Japan, more than half of manga sales are digital. Learn more from Brigid Alverson at Publishers Weekly.
- Ingram launches Bookfinity, an online book discovery website. Do you like taking quizzes—or do you trust quizzes to surface book recommendations? Then you might be interested in giving Bookfinity a spin. It’s a new effort from the world’s largest book wholesaler and distributor, Ingram, to drive book sales using algorithms and metadata. Once Ingram delivers your personalized book recommendations, you can offer feedback to the system by liking or striking selections.
- Penguin Random House partners with a comic book publisher. The audio division of PRH is now collaborating with Rebellion (a publisher of comic books, fiction, and video games) to produce science fiction audiobooks. PRH will produce and distribute audio versions of Rebellion’s latest fiction and classic graphic novels. New research from Harris Interactive Media shows science fiction as a leading audiobook genre; industry research firm Bookstat believes traditional publishers are only capturing half of the overall demand for the genre. Learn more from Chloe Maveal at The Beat.
- Bookshop, the Amazon alternative, went live in January. The goal: help support independent bookstores and the wider literary community by providing a “virtuous alternative” to Amazon. It has been astonishingly successful in its first year, earning more than $50 million.
- Workman has formed its own audiobook division. The trade publisher will be mining opportunities on its frontlist and backlist as well as considering audio-first projects. Before the digital-audiobook boom, it was typical for midsize and smaller publishers to license out audiobook rights, but Workman’s move demonstrates how growth in the category now supports in-house, dedicated staff.