¶ An article in the email newsletter Publishers Lunch rounds up signs of book industry contraction via a lowered number of exhibitors and attendees at this year’s BookExpo America. According to the piece, organizers expect roughly 20 percent fewer exhibitors and about 15 percent fewer attendees. Among those not exhibiting, according to the piece, Tokyopop and “(a) victim of the success of Reed’s comic-cons, DC Comics is staying away, too.”
Limited to a meeting room is MacMillan — the publisher is the home of comics imprints FIrst Second and Hill & Wang and distributes Drawn & Quarterly and Papercutz — although their distribution client Bloomsbury/Walker will hold their spot on the floor. It’s unknown if the graphic novel imprints will be there. (DC could be part of the booth for their distributor, Random House, but RH has cut their space quite a bit, too.) Comic-cons are having an increasing influence on the book business, at least according to Lance Fensterman, who runs BEA, New York Anime Fest, NYCC and the upcoming C2E2:
Inspired in part by the dynamic atmosphere on the floor at the fast-growing comic cons he runs for Reed, Fensterman has been trying to “get exhibitors to think about their presence differently.” Some of the booth space not taken by exhibitors is being given over to high-profile Author Stages, one of which will host Capt. Chesley Sullenberger, and show management has encouraged publishers to create their own more dynamic in-booth events.
Developing. It is certainly a sign of the times that consumer shows like comics conventions have continued to capture the fancy of the public, while trade-only events like BEA and other book shows are languishing. The turnout of authors at BEA is always formidable, but the writers get far less media exposure at the show.
We wouldn’t take this piece as official confirmation that any of the named companies aren’t going to be at BEA, btw, so consider this developing.
¶ On his blog Kazu Kibuishi has some news and sales figures:
According to my latest royalty statement, Amulet 1 has sold 180,000 copies in its first year. While I know we can do better, and I have high hopes for what Amulet 2 will bring to the series, we seem to be off to a great start.
The Copper book and Flight 6 are pretty much wrapped up, which means Amulet 3 is now officially underway. The initial draft of the synopsis is done and I will be moving onto the thumbnails in the next few days. The story is shaping up to be really good, so I’m excited to get cranking on this book!
¶ We haven’t really mentioned the demise of the movie studio Fox Atomic here. The film press covered the shutdown of the boutique widely but didn’t ask about the studio’s comics division — a pact with BOOM! to produce 28 DAYS LATER comics was recently announced — and as readers may recall, over the last few years, we were hired by FA to freelance edit a number of graphic novels for them. As far as we know, the fate of the BOOM! deal has not been decided yet. However, the end of Fox Atomic gets a wider look in this piece in Variety, which points out that aside from Screen Gems at Sony, small, genre studios have been ditched by studios:
One by one, the six majors have divested themselves of the profitable but low-reward divisions that crank out horror, teen and urban fare. Before Atomic’s implosion, Universal Pictures was the most recent studio to get out of the dedicated genre game, selling its Rogue Pictures to Relativity Media in October for $150 million.
One longtime player in the genre world explains that the death of the studio’s genre divisions mirrors what’s happening in general in Hollywood. The conglomerate-owned majors are increasingly focusing their efforts on tentpoles and sequels.
“Fox would rather make ‘Wolverine’ than a Fox Atomic film,” the executive says. “They don’t need a $50 million earner. It’s not worth their time.”
See, it all ends up being connected.
Just for the record, it was a lot of fun while it lasted, working with FA’s R. Eric Lieb was always a joy, and we put out some books with a quality level we were very proud of so… no regrets anywhere.