Publishing News: Issue 21
Jacaranda Books to Partner with Hachette UK
By Lucy Downer
Hachette UK has announced a partnership with independent publisher Jacaranda Books. The announcement comes following the fifth anniversary of Hachette’s ‘Changing the Story’ programme, aimed at improving diversity and inclusion within the industry.
Announcing the news on their LinkedIn page, Hachette UK stated, “we’re proud to announce a new partnership with Jacaranda Books based on our shared values of improving representation and inclusion in publishing.”
Jacaranda Books is an award-winning independent publisher founded in 2011 that aims to create a space for new ideas and writers. It is widely hailed as having one of the most diverse publishing lists in the UK. It was awarded Small Press of the Year at the British Book Awards and shortlisted for the Inclusion Award at the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Industry Awards 2020.
One of Jacaranda’s pioneering publishing achievements was the #Twentyin2020 series, which saw it become the first ever UK publishing house to publish twenty books by Black British writers in a year. The list itself is home to critically acclaimed works such as LOTE by Shola von Reinhold and Are We Home Yet? by Katy Massey.
The partnership is the first of its kind for Hachette. In their statement on LinkedIn they announced that they “hope it will become a blueprint for how large and small publishers can work together to reach more readers.”
Hachette UK will provide sales and distribution support to Jacaranda, by helping to expand the reach of its titles. Jacaranda will also be working closely with Hachette UK’s Quercus division, as Quercus now sells foreign rights to the indie’s list.
Valerie Brandes, CEO and Founder at Jacaranda Books, stated of the partnership: “We’re hugely excited to be embarking on this new chapter for Jacaranda Books. These are extraordinary times; there have been many challenges and there have also been stories of survival and resilience that have offered inspiration and hope.”
“As we look forward to our society opening up again, we see relationships reuniting and some forging anew. It is with this spirit of collaboration and connection that we enter into this partnership with Hachette UK for a multi-year deal spanning sales and distribution.”
This pioneering new partnership is one of the first of its kind in the UK between a long-standing global publishing house and a recently founded independent publisher. The hope is that this partnership will pave the way for a more collaborative approach between large publishing houses and indies in the future.
Book Fairies: How Are They Helping Debut Authors?
By Katie Gough
I do believe in fairies, I do, I do! Luckily, there is no need for pixie dust, repetitive chants or clapping to keep these fairies alive. Since March 2017, Book Fairies have been a group of 9,000 people sharing books in over one hundred countries. Book Fairies share their beloved books with people by adding a Book Fairy sticker on the cover and then leaving it in a hiding spot, to be found by a book-lover.
#LWBookFairies has been their biggest campaign to date, recruiting none other than Emma Watson, who portrayed Meg March in the 2019 adaptation of Little Women. In the effort to hide 2,000 copies of the novel, 122 editions were hidden in celebration of the film. Each had a unique, handwritten note that shares Watson’s enjoyment of being in the film and the hopes that the finder will enjoy the book.
Chief book fairy Cordelia Oxley, was delighted by the reaction in the UK. Books have covered Oxford, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Bradford, Plymouth, Bangor (Northern Ireland), Royal Tunbridge Wells and Leeds. They have also spread as far afield as US states, New York and California and even across the continents of Germany, Australia, Hong Kong and South Africa.
Since then, 250,000 books have been distributed and the hashtag #IBelieveInBookFairies has been used over 90,000 times. The organisation has most recently taken to helping debut authors, by hiding 500 books in public spaces over the weekend of 10 April. Working with publishers such as Merky Books (William Heinemann imprint), Harper Collins, Headline and Little Tiger, fairies will distribute titles under their campaign #DebutBookFairies.
This debut authors campaign amassed over 638 posts, with Emma Gannon’s Olive seeing a lot of publicity upon of its release. On Instagram, Georgette Benjamin shared the tale of their work at Bristol Farms: “That famous #BristolFarms chocolate chip cookie was calling my name and lo and behold what should capture my eye, right next to the bakery... an #OliveBar so it was kismet, my last Book Fairy drop of the day was left where all could see.”
The Little Library in the Hedge (@thelittlelibraryinthehedge) has also been a sought-out spot for fairies from Book Fairies Glasgow (@bookfairies_glasgow), with a copy of How to Be a Hero by Cat Weldon. All the way across the Atlantic, Elise Esteves (@ms.pricklepants) hid their copy of Lost in Paris by Elizabeth Thompson on the Santa Monica pier. The official Book Fairies accounts can be found at @bookfairiesworldwide on Instagram and @the_bookfairies on Twitter. So, where will you hide yours?
Bookshop.org Set to Offset all UK Book Retailers’ Delivery Emissions This Earth Day
By Carmel Jordan
Bookshop.org marked Earth Day on 22 April by offsetting the carbon emissions of all home deliveries of books across the UK for one day, including those of rival sites.
The online bookshop – which supports local, independent bookstores – pledged to buy the offsets of every UK delivery of books, including those made by booksellers not currently on the Bookshop.org site. The independent online bookshop hopes that by offsetting not just their own carbon footprint, but that of others, they will inspire more book retailers into environmental action.
The Carbon Cost of Book Transportation
The move also highlighted the impact books and the wider publishing industry have on carbon emissions. This comes not only from the way books are produced, using sustainable paper, but also, as Bookshop.org states, through the transportation of books. Through Twitter, Mark Thornton, Bookshop Partnership Manager for Bookshop.org, expressed that, “carbon offsetting is not a panacea but it is a powerful signal, it’s tangible action and it’s a start. Looking forward to kicking on from here in terms of sustainability.”
Recently, Bookshop.org also achieved a carbon neutral certification, certifying that every single book delivery made through Bookshop.org in the UK is now carbon neutral. This also comes at no extra cost to customers or booksellers.
Bookshop.org Supports Sustainability Projects
Bookshop.org is also taking action to become a sustainable book retailer by supporting projects including British Woodland Creation, which supports tree planting projects in Northern England and Scotland, and the Burgos Wind Project in the Philippines. Bookshop.org is surely paving the way. In recent years there have been many initiatives – mainly by book publishers – to move towards sustainable raw materials with the combination of print on demand technology. However, the transportation and delivery of books is still eating into the book industry’s carbon footprint.
In an interview with The Bookseller, James Poynter, director at Carbon Neutral Britain, said: “Carbon Neutral Britain is proud to be partners with Bookshop UK, to help identify and offset their environmental impact for 2021 and beyond.”
He added: “Carbon offsetting is a simple and affordable way to reverse your impact on climate change for emissions that cannot be removed completely – and in the case of Bookshop UK and online retailers, deliveries contribute a significant amount to their total carbon footprint.”
Committing to offset all book retailers’ delivery emissions is an incredible feat by Bookshop.org. We hope that this inspires others in the book industry to do the same, not just on Earth Day, but permanently.
Facebook Announces New Publishing Platform
By Molly Anna Chell
It was announced last month that social media giant, Facebook, has plans to launch a new platform for writers to share their content, offering ways for them to earn money from their work through subscriptions. Initially to be rolled out in the US, it will include several different features to aid writers, such as a discoverability tool that will assist users with finding new content. Writers signing up to the platform will also have the option of creating websites and newsletters through a free self-publishing tool.
As well as writers, the new platform is also intended to provide a place where journalists can grow their following. In a blog post, Campbell Brown, Facebook’s Vice President of global news partnerships and Anthea Watson Strong, Product Manager for News, said: “A large part of this initiative is aimed at supporting independent local journalists who are often the lone voice covering a given community.” The information that has been released about the new platform so far suggests that it is primarily aimed at journalists, but it will be interesting to see how indie authors adapt to the platform and take advantage of its features.
Facebook is already an important tool for many self-published and indie authors and this new initiative may help them to grow their followers and sales. It is unlikely that Facebook’s new venture will pose a serious threat to the dominance enjoyed by Amazon in the self-publishing sphere, but it marks an interesting moment. The increasing involvement of social media companies in publishing poses an important question. With Facebook offering access to thousands of potential readers, will more writers choose alternative ways to have their content published? It is too early to assess the impact of the new platform on the industry, but if these plans go ahead, it will increase the range of options open to writers and help them take more control of their work.