Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue

11/20/2012

HarperCollins Publishers + Simon & Schuster = Publishing Intrigue Squared


Publishing Mergers = Publishing Intrigue

News Corp, owned by good old baddy Rupert Murdoch — AND just coming off a scandal in Jolly Old England (remember his News of the World tabloid having to go out of business due to its illegal spying and wiretapping?) just happens to be the parent to HarperCollins, the suiter for Simon & Schuster — Hell, this might be publishing intrigue cubed !

What all this means is a great deal of intrigue is present and accounted for in the traditional publishing world’s positioning itself as best it can to defuse Amazon’s growing digital publishing threat.

This by CHRISTOPHER S. STEWART and JOHN JANNARONE in The Wall Street Journal (also owned by baddy Rupert):

News Corp. Eyes Book Publisher

News Corp NWSA +0.17%., owner of HarperCollins Publishers, has expressed interest to CBS Corp. CBS +0.84%about acquiring its Simon & Schuster book business, according to people familiar with the talks.

The people described the discussions as preliminary and cautioned that a deal isn’t imminent. News Corp. owns Dow Jones & Co., which publishes The Wall Street Journal.

The conversations come about a month after the owners of two publishing rivals, Random House and Penguin Group, agreed to merge their books businesses into a publishing powerhouse.

News Corp. made a last-minute expression of interest in buying Pearson PSON.LN +0.42%PLC’s Penguin but never made a formal offer. Instead, Penguin agreed to combine with Bertelsmann SE & Co.’s Random House.

For book publishing, an industry dominated by a half-dozen big companies, consolidation is viewed in part as a way to weather the transition to digital media. Combining forces can allow publishers to gain more heft in negotiating terms with retailers, including Amazon.com Inc., industry executives say.

Simon & Schuster, which was founded in 1924 and publishes about 2,000 titles annually, had $1.6 billion in revenue and $90 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization in 2011, according to CBS regulatory filings.

News Corp. is in the process of splitting into two listed companies, one containing its entertainment assets, such as the 20th Century Fox film studio and Fox News cable channel, and the other housing publishing assets, including Dow Jones and HarperCollins.

While HarperCollins is relatively small to News Corp. in the media giant’s current form, it could account for more than a fifth of the new publishing company’s roughly $500 million of operating income for the fiscal year ending in June 2013, according to Michael Nathanson of Nomura Securities.

The new publishing company is expected to have a significant amount of cash on its balance sheet, potentially to be used for acquisitions. One motivation for the split is the flexibility to pursue the purchase of old-media companies that may have turned off current News Corp. investors, according to a person familiar with the company’s strategy.

News Corp. recently has shown an appetite in other sectors as it prepares for the split, which is expected to be completed by next June. On Tuesday the company said it had agreed to buy a 49% stake in New York regional sports network YES.

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10/11/2012

What is a Global Publishing System ?


Harper Collins is going to implement such a grand system — and goes into the generalities in the following reference — BUT, the details that would tell us just how this system would deliver the touted results are conspicuously absent, as far as I am concerned.

You tell me.

You know, sometimes I feel the older I get the dumber I get — That’s why I need things explained to me like in the ‘Blah Blah For Dummies’ series 🙂  

Excerpt: “It is our responsibility to provide our authors with the broadest possible reach through our global print and digital publishing platforms, regardless of where their books originate and what format they take,” said Larry Nevins, Executive Vice-President, Operations. 

This offered in Publishers Weekly:

Harper To Implement Global Publishing System

Harper Collins is to roll out a new global publishing system, which it claims is “one of the largest undertakings of its kind to be implemented by a trade publisher.”

Developed in partnership with Publishing Technology and built on its advance platform, Global Product Manager will enable the unifying of editorial, marketing and business data around the world, widening the reach of HC’s print and digital publications in its core target markets. By integrating systems and assets across the globe, the new system will provide the company with the long-term infrastructure needed to maximize its extensive catalogue of books, ebooks and apps, empowering HC staff to explore current and future content delivery types and business models, while enabling better metadata management to improve discoverability.

The system will be rolled out first in the US, followed by the UK and subsequently Canada and Australia, as well as to the Christian Publishing Division through 2013.

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03/14/2011

Limiting E-Book Circulation – A Librarians point of View


Harper Collins  has initiated limited access licenses to e-content for library circulation purposes. A new model meant to retain old print and ink attritions renewal profits. Appears publishers are having a hard time giving up an old print profit process that is simply no longer required in the new “E” world…I guess you can’t blame them.

Christopher Platt, director of collections and circulation operations at the New York Public Library, has some trade-offs from the library’s viewpoint that make a lot of sense and should make the adjustment to library ebook circulation much smoother.

Christopher Platt writing in Publishers Weekly:

The Happy Reader Equation: A Librarian on HarperCollins’s E-Book Pricing Model

HarperCollins generated a lot of controversy and debate with its new pricing model for e-books capping usage. In this week’s issue of PW, Connecticut librarian Kate Sheehan weighs in on the issue, and in PW Daily today we offer another piece by NYPL’s Christopher Platt, who takes a slighter different tack.

Recently, Harper Collins announced a new pricing model for e-books that caps usage, after which it would require a library relicense the title again for another set of uses. They further clarified that by mimicking the hardcover-to-paperback replacement purchase model, the price of the title would come down as it ages.

 

It has been a momentous few years for publishers and libraries. The economic downturn hit publishers hard, forcing cost-cutting, downsizing, and a review of business models. During all of this, the rapid advance of e-reading became the bright spot on publishers’ balance sheets, and now they are focusing intensely on ways to provide interesting content, engage new readers, and generate revenue in that arena.
 
Libraries were hit hard too, many of us enduring major fiscal challenges that strained our resources in the face of skyrocketing use. Libraries have downsized, cut back spending and services, and in some cases even closed during a time when their communities needed them the most. For many librarians, the announcement of e-book use limits from a major publisher must have felt like yet another in a long line of punches to the gut. 
HarperCollins is a publisher that has worked hard to build up a great track record supporting libraries, and I know they are a team of dedicated individuals who recognize the value we bring to the table. They, like many of us, are tasked with the difficult job of revising long-held models to stay profitable and relevant. As content and demand have grown in the e-book retail market, publishers have been revising e-book pricing models, and it’s no surprise they are now looking at the library market. I know the other trade houses are watching with great interest, and I applaud HarperCollins for being courageous enough to make the first move. This call for understanding is directed to all trade publishers and my respected library colleagues.
 
Librarians: public libraries are valued institutions. Remember that we are just one portion of the formula that gets titles to readers, and the only step that is not-for-profit:
Author + Publisher + Wholesaler + Library = Happy Reader

 

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01/19/2010

HarperCollins & Apple Talking E-books for Tablet

Filed under: Apple,e-books,HarperCollins,multi-media devices,Tablet PC — gator1965 @ 3:05 pm

More intrigue and drama in the publishing world! The much anticipated “Tablet” from Apple may debut with one more asset it seems: The ability to read books and newspapers! Soooo, one multi-media device for watching movies & TV, playing games, surfing the internet AND NOW to read e-books and newspapers… Hummmm, sounds pretty interesting…

From the online newspaper The Business Standard :

Publishing giant HarperCollins is in talks with Apple Inc to make electronic books available for the IT major’s new tablet PC– expected to be launched later this month, a media report says.

Attributing to people familiar with the situation, The Wall Street Journal said, “HarperCollins Publishers is negotiating with Apple Inc to make electronic books available for the introduction of a new tablet device from Apple.”

The tablet, which is expected to be unveiled later this month, is likely to be a multimedia device that would let people watch movies and television shows, play games, surf the Internet and read electronic books and newspapers.

The report stated that HarperCollins is expected to set the prices of the e-books, which would have added features, with Apple taking a percentage of sales, but details have not been spelt out as yet.

However, it is not known yet whether Apple would sell the HarperCollins titles via a new e-book store or through its existing iTunes Store, which sells music, TV shows and movies.

The WSJ report cited people familiar with the matter as saying that other publishers have also met Apple officials.

Yesterday, Apple invited the media to a San Francisco event to be held on January 27 at which it is expected to unveil its tablet PC.

In December, HarperCollins Chief Executive Brian Murray had said e-books enhanced with video, author interviews and social-networking applications could command higher retail prices for publishers than current e-books.

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