There’s much happening at 375 Hudson Street: Danny Gurr has resigned as CEO of DK’s US operations, as a result of the following organizational changes effective immediately: The US editorial department will report primarily to DK UK Publisher Christopher Davis. Sales and Marketing will report through Dick Heffernan, President, Director of Sales, Adult Hardcover and Children’s Books, at Penguin Putnam Inc. Skip Fisher will continue as Chief Operating Officer of DK US, reporting primarily to David Shanks. His secondary reporting line is to Anthony Forbes Watson, CEO of The Penguin Group [UK].
As reported elsewhere, Louise Burke leaves NAL for Pocket as Mass Market Publisher (with Judith Curr moving within the Adult Trade Group to launch a hardcover line, PB Press), while HarperCollins’ Adrian Zackheim moves to Viking to launch a business book imprint. (He and Bill Shinker both start on Sept. 4th, as does Lauren Marino, who is leaving Broadway to follow Shinker as Executive Editor.) And Leslie Gelbman has been promoted to the newly created position of President of Mass Market Paperbacks, responsible for all aspects of the mass-market publishing programs for NAL and Berkley, including hardcover. She will report to David Shanks. Finally, Julie Shiroishi has been promoted to Director of Advertising and Promotion at Viking and Penguin, while Gretchen Koss has been promoted to Director of Publicity for Viking Studio. She will continue to work on Viking and Penguin titles in her new position.
Lisa Kitei has left Cahners, where she was SVP Communications. She is one of 200+ people who have been laid off from the company since the beginning of the year. She may be reached at Ljkitei@aol.com.
Randy Kaye has been named VP Director of Sales for Exley Gift Books (USA). He was National Accounts Manager for Random House Value Publishing. . . . Ronni Stolzenberg has been named Associate Director of Marketing for the American Museum of Natural History. . . . Natalie Chapman has gone to Creative Homeowner to “expand and diversify” its list. She was most recently at Discovery Books. . . . Alice Baker, formerly of S&S and Rebus, has been named Director of Specialty Retail for the von Holtzbrinck group of companies, reporting to Judy Sisko. . . . Meanwhile, Manie Barron, Publishing Manager at HC’s Amistad imprint, has joined William Morris. . . . Paul Schnee has been named Senior Editor at ReganBooks/HarperCollins. He was formerly at Contentville.
As reported elsewhere, Julie Burns has been named President of Ingram Book Company. She had been President of Ingram Periodicals. She succeeds Jim Chandler, who continues as Chief Commercial Officer.
More movement in children’s books: Vivian Antonangeli resigned from Penguin Putnam, where she had been President and Publisher of Grosset. Deborah Dorfman from Scholastic is taking over the position. Margaret Anastas, Editorial Director, has also left Grosset (as have two others) and has gone to HarperCollins Children’s Books. And, Daisy Kline has been named Retail Marketing Director for HCCB. She hails from Random House. . . . Jeff Conrad has left Millbrook, where he was President and CEO. His position will not be filled; Jean Reynolds, SVP, Publisher, Dave Allen, COO and CFO, and Dick McCullough, VP of Sales and Marketing, will assume his responsibilities. Howard Graham continues as Chairman. . . . Angus Killick has been named Director, Global Marketing, for Disney Publishing, reporting to Jeanne Mosure. He was previously VP Director of Marketing at PP for Young Readers. . . . And Christine Longmuir is joining Harcourt Children’s Books as Director of Marketing. She was at Ten Speed Press’s Tricycle Line.
Doubleday has signed a two-book deal with Pete Dexter. ICM’s Esther Newburg agented. . . . Robin Straus has sold Jim Villas’s memoir, an inside look at the food world, to Susan Wyler at Wiley. And Harvard Common Press has just signed up his new book, The Biscuit Bible (to follow Crazy for Casseroles, which he is completing now) to Pam Honig, his longtime editor. . . . At press time, word is that the auction has concluded on Bill McKibbin’s book on the perils of genetic engineering. Gloria Loomis is the agent and the price is in the mid six figs. No word yet as to the winner.
Changes in the generally stable von Holtzbrinck stable: WH Freeman has been closed, with all 7 editors terminated. The books will now be published by Holt, most in the Times Books imprint, under David Sobel. . . .
• On a brighter note, Priddy & Biddle, St. Martin’s first serious, albeit quiet, foray into the world of children’s book publishing, will ship their first titles in July. The idea took serious form in the minds of two DK-trained executives, John Sargent, CEO von Holtzbrinck US, and Steve Cohen, newly promoted COO of SMP, and now President of this new imprint. When Pearson acquired Dorling Kindersley and began a series of UK layoffs (see “People” section), it hired six former DK staffers in the UK, headed by Richard Priddy, design, and Joanna Bicknell, sales and business management. The open design photographic baby board books and toddler activity titles (ranging from $4.95 to $9.95) will be recognizable to many, and the line is aimed initially at the merchandise corner of the market, with books being offered non-returnable but at a generous discount. Although the group is based in the UK, the primary market is — and the books must work in — the US. Co-editions with Macmillan UK and sister publishing arms including Australia and South Africa, as well as Holtzbrinck in Germany, will be offered and encouraged, but participation is apparently not mandatory. Rights will be available to all in the rest of the world, with P&B operating somewhat as an independent packager. Jeanette Mall, also a former DKer (US) is coordinating editorial efforts in the US. Each title on this list will have a first printing in the 100,000-copy range, with about nine series in the first catalog.
• Comment made by Tuttle’s VP Sales and Marketing, on the industry’s current spate of high returns: “That’s what they’re using print-on-demand technology for: They’re printing returns.”
• It’s hard to imagine you haven’t gotten an invitation to AAP’s “Introduction to Publishing” seminar on Oct. 1 & 2 in New York (we got 8 of them — two for each “department” in our corporate offices, including Finance) but if you haven’t and are interested, call Aimee Catalano at 212 255-0200 ext. 262.
Jacqueline Susann would have loved the party — but maybe not the music? In any event, the DKNY store on Madison and 60th was crammed full of beautiful people to celebrate the publication of Rae Lawrence’s sequel to Valley of the Dolls, based on a written draft worked on for many months by the diva herself (she died of cancer in 1974). Co-hosts Crown and Interview staff members were joined by the likes of celebs Rona Jaffe (who is the one who REALLY started it all), Sopranos’ star Jason Cerbone, veteran baseball player Keith Hernandez, as well as the book’s original editor Ann Patty.
• Fledgling publisher Red Rock Press, owned and operated by Ilene and Richard Barth, celebrated the publication of the latest, Sloth (fourth in the “Sin Series”), with a party for author Dale (“On the seventh day God rested, he did not play squash” to NYT’s Clyde Haberman) Burg, featuring, natch, pigs in a blanket and sloe (get it?) Gin fizz. Following Gluttony, Lust, and Greed, the next title is Envy, Anger & Sweet Revenge: Hey, it Works in Hollywood by Stephen M. Silverman.
• And Michael Cader’s take on the most recent publisherslunch.com Live Lunch, held on June 20 and devoted to the ineffables of the Random/Rosetta and Wind Done Gone court cases: “Everyone left the event more confused than when they came, and with a greater sense of the nuance and complexity of both of the cases at issue. Even the lawyers speaking both acknowledged the reasonableness and sound argument of the opposition. . . .”