The book business looks ready to mark a second consecutive year of unit growth in print books. Unit sales of print books were up 2.8% through the week ended December 20, 2015 compared to the same period in 2014 at outlets that report to Nielsen BookScan with just under 626 million unit sold. The gain in 2015 follows a 2.4% increase in unit sales in 2014. For the most recent week, unit sales rose 2.1% over the similar week last year, with just under 31 million units sold.
In a recent filing with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC), UPS charged that the U.S. Postal Service unfairly used its government-backed monopoly position on mail delivery to undercut private-market competitors – like UPS and FedEx – by charging artificially low shipping prices to expand its market share in parcel delivery. “In turn, the larger market share enables the utility to better leverage economies of scale and scope, increasing its scale and further harming its now handicapped rivals,” UPS said in its filing. The PRC, which granted a price reduction request to the USPS in 2014, in November approved a rate plan with an average increase in shipping costs of 9.5% or about $5.50, effective Jan. 17. The popular Priority Mail service, which guarantees three-day delivery for items weighing less than 70 pounds, will increase by an average of 9.8%, between $6.80 and $18.75 depending on the size of the box. Priority Mail Express, which guarantees overnight delivery seven days per week, will increase 15.6%.
Last week, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a statement clarifying its policy on native advertising, particularly those advertisements it defines as "deceptively formatted" to mislead consumers. Publishers have increasingly come to rely on native advertising—that is, advertisements designed to look and feel similar to a platform's editorial content—as a source of revenue as audiences continue to adopt ad-blocking and other behaviors aimed at achieving an ad-limited experience. "People browsing the web, using social media, or watching videos have a right to know if they're seeing editorial content or an ad," said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, in a statement.
Generally overlooked by the world of fashion, portly men now have a sartorial resource all their own -- at least in Japan. Mr. Babe, which bills itself as the country’s first fashion and lifestyle title “by chubby men, for chubby men,” hit the newsstands back in October with a cover price of $5.50 and a mission of helping a growing (get it?) cohort of Japanese men find clothes that not only look good but actually fit. The magazine’s debut issue featured style-savvy American comedian Jack Black on the cover. Its graphic style will be familiar to anyone who has perused edgy Asian magazines targeting niche audiences, with lots of white space offsetting “can’t miss it” blocks of text, and English words and phrases sprinkled occasionally throughout. Content covers not only fashion and grooming but lifestyle topics like romance and health.
Huhtamäki Oyj's subsidiary has entered into an agreement to acquire FIOMO, a.s., a privately owned manufacturer of flexible packaging foils and labels in the Czech Republic. With the acquisition Huhtamaki expands its flexible packaging manufacturing footprint to Eastern Europe and is able to offer agile high quality off-set printing capabilities for smaller production runs for its customers in Europe.