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Spotlight: IBPA Member Achievements

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Several IBPA members were cited in a Publishers Weekly Small Press Spotlight story that ran in March called “Catching the Digital Wave.” The story describes how sales of e-books boosted revenue for several smaller publishing companies, including Red Wheel Weiser Conari, where e-book sales increased 160 percent in 2011, and Berrett-Koehler Publishers, where they increased by 214 percent that year.

Much of the e-book increase at Red Wheel resulted from the publisher’s effort to digitize its whole backlist. E-book editions of backlist titles contributed to the sales increase at BK too, and president Steve Piersanti told PW that he also credits the growth to simultaneous publication of new titles in print and multiple digital formats, to the publication of enhanced e-books and apps, and to BK’s network of 30-plus digital distributors.

Other IBPA members covered in PW’s story included:


C&T Publishing began creating digital books several years ago and now has about 300, plus four iPhone/Android apps and POD sales. Its digital sales increased by 24 percent in 2011. In addition, with the launch of PatternSpot.com, an online marketplace for independent designers to sell patterns as PDFs, C&T is generating more revenue from online sales.

Chelsea Green also converted its entire backlist in 2011 and saw its digital revenue climb by 79 percent. Like C&T, it is striving for more direct-to-consumer sales, which increased by 52 percent at the company between 2009 and 2011.

Fox Chapel Publishing weathered the collapse of Borders by acquiring three companies—Heliconia Press, Design Originals, and Plain White Press—that added 500 titles. Because most of the titles are full color, digital revenue has been limited to date, reported Paul McGahren, vice president of sales.

Ulysses Press was recognized for its success in identifying such subcultures as “preppers,” those preparing for the next natural disaster. Its increased online marketing is credited for growth in e-book sales, which accounted for nearly a quarter of Ulysses’ sales in 2011.

Wide Awake at the WSJ

A Sourcebooks picture book, I’m Not Tired Yet! by Marianne Richmond, was reviewed in the Wall Street Journal in March by Meghan Cox Gurdon, who regularly does a children’s book column for the paper’s weekend edition. “Boy, does [the central character] know how to jerk his mother’s chain,” she writes, describing each of the ways the boy tries to avoid bedtime. (Gurdon also writes columns for the Washington Examiner; you can reach her at mgurdon@washingtonexaminer.com.)

Stellar Notices

Sourcebooks received a starred review for the novel Driven by James Sallis in a recent issue of Publishers Weekly.

Chicago Review Press got a starred review too, this one for a new translation of the Russian sci-fi novel Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky.

Routes to Women with Dogs

Double Dove Press launched Camilla Gray-Nelson’s Lipstick and the Leash: Dog Training a Woman’s Way in March with a flurry of appearances and media that serves to remind us all of the importance of niche marketing and nonbook retailers.

Media coverage included an interview on Weekend Daybreak aired by KRON-TV in San Francisco, and feature pieces in BellaDog (St. Pete Beach, FL), Northwest Woman (Spokane, WA), Memphis (TN) Flyer, Petaluma (CA) Argus Courier, Women’s Focus (Wichita, KS), and Shoals Woman Magazine (Huntsville, AL). The online Petaluma.patch.com asked readers to submit questions for the author, and the book was mentioned on the Lexington, KY, Web site Lexington.skirt.com and picked up by Skirt affiliates on the East Coast and in Topeka, KS, and Seattle. It was also featured in Shelf Awareness.

In addition, this Double Dove book has been mentioned in such trade pubs as Pet Age; the author appeared on “Talkin’ Pets” at Talkinpets.com, and she’s spoken about how women can better train their pets at chapter meetings of the American Association of University Women, at indie bookstores, and at pet food stores—even the Three Dog Bakery in Sonoma, CA.

Stories for Scouts

Storytellers, including Scarletta Press author Pendred Noyce, are being featured by the Girl Scouts Web page The Studio (studio.girlscouts.org). Noyce, who writes the Lexicon Adventure series, was featured in March, and her titles remain in the site’s archives.

Publishers that are members of the Children’s Book Council can nominate authors and illustrators for consideration for The Studio. Rachel Hoban (rachel.hoban@cbcbooks.org), who handles programs and membership for the council, explains that the Girl Scouts and CBC work together on selection. Authors and illustrators for all age ranges and genres are welcome.

Spotlight is compiled by Linda Carlson (lindacarlson.com), who welcomes members’ news of unusual special sales, licensing deals, significant media coups, movie and television options, and other achievements at linda@ibpa-online.org.

The focus of this column is as much about how you accomplish something as what you accomplish, so specific how-to’s are important. For her other monthly articles in the Independent, Linda often emails members to ask about their experiences. To ensure you receive these messages, check that you have her email address in your address book.

Please submit your news for Spotlight in the text of your email (no attachments) and remember to include:

• your name and title

• the name of your press as it appears in the IBPA membership directory

• your email address

• URLs for the archived editions of any media stories you’re telling us about

Since information for this column is needed about eight weeks in advance of an issue’s publication date, news you submit by May 10 can be considered for the July and later issues. News that is time-sensitive should be directed to lisa@ibpa-online.org for consideration for the IBPA e-newsletter, Independent Publishing Now.

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