Harcourt reports that Laurie Brown has been hired as SVP, Director of Trade Sales and Marketing for Adult and Juvenile Publishing. She formerly held that position at FSG. Lori Benton rejoins Harcourt as VP Publisher of Children’s Books, replacing Louise Pelan, who has taken early retirement. She comes from Holt, where she was Associate Publisher and Director of Marketing for Children’s Books. She will work out of the New York office. Robin Cruise, formerly Executive Managing Editor in San Diego, has also been named Deputy Publisher. Dave Nelson, Director of Trade Sales, will be leaving the company.
As reported elsewhere, an interim triumvirate of Janet Silver, VP, Associate Pub. and EIC of Adult Trade; Children’s Publisher Andrea Davis Pinkey; and Marge Berube, VP Dir. of Dictionary Publishing, will divide the duties handled by Wendy Strothman, who is stepping down as Houghton Mifflin’s EVP of the Trade and Reference Division. Though HM Pres. and CEO Nader Darehshori had been slated to retire in June, and his name is no longer listed on Hoover’s, his presence is still very apparent. Meanwhile, Exec. Editor Pat Strachan is leaving Houghton. She is reachable at (212) 924-4885.
While Picador celebrates its thirtieth anniversary in the UK, Peter Straus has suddenly decamped after twelve years to join the literary agency Rogers, Coleridge & White as a director of the firm. . . . Karen Krieger has been named VP Custom Publishing at Creative Publishing. She was formerly Marketing Director for the Thorsons and Elements imprint of HarperCollins UK (which is distributed in the US by NBN). She will be involved in strategy for the custom publishing division, as well as having P&L responsibility for the group and for sales, marketing, and business development.
Sales people are on the move: Susan Naythons has been named EVP Director of Sales, PGW reporting to Kevan Lyon; she was most recently at Harper San Francisco. (She is the third leg of the new EVP triumvirate that will run PGW in a post-Charlie Winton world that includes Mark Ouimet for Marketing and Chris McKenney for Operations.) . . . Linda Stormes has been named Sales Manager at Joost Elfers Publishing, which launches this fall
. . . . Rob Shaeffer, VP Sales, is leaving DAP to rejoin Chronicle Books, as its New York rep.
Bill Boedeker has been named VP, Director of Marketing for the Children’s group at Little, Brown, reporting to David Ford. LB Children’s has recently moved its offices to New York. In other children’s book news, Allison Devlin has left HarperCollins Children’s, where she was Executive Director of Publicity.
Adrian Webster has been named MD of Rodale Books International. He was previously consulting for the company. . . . Jonathan Nowell was promoted to Group Managing director VNU Entertainment Media, overseeing among other properties Nielsen BookScan, the new name of the firm that tracks retail book sales. It continues to be managed in the US by Jim King, VP of Sales and Service, and globally as a single unit under the control of UK-based Richard Knight, Executive Director. Nielsen BookScan reports it has access to retail data from between 65% and 70% of the US market, 85% of the UK market, and 75% of the Australian market.
Rob McMahon joined Putnam as a Senior Editor. He was at Warner for seven years. And Ryan Harbage, who left Little, Brown, joins Plume as an Associate Editor. . . . Christopher Sweet has gone to Abrams as a Senior Editor. He was most recently at Viking Studio.
A major minuet is under way at university presses, with one position recently filled (Peter Webber has been named Syracuse U.P.’s Director), and several more in the process of searching for new Directors. Yale U. Press, MIT Press, U. California Press, Nebraska, and Wayne State are some of the university presses with openings at the top.
After coming on as a consultant two months ago, Robert Riger has been named Associate Publisher of SparkNotes in charge of marketing and sales for print and online, and reporting to Dan Weiss, Publisher. SparkNotes was sold to Barnes & Noble last year. . . . Exley is closing its doors — literally — and all US operations will be consolidated in its warehouse outside Boston. Randy Kaye, its VP Sales, will continue with the company. He is based in New York and is the only remaining NYC employee.
Two big shows at the Javits Center this month: The Licensing Show takes over the convention center June 11-13. The Licensing Letter’s Martin Brochstein tells us to “watch for an accent on entertainment franchises, as Hollywood tries to keep leveraging familiar characters and story lines, as well as a continued expansion of licensing based on corporate brands.” Meanwhile, according to the Letter, publishing’s sales of licensed product declined last year over 2000’s sales, to $850 million, but virtually every category showed a similar or greater decline. Direct Marketing Days arrives June 17-19, a month later than usual, but with a full roster of speakers, from Rudy Giuliani (touted as “America’s Mayor”) to the Postmaster General, as well as speakers from Bookspan, AOL, Yahoo! etc. For those looking to market direct to customers, this provides a useful overview.
May started off with a burst of BEA activity, and continued unabated until Memorial Day.
• Esquire hosted a post-BEA party on May 5 to celebrate the publication of Esquire’s Big Book of Fiction, edited by Adrienne Miller. Joe and Liz Bianco, “longtime supporters of independent publishing,” co-hosted the event with Context Books’ Beau Friedlander, in what our correspondent tells us was an art-filled apartment in the Village. On May 7 Esther Margolis hosted her annual party for Jerusalem Book Fair editorial fellow alumni and friends, and honored Zev Birger, the Chair and MD of the Fair. Supporters included Jane Friedman, Peter Mayer, and numerous editors, agents, and scouts. Applications for the 10th class of JBIF Editorial Fellows — and the second class of “JBIF Agent Fellows” — will be solicited in September.
• The following week was Barney Rosset’s 80th bday and on hand were Sue Mingus (widow of Charlie), Kent Carroll (formerly Carroll and Graf), Edward de Grazia, who fought all Rosset’s censorship cases, Matt Dillon, Marty Garbus, and Rosset’s children including the aptly named Beckett and several former wives. Meanwhile Rosset declined to sign the Random House boilerplate for his autobiography, so the contract with Broadway was never signed and the book will now be published by Algonquin. Gene Brissie put the deal together working with lawyer Robert Solomon.
• On May 21, there were parties of all sizes around town. Miranda and George deKay hosted a farewell party for Linda Pennell, departing Director of Sub Rights at Random House. Every rights person worth his or her salt — including Penguin’s Hal Fessenden, who co-hosted the party, Houghton’s Debbie Engel, and Little, Brown’s Jean Griffin — attended the party, though some did so briefly and in their fancy dress, en route to the UJA dinner for Jane Friedman. The gala attracted over 800 ticket buyers, and raised a record $1.3 million.
To Lucinda Karter, Director of the French Publishers’ Agency, and her husband Tim Bent, a Senior Editor at St. Martin’s by day and a translator in his off hours, who were both made Chevalier des Arts et Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture at BookExpo. Bent’s most recent published translation is Amélie Nothomb’s The Character of Rain.
To Kimberly Witherspoon and Paul Pasquantonio, proud parents of Summer Marie Pasquantonio, born May 24, 2002.
Publishing guru Len Shatzkin died on Saturday, May 11, at the age of 82. As Bookselling This Week’s David Grogan wrote, “Shatzkin’s life was one of many remarkable achievements, throughout which his original, innovative, and oftentimes controversial ideas spurred many to think about the business of book publishing in new and better ways.” Amen.
A memorial for Gwenda David, longtime scout for Viking and Book-of-the-Month Club, and who died in March of this year, is being organized by Kathryn Court. It will take place on June 19th at Penguin Books, 80 Strand, London WC2 from 6-8 pm.