Book News Roundup: Sasquatch sighted in Publishers Weekly

As Seattle independent publisher Sasquatch Books enters 2016—its 30th year—the company points to breakout hits such as The 52 Lists Project and A Boat, a Whale, and a Walrus as keys to its recent success. Known for its list of nonfiction books, Northwest regional titles, and guidebook series, Sasquatch has branched out into a variety of subjects, including cooking, lifestyle, and children’s books. It launched its children’s imprint, Little Bigfoot, in 2014 and has already built a list of about 60 titles. Little Bigfoot sales grew 13% in 2015, driven by backlist sales, while Little Kunoichi, the Ninja Girl was a strong frontlist seller.

Across languages, female authors make up 26.6% of all fiction translations and 29.6% of all poetry translations published between 2008 and 2014 in the US. That means for every book in translation by a woman that makes it onto the bookshelves, there are about three books by men. The numbers for Arabic translations are slightly worse: according to ArabLit’s worldwide count, women-authored works accounted for 22.7% of all the Arabic literature in translation published in 2010, and just 17% in 2014, for example.

Publishing’s gender disparity becomes even starker at the prize level. Women in Translation has tracked women’s low representation in literary translation prizes across languages. When it comes to Arabic translation prize-winners, low representation in publishing turns to no representation in awards.

  • Bloomberg Business published an interesting story about the aftermath of yesterday’s Supreme Court refusal to hear the Amazon/Apple e-book case, which “centered on whether publishers or online retailers would determine the prices for e-books.” Did Apple and publishers destroy the e-book market by fighting against Amazon’s proposed standard $10 pricetag for e-books?
There’s a widespread assumption that digital media always wins out over physical media. But even the Internet isn’t immune to the basic laws of economics. E-book sales declined 12.3 percent over the first 10 months of 2015, compared with the previous year, according to the American Association of Publishers, which compiles data from 1,200 companies.
  • USA Today talked with tech analyst Rob Enderle about the purpose of Amazon’s Amazon Books store. In the article, Enderle confirms what most of us have been saying for a while: books are a part of Amazon’s lifestyle brand, but they’re probably not the main reason for the stores:

    "The books are just window dressing," he said.

    Amazon's using them to create a comfortable space for people to come in and get acquainted with its electronics offerings, he said.

  • In celebrity news, Amy Schumer's book, The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, will be published on August 16th. Schumer claims via Instagram that this makes her the "First woman to write a book." I can't wait to read this one.

  • Science fiction author Charles Stross has compiled a very long and very entertaining list of all the many space opera clichés. Hopefully, Stross is at work on a space opera that will avoid every single one of these dozens of traps.