From Publishers Weekly…
It was one of the most sensational crimes—and most scandalous wrongful convictions—of the 20th century, a case that would be known as the Scottish Dreyfus affair. It involved a savage murder, stolen jewels, an international manhunt and a wily maidservant who went to her grave knowing far more about the killing than she would ever disclose.
Even more remarkably, it involved the world’s foremost writer of detective fiction, playing real-life detective on a case in which the stakes could scarcely be higher—a case, he wrote, that was a “disgraceful frame-up, in which stupidity and dishonesty played and equal part.”
Just before Christmas 1908, Marion Gilchrist, a wealthy 82-year-old Scotswoman, was violently murdered in her Glasgow home. Robbery appeared to have been the motive, although Miss Gilchrist’s maid, Helen Lambie, told the police that only a single item was missing: a valuable gold brooch, shaped like a crescent moon and set along its length with diamonds.
Audiobooks continued their meteoric rise in 2017, a new report issued by the Audio Publishers Association found, with another year of double-digit growth for both audiobook sales and title output.
Total sales rose 22.7% in 2017, to an estimated $2.5 billion, over an estimated $2.1 billion in sales in 2016. Unit sales rose an estimated 21.5%, the APA reported. Sales are based on reports from about 20 audiobook publishers. The APA then extrapolates from those figures, to derive an estimate for the entire market.
The audience for audiobooks remains young, with 54% of audiobook listeners under the age of 45. They are also consistent readers in all formats, the studies found: not only do audiobook listeners listen to an average of 15 books a year, but 83% of frequent listeners also read a hardcover or paperback over the last 12 months, and 79% also read an e-book.
Total sales at Barnes & Noble fell 6.0% in the fiscal year ended April 28, 2018, compared to fiscal 2017, and the retailer posted a net loss of $125.5 million last year, compared to net income of $22.0 million in fiscal 2017. Revenue last year was $3.66 billion, down from $3.89 billion in fiscal 2017.
The net loss includes a host of one-time charges: impairment charges of $135.4 million, $16.2 million of severance charges, and $15.3 million of strategic initiative costs. Excluding one-time charges in both fiscal years, EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) was $145.4 million in fiscal 2018, down from $187.2 million a year ago.
Beginning today, Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant users in the U.S.and Canada will be able to download a free “Stephen King Library” onto their smart speaker platforms, Simon & Schuster has announced. The library will recommend King books tailored to users’ reading tastes from a selection of 56 books by King.
S&S is billing the “Stephen King Library” as perhaps “the first voice-activated book recommendation tool dedicated to an author’s body of work from a major publisher.” The library was jointly produced by King’s longtime publisher Scribner, S&S, and Simon & Schuster Audio, and was developed by Skilled Creative.
“Simon & Schuster intends to be at the forefront of utilizing voice interaction technology to connect books and authors to readers and audiobook listeners,” S&S executive v-p and chief marketing officer Liz Perl said in a statement. “Using A.I. through Stephen King Library is a fun and innovative experience for exploring this master storyteller’s work.”
With the forthcoming release of its new operating system for phones and tablets, iOS 12, Apple is signaling a new emphasis on digital book and audiobook sales. The new operating system, set to hit in the fall, will replace Apple’s long-serving iBooks app with a new Apple Books app.
The new e-book app will, according to Apple, offer an enhanced reading experience and will make book discovery easier. Editorial, in particularly, will be front and center and more visible in the app.
A new set of tabs at the top of the app will create what the company is touting as a “virtual nightstand,” and highlights the current book you are reading, as well as those books you want to read. The new book store tab will offer a selection of bestsellers and staff picks, as well as books on sale and those offered for free. Apple’s editorial staff will curate collections of titles. Perhaps of more importance, will the introduction of audiobook sales directly in the app;.