On the Books: Publishing industry lacks diversity, female executives | EW.com

Books | Shelf Life

On the Books: Publishing industry lacks diversity, female executives


Image Credit: Jason Doiy/Getty Images

An annual Publishers Weekly survey of industry employees found that 89 percent of respondents identified as white/caucasian, while 61 percent believe that there is little diversity in publishing. The study found that respondents recognize the direct impact of this racial discrepancy on the industry, agreeing that “[t]he dearth of minority employees directly affects the types of books that are published,” and that to resolve the issue, “there need to be more advocates for books involving people of color throughout the business.”

The survey also re-confirmed the perennial pay gap between men and women in publishing houses, a staggering $25,000 difference— even though women comprise 74 percent of the workforce. Part of this gap is due to unequal pay for similar titles, while part is explained by men’s dominance in higher-salaried management and executive positions.

Amazon has a new e-book venture in the works, a crowdsourcing-inspired publishing platform that will allow authors to submit works for review and possible publication by the online giant. In an email to authors that are part of the company’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) initiative, obtained by The Digital Reader, Amazon describes the new program as “reader-powered,” and specifically outlined by “transparent fixed contract terms”— perhaps a preemptive assurance to authors that the platform won’t be plagued by the same contract-negotiation problems as those it has faced with Hachette this year. [Publishers Weekly]

The mother of one of the infamous Columbine High School shooters, Dylan Klebold, has sold her memoir about the 1999 tragedy and its aftermath to Crown Publishers. 15 years after the event, Susan Klebold hopes to help other parents with mentally ill or violent children by telling the story of how “she and her family have tried to understand the events of that terrible day and the role they ultimately played in it,” reports Crown. Klebold and plans to donate her profits from the untitled book to mental health research and nonprofit work—a reaction to the recent resurgence in school shootings, according to Crown. [Publishers Weekly]

Penguin Random House is eyeing a first-look deal with Universal Pictures focused on adapting more of its book titles to the big screen. PRH would serve as a producer of the films, which it pledges to translate “as faithfully as possible.” The February release of PRH title Fifty Shades of Grey, the E.L. James trilogy, has generated buzz within the books’ fandom and the movie business; The Angelina Jolie directed adaption of PRH’s Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand comes out on Christmas Day. [Publishers Weekly]

Stage actor-turned-author J. California Cooper died on Saturday in Seattle at the age 0f 82. The prolific playwright and short story writer was best known for her American Book Award-winning Homemade Love and her Black Playwright award-winning 1978 play, Strangers. Acclaimed writer Alice Walker mentored Cooper personally and professionally in the beginning of her fiction career. [NPR]

The founder of Hippocrene Books, George Blagowidow, died on Sept. 18 at the age of 90. After starting the publishing house in New York City in 1970, Blagowidow—who lived through the Nazi occupation of Poland in World War II—wrote three books, including a novel about the Nazi occupation of Germany. Today, Hippocrene is known mostly for its translations and foreign-language dictionaries. “With all his brilliance he was intensely human,” said friend and colleague Jacek Galazka in Hippocrene’s announcement. “No one was like him.” [Publishers Weekly]