Publishing Industry News: Aug. 30 – Sept. 6, 2019

Curious about what’s happening in the world of books and publishing? Catch up on the biggest acquisitions, news, adaptations and more here!

• Mark Gottlieb at Trident Media sealed a six-figure deal for City of Dragons, a new graphic-novel series by Jaimal Yogis and illustrated by Vivian Truong, with David Saylor. It’s a “fantastical coming-of-age adventure that proves monster-size problems can be solved if you have friendship, courage and compassion.”

• A group of textbook authors has filed a class-action lawsuit against Cengage, alleging the company’s shift to digital formats cheats authors out of proper royalty sales through digital products and that Cengage has “stopped paying plaintiffs’ royalties” on net receipts from sales set forth in their contracts. A similar lawsuit was filed against Cengage in May 2018.

• Bookstore sales finished the first half of 2019 down 5.1 percent compared to the first six months of 2018, according to preliminary estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau. Sales in the January-through-June period this year were $4.59 billion, down from $4.84 billion a year ago.

• Although Doubleday has embargoed the book, independent booksellers are starting to make plans for the release of Margaret Atwood’s highly anticipated follow-up to The Handmaid’s Tale. The testaments will be released Sept. 10. Doubleday has set a 500,000-copy first printing for the novel.

• More than 160 independent bookstores celebrated the first Bookstore Romance Day on Aug. 17 with author events, book clubs and panel discussions. The event’s founders hope to make it an annual celebration that continues to combat a stigma about romance books.

• The St. Petersburg, Russia-based social-media platform VK – among the most popular social networks for Russian speakers – is expected to add audiobooks to its service in cooperation with some of the market’s publishing houses. At its release, the offering is expected to have 10,000 or more titles available.

• Following the death of Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison, sales for her books have seen a sharp increase. As a result, her publisher will print 225,000 new copies of her books.

• Wattpad continues to grow its lists of partnerships by collaborating with Asian-based content provider Viu, which will start producing original series for its Viu Original branding based on content from the Wattpad platform.

• Regan Arts has reappeared after a year and a half with a controversial, new acquired book. The company signed a deal with disgraced author and journalist Mark Halperin. Those in the publishing industry are curious to see how this plays out and whether Regan Arts will be back in business.

• From the mind of Stan Lee comes his last work. Originally released as an audiobook, A Trick of Light will be released in September as a hardcover book with more exclusive content. Lee, the mind behind the Marvel universe, died in November 2018.

• Novelists Melissa Rivero, Eugenia Kim and Angie Kim have been named finalists for the second annual Institute for Immigration Research New American Voices Award.