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Sourcebooks NEXT.

Sourcebooks Next Blog

We’re at a historic point in the transformation the book.

Ebooks, reading devices, retailers and e-tailers, software and apps, and all the cool things we haven’t even imagined yet are changing the face of reading, entertainment and learning. Sourcebooks Next is our blog looking not from the perspective of pundit or prognosticator, but from the perspective of a publisher deeply engaged in the workings of the transformation. Please feel free to join us.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016


Back in July, we launched a really exciting joint program with Wattpad, the world’s largest community of readers and writers. The program, ‘submit2sourcebooks’, was inspired by some of the terrific authors that we publish who came from the Wattpad platform like Natasha Preston (natashapreston), Ali Novak (fallzswimmer), Estelle Maskame (EstelleMaskame), and Kara Terzis (Kara_writes).

The Cellar by Natasha Preston from Wattpad Heartbreakers by Ali Novak from Wattpad Did I Mention I Love You by Estelle Maskame from Wattpad Frayed by Kara Terzis from Wattpad

The idea is to give aspiring authors another way to connect with us, beyond the traditional submissions process. Now, a writer can just add the tag submit2sourcebooks to their story on Wattpad and our editors will take a look. It lets writers circumvent the usual process of query letters, and also lets us see how readers are responding to and interacting with the story. We get a sneak peek at how readers will respond to a story, which is really useful data.

And now we are excited to share that we’ve acquired our first romance project through Wattpad! It’s a light paranormal romance series titled the Undead Dating Service, by Juliet Lyons (julietlyons). It’s described as “Bridget Jones’s Diary…with vampires, a fresh concept, a touch of suspense, and a whole lot of snark.” We can’t wait to bring it to readers! 

This is just one of the many projects we hope to acquire through the ongoing partnership. The Undead Dating Service series will begin releasing in spring 2017. Head over to Wattpad and search submit2sourcebooks to check out some other fantastic submissions! We can’t wait to hear what you think! 


Thursday, March 17, 2016

 The Havana Book Fair

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of joining a group of American book professionals (booksellers, publishers, distributors) visiting the Havana Book Fair in Cuba as part of the first US Publishing Mission (created by PublishersWeekly, the Combined Book Exhibit and PubMatch).

 The Havana Book Fair is a giant open-air book festival that takes place annually in the Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabana. There is music everywhere! Publishers exhibit in old prison cells (now turned into booths); authors launch new books and give talks to crowds of readers. It is a once-a-year opportunity to see the entire publishing market of Cuba in one place.

"Many families only buy books once a year," says Zuleica Romay Guerra, President of the Book Institute of the Cuban Ministry of Culture. "You see families saving for months to go to the book fair and buy as many books as they can." (from Calvin Reid’s During Panels, Realities of Cuban Publishing Market Laid Bare)

Havana Book Fair in Cuba   The booths at the Havana Book Fair


The Conference Itself

The Directory for the US Mission at the Havana Book FairCuba is a country with a 97% literacy rate but only 5% internet connectivity. The professionals we spoke with immediately identified the opportunity that digital presents, both in the Cuban publishing industry and in bringing Cuban works to the broader global community.

"Digital...all this market will have a very promising future in Cuba. Hold a dialogue with the world on the basis of new realities.”

—Edel Morales Fuentes, Book Institute of Cuba

Their vision, and their commitment to it, is truly inspiring. As I told Porter Anderson and Publishing Perspectives, what I saw in Cuba was a highly literate people ready to have a deep conversation with which I think we should engage.


The Cuban Book Business

The Cuban book business, being largely run and subsidized by the government, is extremely different from our own industry. A few examples (at least as I understood them):

  •       The whole business is run through government subsidies
  •       Every year, each publisher gives the government the publishing plan
  •       The government pays for printing and runs the printing presses
  •       The government pays the royalties to the authors, the government pays the employees
  •       Distribution is based on population, so each region obtains their population ratio of the distribution of a new title
  •       Books are typically only printed in paperback
  •       A book typically costs less than a dollar
  •  Some numbers as supplied by the Instituto Cubano del Libro:

  •       11.3 million people in Cuba
  •       313 bookstores (mostly used)
  •       300 public libraries
  •       170 publishers
  •  This is an industry undergoing major change right now, and they recognize that it will likely take a generation to turn over to a different business model, but they are excited about the future.

    “I know you will take this work seriously. And I can promise you that we will also be serious about it.”

    — Zuleica Romay Guerra, Book Institute of Cuba


    Literacy + Digital + Cuba

    One of the challenges in Cuba is the availability and the cost of books. Fuentes says that while about 70% of Cubans are used to reading digitally, there is a shortage of digital reading devices available in Cuba. As their connectivity improves in the coming months and years, it will mean greater access to ebooks and digital reading.

    "We have started but not as fast as our readers. Readers are actually ahead of us. It is one of our challenges."

    Zuleica Romay Guerra, Book Institute of Cuba

    As part of the final panel of the conference, we talked about what the digital transformation has looked like in the U.S. and what that has meant for our industry. In my presentation at the book fair, I highlighted that what is particularly relevant for the Cuban industry right now are what I called the 5 major outcomes of ebooks:

    1.     The Self-Publishing Boom
    2.     Lots more content = the challenge of discovery
    3.     Development of mobile
    4.     The global opportunity
    5.     The development of new business models

     One of the things I highlighted in my talk (as I have in other talks elsewhere) was the persistence and importance of print. As we know, in the US, we are part of an additive transformation, with ebooks and physical books co-existing in the ecosystem rather than ebooks replacing physical books. We also know that different categories of books behave differently with respect to ebooks. And that in our market, the ebooks revolution was driven by women who are also the key purchasers of books in Cuba. I covered a lot of these points as part of the final panel of the conference. 

    I’ve posted the full presentation to Slideshare.

     For more about this Cuban book journey, please see:


    The Cuban Book Embargo Petition

    This morning President Obama is in Cuba. Over the weekend The New York Times had a fascinating photo-essay which may give you a sense of Cuba today.

    Publishers Weekly and many in the book publishing industry (including Sourcebooks) have urged an end to the Cuban book embargo. You can read about that in the Publishing Perspectives article on the background of the petition, and the content of the petition itself which was started by Publishers Weekly.


    One Last Word

    I was surprised by how much Cuba touched me—the people, the culture, the sense of change (both the excitement and the fear). I’ll leave you with my favorite picture of Cuba, which I took on the very first day.



    P.S. A huge thank you to Cevin, Jon, Janet, and the many new friends we made in Cuba!

    My favorite photo of Cuba. It is impossible to take a bad picture here!

    Monday, February 22, 2016


    Readers, you have made your voices heard by nominating your very favorite bookstore. With over 13,000 votes, there was so much support for your favorite bookstores. The votes have been counted, so please join us in saying a big “Congratulations!” to Anderson’s Bookshop (Naperville, IL) as being the most voted for store! (Anderson’s Bookshop is our longest running bookstore partner, but we swear this is all on the up-and-up, we’re not playing favorites.)


    Andersons Bookshop in Naperville IL

    We are also so excited to congratulate our two second-prize winners: Page and Palette (Fairhope, AL) and Brilliant Books (Traverse City, MI).

              Page and Palette     Brilliant Books

    Anderson’s will receive a $3,000 grant and Page and Palette and Brilliant Books will receive a $637 grant each (the population of Broken Wheel, IA).

    Publisher’s Weekly announced the winners this morning, including Anderson’s plans for the grant! And Shelf Awareness (Anderson’s Picked as Readers Favorite Bookstore) told us about the matching grant that Brilliant Books is creating for seven Michigan school libraries – fantastic!

    Bookstores make such a difference in our lives and we couldn’t be happier to present grants to all three stores. Thank you so much to everyone who voted, the support and love for your bookstores is heartwarming. We think that Sara and all of Broken Wheel, IA would approve.




    Brought to you by The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend, #1 Indie Next Pick, ABA National Bestseller, New York Times and International Bestseller

    Your favorite bookstores all around the country are loving The Readers Of Broken Wheel Recommend. Here are a few pictures of how they’re showing their love!

    Anderson's Showcases Broken Wheel in Each of it's Stores


    The Learned Owl went all out with the decor


    Village Lights and Bookstore Plus Showing off Broken Wheel


    Books and lovely teas, what could be better!

    Eagle Harbor Book Company in Bainbridge Island, WA recently posted this fun photo to their blog and let's not forget our incredible partners Team Broken Wheel at Boswell Books in Milwaukee, WI!

    Wednesday, February 17, 2016

    If you want a whirlwind of a life, then I recommend working as a salesperson for a book publisher’s gift division. Not only is it an amazing job, but twice a year, we have gift show season. For six to eight weeks in January/February and June to August, every customer you might want to see goes to all of the major gift shows to see what’s new—which means you get to spend six to eight weeks traveling around the country, showing off all the great books and gift products they’ll love.

    Such was my life for the past three weeks, attending as many gift shows as I could and meeting as many customers and readers as possible! 

    First stop:

     GiftShow1 Atlanta

    Atlanta boasts the largest gift show and gift mart in the country.  If you are a gift customer or a supplier and you aren’t there, you are missing out. Trust me when I say I was there (Tuesday through Sunday)!

    Featured in the RPM Gifts and Greetings Showroom, my reps and I met with hundreds of people and talked books, wrote orders, and discussed future opportunities and titles.

     RPM Floor Awesome display on the RPM showroom floor

    But Atlanta wasn’t the only show on my list.  So giddy up, cowboys, because my next stop was…

     Welcome to Dallas!

    Where hospitality was high…

     A warm welcome

    And everyone was wearing cowboy hats.

     GiftShow6 HeidiHat

    Including the dinosaurs!

     GiftShow7 Dinosaur

    I spent two days with our reps, daniel*richards.

     GiftShow8 danielr

    I was able to work with new customers and get everyone excited about all of our new titles, include our new series, Love Is All Around, and our Keep Calm and Color On coloring books.

     The Show Floor

    But Dallas was left in the dust as I slid into Las Vegas…

     Welcome to Las Vegas!

    …and touched base at the Sports Licensing and Tailgate Show

     GiftShow11 Sports

    This was a new show for my coworker, Peter Vanaria, and me, where we launched our new line of MLB activity books to a new type of customer—sporting goods stores!

    But while in Vegas, I made sure to visit our rep group California Marketing Association at one of the fast-growing gift marts, the Las Vegas Market.

     Las Vegas Market

    There, the customers streamed through all the way until the end of the show. (The East Coast blizzard caused many customers to arrive later than expected, but they made the most of it.) Everyone excitedly perused our latest line of calendars (I am a cat lady; of course I’m going to show everyone our Call Me Cat Lady wall calendar) and our wide variety of gift and children’s titles.

     Lovely in Las Vegas

    Overall, these three weeks have been fantastic. All the customers, new contacts, new trends, ideas, and places have really geared me up for a fantastic 2016…though, I think first…a nap...

     A little catnap...

    Liz Otte

    National Accounts Manager—Gift and Regional


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