Review of the year: April to June

Review of the year: April to June

In the second part of our review of the year, we take a look at the big stories from April to June.

April

Hachette UK’s divisions began moving into the company’s new headquarters at Carmelite House on Victoria Embankment in London.

In another author move, Danielle Steel signed a 10-book contract with Pan Macmillan, leaving Transworld, which had published her books for 26 years.

Quercus revealed the fourth book in the late Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series would be called The Girl in the Spider’s Web. The book is authored by David Lagercrantz, and translated into English by George Goulding.

The print book market grew by 4% year-on-year over the first 12 weeks of 2015, posting its best first-quarter performance since 2012.

Supermarket Morrisons became a member of The Booksellers Association.

A survey of writers by authors Harry Bingham and Jane Friedman found that publishers need to communicate better with authors, pay them more, and utilise writers’ skills to market books. However, most writers would still choose to be published traditionally, rather than independently.

Ion Trewin, literary director of the Booker Prize Foundation, died after a cancer diagnosis. Jonathan Taylor, chair of trustees of the foundation, said Trewin would be “sadly missed not only by his many, many friends but also more widely in the literary world”. Just weeks before Martyn Goff, administrator of the Booker Prize Foundation, had died.

The London Book Fair’s new venue at Olympia got the thumbs up, although there was some dissatisfaction about the distance between the rights centre and the main hall, and the positioning of children’s publishers.

Karin Slaughter (second left, above, with, from left, HarperCollins' Brian Murray, Kate Elton and Charlie Redmayne) moved from Century to HarperCollins, which announced during the fair it was planning to ramp up its global publishing programme.

A study by Spread the Word said an “old monoculture still prevails” in publishing. 'Writing the Future: Black and Asian Writers and Publishers in the UK Market Place' said more needed to be done to diversify publishing.

All four members of staff at indie publisher Hesperus resigned from the company.

May

Gaby Wood was appointed as the new literary director of the Booker Prize Foundation, succeeding the late Ion Trewin.

A High Court order banned Hersperus from selling or distributing further copies of Jonas Jonasson’s The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared. The book was later acquired by Abacus.

Ruth Rendell died at the age of 85. Paying tribute to the author, Penguin Random House UK chair Gail Rebuck said was a “great writer, a campaigner for social justice, a proud mother and grandmother, a generous and loyal friend and probably the best-read person I have ever met”.

The European Commission announced an anti-trust competition investigation into the e-commerce sector in the European Union, as part of 16 initiatives on a digital single market.

Oneworld appointed Sarah Odedina as children’s publisher, in charge of its new YA imprint Rock the Boat. Odedina would leave the company before the year was out.

The Sunday Times relaunched its Young Writer of the Year Award, with backing from literary agency Peters Fraser & Dunlop (PFD).

The Bookseller Industry Awards crowned 21 winners, with the top accolade, Publisher of the Year, being taken by Pan Macmillan. Pictured above is Pan Macmillan m.d. Anthony Forbes Watson giving his acceptance speech.

A major shake-up was announced at Orion, following c.e.o. David Young’s decision to retire at the end of 2015. In his second promotion of the year, David Shelley was announced as the new c.e.o. of the Hachette UK division. Katie Espiner was appointed as Orion m.d., Jon Wood as publisher, and Charlie King as Little, Brown m.d. There was no role in the organisation for Orion General m.d. Lisa Milton.

The Supreme Court overturned an injunction preventing the publication of James Rhodes’ memoir Instrumental (Canongate). Jamie Byng, c.e.o. of Canongate, said the ruling was a “vindication”.

Penguin Random House UK and Amazon got into a dispute over terms, although they came to an agreement within a few weeks.

It was announced that Watermark Books in King’s Cross, London, would shut. Manager Farah Taylor was later in the year appointed as the manager of the newly opened Alef Bookstores in Baker Street, London.

June

The month began with E L James announcing a new Fifty Shades novel, Grey (Arrow), telling the story of the first book in the series from the point of view of Christian Grey. The book was released the same month.

Ali Smith won the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction with How to be Both (Hamish Hamilton), becoming the 20th recipient of the award.

Author Kamila Shamsie called for a year of publishing women to help deal with the issue of the gender imbalance in publishing.

Pilots carried out into remote e-lending from libraries found that e-books accounted for less than 5% of library loans.

Chris Riddell (above, picture: Tom Pilston) was appointed as the new Waterstones Children’s Laureate. He plans to highlight the importance of illustration and visual literacy during his two-year term.

Jim Crace won the €100,000 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award for Harvest (Picador), while the Carnegie Medal was won by Tanya Landman’s Buffalo Soldier (Walker Books) and the Kate Greenaway Award was won by William Grill for his picture book Shackleton’s Journey (Flying Eye).

Hachette UK bought business and personal development publisher Nicholas Brealey Publishing, which became an imprint of John Murray Publishing.

The UK celebrated Independent Bookshop Week with parties, awards and author visits.

See our review of January to March here.