Susan Jurevics will leave her position as ceo of Pottermore at the end of February, and she will not be replaced. Rather, Neil Blair will oversee the initiative, with the current leadership under Jurevics taking on responsibility for day-to-day operations. As we pointed out in November, on an operating basis Pottermore has lost close to £50 million, showing a slim overall profit primarily driven by the windfall of guaranteed royalties from Sony — which terminated their licensing deal after failing to gain traction of their own. The company did say it was “on the path to profitability” for the current fiscal year, ending in March, helped no doubt by Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and a normalized sales relationship with major ebooksellers.
Co-founder of Worthy Shorts and longtime book publishing and printing veteran Gene Schwartz, 91, died in his sleep on Monday. Schwartz’s long career included serving as a consultant to a variety of publishers and manufacturers, and he was editor at large for ForeWord Magazine for many years.
At Louise Allen-Jones Associates in the UK, Lucy Bushell has been named assistant scout. The agency has added Czarna Owca in Poland and Piratforlaget in Sweden as clients.
Sebastian Barry‘s Days Without End won the overall Costa Award. The judges called it, “A miracle of a book – both epic and intimate – that manages to create spaces for love and safety in the noise and chaos of history.” It’s his second Costa win, following The Secret Scripture in 2008.
Separately, the shortlist was announced for this year’s edition of Canada Reads.
The shortlist for Barnes & Noble’s Discover Great New Writers Award was also announced, with the winners to be named at a ceremony on March 1:
Swedish publisher Storytel continues to grow through acquisitions, buying management audiobook publisher Kontentan through their Storyside subsidiary and adding to their core streaming audiobook business. (Last year they acquired streaming service Mobifo and bought publisher Norstedts.)
The IDPF has completed its merger with the larger WC3 and no longer exists as a standalone organization. The announcement says that “an unprecedented number of organizations” (we’re not sure what the precedent would be here) that includes “most IDPF members and several large publishers who are not IDPF members…have made Royalty-Free commitments to ensure that the future of EPUB and the Open Web Platform for publishing is not patent encumbered.”
Addressing at least some concerns from those who opposed the merger, W3C said it is setting up an EPUC Community Group that “is free and open to anyone to participate,” which will “ensure EPUB’s maintenance and advance EPUB’s further adoption.” They are also forming a W3C Publishing Business Group “open to IDPF and W3C members, and other interested organizations who wish to join this group,” that will have its first meeting at the London Book Fair in March. That group “will be the focal point for the community to address new needs and requirements and serve as a forum for industry discussions.” Beyond that, they are also “planning to explore meeting the next generation of EPUB requirements in a proposed Publications Working Group.” The next EPUB Summit will take place in March in Brussels.