Awards awards awards and then more awards!
June has seen a veritable explosion of prizes beginning with Sara Baume for her story Solesearcher1 and her Davy Byrnes Short Story Award scoop on 3 June and moving into yet another win for Eimear McBride for her novel A Girl is a Half-formed Thing which won the £10,000 2014 Desmond Elliott Prize, adding to her Baileys Women’s Prize a few weeks ago and the Irish-infused literary recognition didn’t end there. John Banville also joined the green literary cavalcade as he received not only the prestigious Prince of Asturias Award for Literature for his outstanding contribution to universal literature but he was also named a chevalier in the French “Ordre des Arts et Lettres” by Jean-Pierre Thébault, France’s ambassador to Ireland, during a ceremony at the embassy recently. We also had the much-coveted IMPAC Dublin Literary Award which went to Colombian author Juan Gabriel Vasquéz for his novel The Sound of Things Falling.
Local News: Eason Paycut Upheld , PI Seminar Series Continues and Survey Ready to Launch
It was with great sadness that we learned this week of Aosdána poet and novelist Dermot Healy’s death at age 66. Healy’s death coincides this month with another loss as Mary Webb, Editorial Director at the O’Brien Press also died after a long illness. Both Healy and Webb will be sadly missed and our condolences go out to their family at this time.
It seems that in the bookselling world the woes of Easons is set to continue with the decision of the Labour Relations Commisssion (LRC) to uphold recommendations that pay cuts for Eason’s 800 staff should go ahead though said cuts should remain in place only until April 30th, 2016 when workers’ current rates of pay will be restored unconditionally. In more trade news Publishing Ireland were delighted to announce this week that an industry survey had been commissioned for its members in association with leading market research company Ipsos MRBI. Having not been in a position to conduct such a survey since 2009 it is hoped that the data gathered from this project will provide our members with crucial information as to the landscape of the Irish publishing market today.
International News: Google -v- Norway, Germany -V- Amazon and Amazon -v- Publishing?
Lots of Scuffles this month between the larger online players and publishers, beginning with Norway’s refusal to use Google’s Play service. Its three biggest publishers: Aschehoug, Gyldendal and Cappelen Damm rejected the service because of Google’s terms to begin with, which would keep over 50% of the profits (as opposed to Apple’s 30%) and the fact that Google will not work with Google the book database company Bokbasen making it potentially costly and time-consuming for would-be publishing participants (via http://www.thebookseller.com/news/norwegian-publishers-say-no-google.html).
Norway’s online problems are but the tip of the international iceberg however, as Amazon has once again found itself in the middle of a rather unpleasant confrontation not only with the Hachette group (having removed its pre-order buttons from Hachette’s titles, including JK Rowling’s The Silkworm) but also with a large section of the publishing industry as a whole as the online e-tailer has pushed its demands even further by pushing for improved contractual terms with publishers in the UK (via http://www.thebookseller.com/news/amazon-pressing-new-terms-uk.html). This has of course re-ignited the Amazon-v- publishers debate not only in Europe (the Federation of European Publishers are preparing a survey to gauge the impact of Amazon on European publishers) but worldwide as an ‘Amazon-Hachette crisis’ panel was organised this week on 1 July by William Morris Endeavour partner Tina Bennett in New York. With both sides voicing their side of the disagreements more readily than at the beginning of the dispute there can only be further unravellings as authors and publishers continue to amass in the face of the Amazon giant. See our Publisher Blogspot below for some excellent summaries and analysis of the crisis.
Launches and Other Happenings
Lots of titles propelled themselves into readership this month beginning with Liberties Press and Malcolm Orange Disappears by Jan Carson which was launched by poet Sinéad Morrissey in the Ulster Hall in Belfast, followed by Irish Academic Press‘ launch in the Royal Irish Academy of Bryce Evans & Stephen Kelly’s Frank Aiken:Nationalist and Internationalist. We also had Patricia Ahern’s The Loneliest Boy in the World and His Memoirs, published by The Collins Press launched in An Seomra Caidrimh, O’Rahilly Building, UCC and Here Are The Young Men by Rob Doyle, published by Lilliput Press and launched by Peter Murphy at the Workman’s Club. These are but a selection of some amazing titles launched this month. For more details on these events- be sure to sign up to our twice-weekly newsletter! June also saw the always lively Independent Booksellers Week which kicked off with a rather nice donation by author James Patterson of £250,000 to Bookshops in the UK & Ireland to mark the occasion!
The Publishers’ Blogspot
Long Live Indie Publishers: Lovely piece by Vanessa O’Loughlin in this week’s Publishing Perspectives on Irish Independent publishing
How much money do the big five really make? Taken from Publishers’ Lunch, this graph charts out the real from the myth. See the The PM 5-Publisher Index: Sales and Operating Earnings, 2006 – 2013
Do Indie Bookshops Really Matter? The Gutter Bookshop’s : Bob Johnson on the importance of the humble indie bookshop ahead of Independent Booksellers Week 2014 takes place from the 28 June until 5 July
Assisted Suicide for Publishers: Amazon Ups the Ante : Nice piece here on Amazon’s escalating of the industry’s travails in the Guardian:
New York Debates Amazon on a scale of 1-5: Read all about the ‘crisis’ panel organised this week on 1 July by William Morris Endeavour partner Tina Bennett in New York on the danger levels of Amazon