A blog about writing and self publishing

A Big Week for Kobo, Big Changes in Publishing Leadership, and the Future of Conservative Imprints: This Week in Book News

Happy Friday everyone! It has been a very busy week here at Kobo. In case you missed it, we had two big launches this week! We introduced our newest eReader, the Kobo Nia, and we launched our subscription service, Kobo Plus, here in Canada! If you’re a KWL author who considering enrolling their books in Kobo Plus, you should check out our list of reasons why we think it’s a great idea!


Lisa Lucas has been named publisher of Pantheon and Schocken Books.

Books impresario Lisa Lucas named publisher of Pantheon and Schocken Books

Lisa Lucas didn’t want to leave her job as executive director of the National Book Foundation, which hands out the prestigious National Book Awards every year, but when the offer came to become publisher of Pantheon and Schocken Books, she simply couldn’t refuse.

Megan Dobson has been named new VP and Publisher at Zonderkidz.

New Publisher Named at Zonderkidz

Publishing veteran Megan Dobson returns to HarperCollins Christian Publishing to lead Zonderkidz as v-p and publisher, reporting to Laura Minchew, senior v-p of the children’s and gift group, the company announced Wednesday. The HCCP children’s division, which includes Zonderkidz and Tommy Nelson, is the largest faith-based children’s book imprint.

You may have noticed there have been a lot of changes in leadership in publishing as of late; will this result in a transformation of the industry’s landscape?

In Publishing, ‘Everything Is Up for Change’

A wave of deaths and retirements prompted publishers to name new leaders. Now the industry is in a rare moment of transformation that promises to influence the books put out into the world. Getting to the top in book publishing has traditionally been a plodding and prolonged climb – and once you got there, you didn’t leave.


Donald Trump Jr. has decided to self-publish his newest book, and believes he’s making a statement against the “Liberal Elite” publishing industry by doing so. This has left many conservative imprints wondering what the future will hold for them.

Donald Trump Jr. Wages a Culture War on the Publishing Industry

Those decisions have come under intense scrutiny from employees and authors and faced public pressure campaigns and boycotts. It seems, as I wrote last month, only a matter of time before the decision to publish a book from a prominent right-wing author will lead to a staff revolt, as happened when Hachette announced that it would be publishing a book by Woody Allen (and then reversed course).


Joanna Cole, the author of the beloved children’s series The Magic School Bus, has passed away at 75.

‘The Magic School Bus’ Series Author Joanna Cole Has Died

Joanna Cole, whose Magic School Bus series made science both dazzling and goofily fun for generations of children, died on July 12 at age 75. Her death was announced by her publisher, Scholastic. The cause of death was not given. She originally created The Magic School Bus in 1986 with illustrator Bruce Degen.

Noveslist Elizabeth Harrower, author of The Watch Tower, has passed away at 92.

Acclaimed novelist Elizabeth Harrower dies aged 92

Normal text size Larger text size Very large text size It was more than 40 years after she wrote it that Elizabeth Harrower, who died last week at the age of 92, allowed her fifth and final novel to be published.


Colson Whitehead has been awarded the 2020 Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction.

Colson Whitehead Awarded 2020 Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction

The annual Prize for American Fiction, one of the LoC’s most prestigious awards, honors an American literary writer whose body of work is distinguished not only for its mastery of the art but also for its originality of thought and imagination.


Masters of horror Jason Blum and Ryan Murphy are collaborating on an adaptation of Stephen King’s Mr. Harrigan’s Phone.

Blumhouse, Ryan Murphy (Scream) Team Up for Stephen King’s Mr. Harrigan’s Phone

If you aren’t already completely terrified of your phone, these guys are going to take care of that last little bit of goodwill. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Jason Blum’s prolific horror company Blumhouse and American Horror Story creator Ryan Murphy are collaborating on Netflix’s upcoming feature adaptation of Mr. Harrigan’s Phone, one of the four creepy novellas in Stephen King’s recent collection, If It Bleeds, published back in April.

Cree writer and performing artist Tomson Highway has announced he will be releasing a memoir titled Permanent Astonishment in 2022.

Tomson Highway to pay tribute to his birthplace in memoir due out in fall 2022 | CBC Books

Books Titled Permanent Astonishment, the new memoir documents the Cree writer’s life living along the Manitoba/Nunavut border. Cree writer and performing artist Tomson Highway has penned a memoir entitled Permanent Astonishment. In a news release, Permanent Astonishment is described as a celebration of Highway’s birthplace – northern Manitoba, at its shared border with Saskatchewan, the Northwest Territories and what is now Nunavut.


A collection of postcards written by L.M. Montgomery to George Boyd have been discovered and donated to PEI’s L.M. Montgomery’s Institute.

Long-lost L.M. Montgomery postcards discovered, donated back to P.E.I. | CBC News

P.E.I. writer Lucy Maud Montgomery corresponded regularly over 30 years with fellow writer George Boyd MacMillan in Scotland. Now, a collection of 70 postcards she sent him have been given to P.E.I.’s L.M. Montgomery Institute. The correspondence was previously unknown to Montgomery scholars and they consider it very important in helping to understand the enigmatic author’s life and work.

And finally, if you find yourself looking for a new quarantine activity, the internet’s greatest food history archive could use your help.

The Internet’s Greatest Archive of Food History Needs a New Curator

In 2015, New Jersey librarian Lynne Olver passed away at the age of 57 after a months-long battle with a rare form of leukemia. She left behind a husband, two children, several cats, and the internet’s largest repository of chronologized food history. The cats are taken care of, but the Food Timeline needs a steward.

Have a great weekend, everyone!


Staff Pick
Rachel, Author Engagement Intern

Con Quest! ebook by Sam Maggs – Rakuten Kobo

Read “Con Quest!” by Sam Maggs available from Rakuten Kobo. “An awesome adventure that celebrates fandom-and what could be better than that?” -Nerdist The debut novel from bestsell…

If you’re a huge nerd like me, you’re probably staring down a summer without cons and feeling pretty bummed out. And while I can’t give you a crowded convention hall filled with cosplayers, vendors, and the very distinct smell of convention hall pizza mixed with nerd musk, I can recommend this novel by Sam Maggs, which captures the magic of a comic convention within its pages. Yes, the targeted age group for Con Quest! is middle grade, but there are so many delightful pop culture references and familiar con-related emotions it’s perfect for veteran con-goers and the newest generation of nerds alike.

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