Monday, July 26, 2021

Media Week (Vol 14, No.7): B&N Education Reports, Book TikTok, Teaching Reading, Must Read-TV,

Barnes & Noble Education Reports (Edgar)

Financial results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year 2021show severe impact of COVID.  Over two years revenues are down $500mm.

  • Consolidated fourth quarter sales of $222.8 million decreased 13.3% as compared to the prior year period; consolidated fiscal year sales of $1,433.9 million decreased 22.5% as compared to the prior year.
  • Consolidated fourth quarter GAAP net loss was $(44.4) million, compared to a net loss of $(40.3) million in the prior year period. Consolidated fiscal year GAAP net loss was $(131.8) million, compared to a net loss of $(38.3) million in the prior year
  • Consolidated fourth quarter non-GAAP Adjusted EBITDA loss was $(31.4) million, compared to a non-GAAP Adjusted EBITDA loss of $(20.7) million in the prior year; consolidated fiscal year non-GAAP Adjusted EBITDA loss was $(65.6) million, as compared to non-GAAP Adjusted EBITDA of $42.2 million in the prior year.
  • Consolidated fourth quarter non-GAAP Adjusted Earnings was $(32.8) million, compared to non-GAAP Adjusted Earnings of $(28.1) million in the prior year period; consolidated fiscal year non-GAAP Adjusted Earnings was $(89.0) million, compared to non-GAAP Adjusted Earnings of $(21.1) million in the prior year.
  • Total fiscal year 2021 borrowings increased by only $2.9 million to $177.6 million as compared to the prior year period, led by working capital improvements, the sale of logo and emblematic merchandise inventory to Lids, and the strategic equity investment in BNED by Fanatics and Lids. 
Operational highlights for fiscal year 2021:
  • BNC First Day® digital course delivery model year-over-year revenue increased 94%, benefiting from the accelerated move to digital courseware.
  • Reached agreements for 64 campus stores to support the BNC First Day® Complete courseware delivery program in Fall Term 2021, representing approximately 300,000 in total undergraduate enrollment; up from 12 campus stores and 43,000 in total undergraduate enrollment in Fall Term 2020.
  • Gained over 300,000 gross subscribers for the bartleby® suite of services in fiscal 2021, with DSS revenue increasing 15.7% for the same period.
  • Launched beta release of bartleby Expert Live Chat, a text-based tutoring offering that connects students to our expert network for students who have follow-up questions on a bartleby solution, need more clarity on a textbook question, or want to speak to a tutor as soon as possible.
  • Continued to attract new clients and generate new business growth, signing over $103 million in gross new business in fiscal year 2021 and expanding BNED’s footprint by 52 institutions and 31 K-12 schools.
  • Entered into a long-term strategic omni channel merchandising partnership with Fanatics and Lids (FLC), forging an alliance with the two retail and ecommerce leaders in the licensed sports and emblematic merchandise category. Significant joint go-to-market activity planned with Fanatics and Lids to attract new business through enhanced offering.

Book Tik Tok (Evening Standard)

TikTok doesn’t seem like an obvious destination for book buzz but that hasn’t stopped it from booming. The #BookTok hashtag has racked up over 5.8 billion views, and some authors have seen a tenfold increase in book sales for works that are often decades old.

Even bookstores are jumping on the trend. The Barnes & Noble website now has a “BookTok” page dedicated to the most popular books on TikTok and its American stores have introduced allocated sections displaying titles that have gone viral on the platform.

Also - The Rise of BookTok (Guardian)

Teaching Reading Right (The Economist)

The consequences of this are striking. Less than half (48%) of all American adults were proficient readers in 2017. American fourth graders (nine-to ten-year olds) rank 15th on the Progress in International Literacy Study, an international exam. And that was before covid-19 closed schools. According to UNESCO, American schools were closed either fully or partially for 56 weeks, compared with 47 in Canada and 27 in the United Kingdom and China. In theory the need to make up for lost schooling could be an opportunity to try something new. But America remains stuck in debate about teaching children to read that has been rumbling on for decades.

Wiley's "Tech-Enabled" Publishing (SiliconAngle)

“It’s been amazing to be part of education and research during this pandemic, during a time when these things have never really been more important. For a long time, we’d been building these online and computer-based education platforms and really trying to get folks to move there. And that’s been a long, long process. The pandemic has really accelerated that,” Mack stated.

Wiley has seen a profound increase in the usage of its online education platforms with the onset of the pandemic — but it has definitely not been the only one. With the number of businesses that have been given a “digitization boost” by the pandemic, maybe there’s a bit of opportunity in every tragedy after all.

Making writing more working class (The Economist)

The entire publishing industry has been colonised by the middle and upper classes. A study last year of literary types found that only 13% came from a working-class background. So Ms Carthew has launched the “Nature Writing Prize for working-class writers”, now in its second year, to “burst the stereotype of what it means to be a nature writer” and allow other species to thrive.

Emoting in the open air might seem an egalitarian pursuit. Fields are free, while pens and paper cost mere pennies. It is not so simple, says Ms Carthew. One cannot wander lonely as a cloud if one is working in a call centre, and it is easier to write about the questing vole in a plashy fen if one owns the fen. Such accusations make the publishing industry squirm: like most liberal elites, publishers are happier to be seen as liberal than elite. Steps therefore are being taken. Surveys have been conducted, working-class networks have been launched, hands have been wrung. There remains an uncomfortably large number of people in the industry called Sophie.

 The Rise of Must-Read TV (The Atlantic)

All of this has had a profound effect on the literary world. As you might expect, becoming a TV show increases a novel’s popularity enormously. Adaptations can drive book sales, as in the case of this winter’s breakout hit Bridgerton. The Regency-era bodice-ripper is not alone: A number of backlist titles, such as The Queen’s Gambit, have enjoyed a late-in-life revival thanks to Netflix’s attention.

We see evidence of the adaptation effect in other measures of literary success as well. We compiled a list of about 400 21st-century novels that met certain criteria—inclusion in top-10 best-seller lists, critics’ picks, publishers’ comp titles, and so on. Within this group, a novel that becomes a show will receive about four times as many ratings on as a novel that has never been adapted to TV or film. (Film still has a bigger effect, boosting a novel’s Goodreads ratings more than 1000 percent; TV nonetheless dramatically improves the fortunes of a novel.)

Emerging formats in Scholarly Publishing (Research Information)

Making content easily discoverable is vital to create an impact. Embracing digital transformation is key to survival in the current scenario. The publishing industry is contending with the availability of free content, declining readership, and switching to various content delivery platforms. Forward-looking organisations must embrace the digital revolution to meet changing customer needs. New and more effective content formats, like infographics and video summaries can help researchers, particularly those working in multidisciplinary fields, discover more relevant studies.



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