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Derek Jeter partners with S&S for publishing endeavour

New York Yankees superstar Derek Jeter announced Thursday that he is establishing his own publishing imprint, Jeter Publishing, with Simon & Schuster. The imprint will focus on adult non-fiction, middle-grade fiction, picture books, and more. The first books are expected to be released sometime next year.

According to ESPN, Jeter says he wants to “share people’s stories,” but the subject “doesn’t necessarily have to be baseball. It could be any walk of life I find interesting.”

From Publishers Weekly:

Jeter will work to identify and create titles for the line. Adult titles produced by Jeter Publishing will be published in conjunction with S&S’s Gallery Books imprint and children’s titles will be published in conjunction with Little Simon, Paula Wiseman Books and Simon Spotlight imprints.

Paul Crichton, S&S Children’s Publishing’s director of publicity, said that Paula Wiseman Books is already at work on “a middle grade due in spring ’14 and picture book in fall ’14.” Simon Spotlight has a book for April 2014, and there are Ready to Reads in the works.

Jeter will juggle publishing duties with his role as shortstop for the Yankees, with whom he recently signed a one-year, $12 million dollar contract despite speculation that he is nearing the end of his baseball career.


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Stephen Harper hockey book title, trailer revealed

At the start of one of the busiest seasons for CanLit in recent memory, one of the most hotly anticipated titles must be the forthcoming book on our national sports obsession, written by sitting Prime Minister (and leader of “Canada’s Founding Party”) Stephen Harper. Due to be published by Simon & Schuster Canada on Nov. 5, the book has already garnered extensive word of mouth attention  in and out of publishing circles, as much for the notoriety of its author (a lifelong hockey fan who apparently wrote the book in daily 15-minute chunks) as for its subject.

In a press release yesterday, S&S released the title of the volume – A Great Game: The Forgotten Leafs and the Rise of Professional Hockey – along with a cover image and a video trailer.

From the release:

Drawing on extensive archival records and illustrations, histories of the sport, and newspaper files, A Great Game delves into the fascinating early years of ice hockey. It tells of the hockey heroes and hard-boiled businessmen who built the game, and the rise and fall of legendary teams pursuing the Stanley Cup. With a historian’s perspective and fan’s passion, Stephen Harper presents a riveting and often-surprising portrait, capturing everything from the physical contests on the rinks to the battles behind the scenes and the changing social conventions of the twentieth century.

An article by Toronto Star political reporter Susan Delacourt indicates that the PM consulted the ethics commissioner about which publisher to sign with and what to do with royalties from the book. Proceeds from A Great Game, which will also appear in a French translation, will be donated to the Military Families Fund, which provides financial assistance to the families of Canadian soldiers and military personnel.

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Simon & Schuster cleared to publish in Canada: Updated

The Globe and Mail is reporting that the Department of Canadian Heritage has given the all-clear for multinational publisher Simon & Schuster to begin a Canadian publishing program out of its Toronto office.

The ability to publish Canadian authors domestically has long been an ambition of S&S, and rumours that a deal might be imminent were stoked late last year when the company hired Phyllis Bruce, formerly the head of a well-regarded eponymous literary imprint at HarperCollins Canada. Earlier this year, S&S signed on to publish a book about the history of hockey by Prime Minister Stephen Harper. That deal technically happened out of the company’s New York head office.

The Globe’s John Barber quotes an email from DCH spokesperson Peter Manoni, who writes, “Simon and Schuster Canada has met its obligations under the Investment Canada Act and may now launch a book publishing business in Canada…. Canada has a vibrant book industry. This shows that companies want to invest and publish in Canada’s publishing industry.”

In April of this year, DCH approved the merger of the country’s two biggest multinational branch plants, Random House and Penguin.

UPDATE: The Department of Canadian Heritage has provided Q&Q with a statement regarding the undertakings agreed to by S&S in order to pass the “net benefit” test and receive approval to publish in Canada. In an email, Manoni writes that “Simon and Schuster Canada will publish and promote Canadian authors, participate in Canadian book industry initiatives, expand its internship program with Simon-Fraser University and Humber College, as well as develop a course for future book industry leaders with Simon-Fraser University.”

UPDATE: Simon & Schuster Canada president Kevin Hanson has provided media with the following statement: “This will give Canadian authors more opportunities to be published in Canada, discovered by Canadian readers and made known abroad through Simon & Schuster’s global publishing platform. We look forward to making our own contribution to Canada’s vibrant literary scene.”

The statement also notes that “[m]ore details about Simon & Schuster Canada’s plans will be shared in the weeks to come.”


Simon & Schuster to begin library lending in New York

Simon & Schuster, the last of the Big Six multinational publishers to venture into ebook library distribution, will make its entire ebook catalogue available to libraries in New York City. A one-year trial will begin at the end of April at New York and Brooklyn public libraries and by mid-May in Queens. There’s no word on Canadian distribution yet.

S&S did not disclose details about ebook rates, though it stipulated fairly generous conditions compared to other publishers. Unlike HarperCollins, S&S won’t limit the number of times a book may be checked out. However, S&S has stipulated that titles may be checked out only one user at a time.

Unlike Penguin, which instituted a six-month lending delay after titles go on sale in stores and online, new titles will become available for purchase upon publication.

Ebook titles will be available to libraries for a one-year term. Following the lead of Penguin, the one-year expiration date is designed to mimic the shelf life of print books. Titles will also be available for purchase through libraries, presumably to patrons who don’t want to wait on the hold list until the book becomes available.

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Simon & Schuster confirmed as publisher of Stephen Harper’s hockey book

Stephen Harper holds a hockey stick from the 1907 Stanley Cup final (photo: courtesy Stephen Harper)

It’s no secret that Prime Minister Stephen Harper is an avid hockey fan, and has been diligently working on a historical examination of Canada’s national sport for years. Today it was officially revealed that Simon & Schuster will publish the PM’s untitled manuscript about the history of hockey. Publication in the U.S. and Canada is slated for November.

According to a press release issued by S&S, the book tells the “intriguing, little-known story of the origins of professional hockey, where strong personalities and philosophies battled to define not only how the game would be played on ice, but by whom.” The comprehensive book, which draws on “extensive archival records and illustrations, early hockey histories, and newspaper archives,” will examine “early quests for the Stanley Cup, the rise of professional hockey,” and – good news for beleaguered Maple Leafs fans — the “ascent of Toronto teams and players that have long been forgotten.”

The press release notes that prolific author and journalist Roy MacGregor is offering “editorial services” for the book. In January, MacGregor told the National Post the PM has not employed a ghost writer. “I can guarantee you there’s no ghost,” he said during the interview. “I’m sure it would come up. The reason it would come up is I know of his stated determination that no matter how long it took, he wanted to be the one that did it. He had research help but it was going to be him plucking away at the computer keys.”

In the press release, Harper says, “Canadians from all walks of life enjoy cheering on the great heroes of our national game, but it wasn’t always that way. The early days of professional hockey featured outsized personalities who fought pitched battles to shape the game we know and love today. Writing this book has taught me a lot about hockey and a great deal more about Canada. I hope all who read the book enjoy it as much as I enjoyed the experience of writing it.”

Kevin Hanson, president of Simon & Schuster Canada, says in the release: “Everyone knows that Canadians are zealous about our national sport, and who better to write about the history of hockey and our love of the game than Stephen Harper.”

All author royalties from the book will go to a fund administered by the Canadian Forces Personnel and Family Support Services that provides emergency financial assistance to military families.

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Hachette, Simon & Schuster, and Penguin partner to launch retail website Bookish

Three of the world’s biggest publishers have formed an Avengers-style partnership with today’s launch of Bookish, a new consumer e-commerce website.

Hachette Book Group, Simon & Schuster, and Penguin Group are behind the site, which is described in a statement as a “one-stop, comprehensive online destination designed to connect readers with books and authors.”

Run by a separate editorial team led by CEO Ardy Khazaei, Bookish offers 2 million titles (print and digital) from 19 publishers, promoted through a recommendations engine, author profiles, stories, interviews, and first-chapter previews. The site launched with original material from Elizabeth Gilbert, Michael Connolly, and the parody website The Onion. Upcoming contributors include Jamaica Kincaid, Oliver Stone, Susan Orlean, and Rachael Ray. Like its competitor GoodReads, reader reviews will be encouraged.

Consumers can purchase directly from the website, or through links to third-party affiliates, including Kobo, Amazon, and Apple’s iBookstore. According to Publishers Weekly, which provides review content for Bookish, North Carolina distribution company Baker & Taylor is handling order fulfillment and setting prices.

Bookish was announced in 2011 but faced several technical and legal delays. In 2012, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a suit against Apple and five publishers (including the Bookish partners) for allegedly conspiring to increase ebook prices.

Hachette CEO David Young told the Associated Press: “We received clearance for Bookish, but every time any of us talk about something we have to conform to the DOJ rules. We aren’t behaving any differently than we were before, we just have to make sure that formal procedures are followed, like writing up a log after any meeting.”

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Simon & Schuster launches self-publishing program

Simon & Schuster is the newest member of the big six publishers to enter the self-publishing market.

S&S has created a separate house called Archway Publishing, in partnership with Author Solutions, one of the U.S.’s largest self-publishing companies. Author Solutions will staff the operation, which will have a broad focus on fiction, non-fiction, business, and children’s books.

In a statement, S&S president and CEO Carolyn Reidy says, “Self-publishing has become a viable and popular route to publication for many authors, and increasingly a source of content for traditional publishers, including Simon & Schuster. We’re excited that we’ll be able to help more authors find their own path to publication and at the same time create a more direct connection to those self-published authors ready to make the leap to traditional publishing.”

In addition to editorial, design, and distribution services, Archway aims to differentiate itself by offering customized packages, which include access to a video department for book trailers, inclusion in wholesale catalogues, and a speaker’s bureau. According to The New York Times, the service won’t come cheap: prices range from $1,599 to $24,999.

The partnership puts S&S in close relation with rival Penguin. In July, Penguin’s parent company, Pearson, purchased Author Solutions for $116 million.





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Are HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster next to merge?

Although speculation over the name isn’t as entertaining as the Penguin Random House merger, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster are being touted as the next publishing companies to join forces.

HarperCollins owner News Corp, which had previously expressed interest in purchasing Penguin, is said to be in talks with S&S’s parent company, CBS. Although talk of a deal is still speculative, News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch is planning to spin off his publishing assets into a separate company next year.

According to the Financial Times, “Two people familiar with the situation cautioned that News Corp had expressed interest but that there had been no formal negotiations between the two companies, and another warned that a deal may not happen.”

If HarperCollins and S&S do merge, the new entity will become the world’s second-largest trade publishing company, after Penguin Random House.

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Wade Davis wins Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction

Wade Davis with the Samuel Johnson Prize judging panel (Photo: Samuel Johnson Prize 2012)

Wade Davis was awarded the £20,000 Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction for his book Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory and the Conquest of Everest (Vintage Canada) at an award ceremony in London, U.K., last night.

Into the Silence, which recounts English mountaineer George Mallory’s attempt to climb Mount Everest in the 1920s, was also shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award for English-language non-fiction, The Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction, and the Boardman Tasket Prize for Mountain Literature.

Davis is the author of 15 books, including The Serpent and the Rainbow (Simon & Schuster), an anthropological investigation of Voodoo culture’s place in Haitian history. He is currently an explorer-in-residence at the National Geographic Society in Washington, D.C.

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Simon & Schuster book jackets to feature QR codes

This fall, in an effort to boost newsletter subscriptions, Simon & Schuster will feature QR codes on the back of every new book jacket.

Scanning the code will lead consumers to an author page on S&S’s website where they are encouraged to sign up for email alerts, watch video interviews, and find out more about the author’s other works.

Tech website Mashable Business quotes Ellie Hirschhorn, executive vice president and chief digital officer at S&S:

The QR code is a way to use the distribution of our physical books as a means to build our [subscriber] database. This direct-to-consumer relationship then enables us to market future books and authors more cost-effectively.

For now, the codes will only be featured on hardcover and trade paperback books, and will be accompanied by  a URL so those without smartphones or QR code scanners can access the author’s page on the S&S website. The codes will be added to other formats later, based on their performance.

Despite the recent announcement of the idea, it has already been met with skepticism by some industry publications (including Paid Content, Mashable Business, and The Digital Reader), which say the QR code trend hasn’t fully caught on in North America, and that URLs are still the better option, as they can be accessed by all browsers.

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