Bloomsbury Publishing has launched a brand new imprint called Bloomsbury Spark. The imprint will be for Young Adult novels and will be one of the first imprints in publishing to publish ebooks only. The first set of digital books will be released in September 2013.
According to the article in The Bookseller, Bloomsbury Children’s head Emma Hopkin said:
“We’ve seen a great increase in our digital sales in both the US and UK, in particular for YA titles, and we realised there was no YA-dedicated digital list, and Bloomsbury can offer local marketing around the globe for these titles.”
Bloomsbury has offices all over the world. Most notably in New York, New Delhi, Sydney and of course, London. By having such a vast presence in some of the world’s biggest cities for publishing, it will be interesting to launch the imprint and see where it is most successful. It is thought that the imprint will aim to publish 40 titles per year once the imprint is launched this autumn. With bestselling YA novels such as Twilight and The Hunger Games having been released by Atom and Scholastic, in the past, it shows that there is a massive potential success for the imprint when it launches.
Little, Brown already has an ebook only imprint, Blackfriars. With new electronic devices being launched and the potential of smartphone technology, digital will continue to rise. I think the main question is, which publishing houses will follow suit, next? Although Little, Brown and Bloomsbury appear to be some of the first publishers to adopt digital imprints; academic publishers such as Cambridge University Press and their Cambridge Books Online – a digital ebook platform which was launched in 2010 – show that are also adapting to the digital world.
Does this pose a danger to print books? Personally, I don’t think so. I don’t think that the public have fully embraced digital just yet. It’s all still quite a new concept and there are still issues with pricing, as well as a danger of the market being too saturated with products for people, publishers and other companies, to have fully taken everything digital on board. People still like the comfort and beauty of having a physical book in their hands.
Having recently attended a book talk in which Audrey Niffenegger talked about her new book, Raven Girl, (more on that, later!) I had the amazing opportunity of getting my copy of Raven Girl and The Time Traveler’s Wife signed. How would authors sign a digital copy of a book? There are still small matters such as this which prevent the book dying out completely. (Ok, so this obviously wouldn’t be one of the only reasons why print books wouldn’t die out, but it is definitely something to consider!)
Moreover, another recent article by The Bookseller where print sales hit a 2013 high, shows that print is doing better than ever. The article mentions that in the week leading up to 9th March 2013, £25.2 million was spent on print books and was up from 1.2% the same week, last year (figures from Nielsen BookScan). So, after look at this evidence I think it’s safe to say that print books are here to stay. It must also be noted that the future is extremely exciting and unpredictable for publishers, regarding digital. It will be interesting to see the success of Bloomsbury’s new digital imprint, and whether the venture will encourage other publishers to do the same in the future.