Book View, July 2003

PEOPLE


Rich Freese has been named President of Publishers Group West, reporting to Kevan Lyon, EVP for Distribution and Publishing Services at AMS. Freese, who will relocate to the San Francisco area, succeeds Charlie Winton, founder and former President and CEO of PGW, and now Group Chairman and CEO of Avalon Publishing. Another publisher on the move is Karen Kreiger, Rich Freese’s wife and currently VP Custom Publishing and International Sales of Creative Publishing. She may be reached at [email protected]. Meanwhile, earlier in the month Winton announced that Neil Ortenberg had been named EVP, responsible for the New York publishers and reporting to Susan Reich. Avalon also announced that Herman Graf, Publisher of Carroll & Graf, would assume the role of Editor-at-Large and that Will Balliett would succeed him as Publisher, reporting to Ortenberg.

Martin Levin is moving to The Van Tulleken Company as a partner, and will be working on transactions. He tells Publishing Trends that he will continue to “maintain a relationship” with his old law firm, Cowan, Liebowitz & Latman. The firm recently announced the addition of Jeremy Nussbaum, formerly a partner at Kay & Boose.

Courtney Muller has resigned as Executive Director of New York Is Book Country, to return to her former employer, Reed Exhibitions as Divisional Vice President. She will continue to consult with the staff and board through the 25th anniversary events in the Fall. A successor will be named shortly.

Howard Weill, formerly SVP Deputy Publisher at Random House, is consulting full time for Bookspan, overseeing Current Member Marketing. As reported elsewhere, Victoria Skurnick was named Editor-in-Chief, BOMC, continuing to report to Larry Shapiro, who is now VP, Editorial Director. Kathy Kiernan, Editor-in-Chief of Book Development, will now report to Brigitte Weeks, VP and newly named Editorial Director overseeing Crossings, Science Fiction Book Club, Black Expressions, and Outdoorsmen’s Edge. Sharon Fantera and Patricia Gift have also been named Editorial Directors. And congrats to Mary Idoni, known to many as the guardian of the manuscript department, who celebrates fifty years at the clubs this summer.

Meanwhile, back at RH HQ: Barbara Marks is leaving Crown to start her own pr/marketing company. She has been with the company for 22 years. As of late July she may been reached at (203) 571-8103 or via email at [email protected]. . . Linda Kaplan has just gone to Crown as group Subrights Director. She was most recently at Hyperion. . . And Larry Weissman has left Random, where he worked for Richard Sarnoff investing in companies like Xlibris and Audible.com. He may be reached at larryweissman@ earthlink.net. . . No word yet on a replacement for Christine McNamara, who moved from Publisher of Random Audio to VP, Director of Sales for Random House Information Group, Adult Audio, Value, and Large Print divisions. . . In the latest RH sales reorg, Madeline McIntosh and Joan DeMayo head up the new Adult and Children’s sales forces, respectively.

Angela Baggetta has joined Goldberg McDuffie as Publicity Manager. She was previously at Basic Books and had been Publicity Director at Doubleday’s religious line. . . As reported elsewhere Emily Loose has joined The Penguin Press as Senior Editor. She was previously at Cambridge U.P. She reports to Ann Godoff. And Bernadette Malone goes to Penguin to head up the new conservative line, under Adrian Zackheim. She was previously at Regnery.

Jonathan Weiss, VP Business Development, is leaving Oxford U.P. in August. . . Editor Andrea Heyde and Senior Editor Katie Hall have both left Harcourt. (Heyde after one year, Hall three months.) In a reorganization of the sales deparment, Chris Barnard, VP Director of Sales, has left PGW. She may be reached at [email protected]. . . Maron Waxman has retired from the American Museum of Natural History, spurred on by AMNH’s layoff of as many as 60 people. The Publications department has been closed down.

Chris North will move from his position as General Manager of electronic publishing at Harper to the newly created job of COO at HarperCollins Canada, reporting to David Kent. . . For anyone not in the extensive address book of HC’s just retired Larry Ashmead, he may be reached at [email protected].

DULY NOTED


Words Without Borders, the “Online Magazine for International Literature,” has launched its new site. Though it’s not all in place yet, check it out at www.wordswithoutborders.org.

And another good site for publicizing independent literary publishing is Literary Landscape at www.literarylandscape.com.

• Broadway’s Charlie Conrad tells PT that Invisible Eden: the story of the Christa Worthington Cape Cod murder “has taken off like a rocket: on sale Tuesday and already seven printings for a total of 51,000 in print. It’s really great that a literary author like Maria Flook is succeeding like this.” Seven printings?

A recent article in the Chronicle of Higher Education entitled “Selling Out: a Textbook Example” opens with the following: “James Williams received his letter last fall. ‘Dear Professor,’ it began. The form letter went on to offer him $4,000 for reviewing an introductory history textbook. “I thought, ‘That’s an interesting amount of money,’” says the associate professor of history at Middle Tennessee State University.” The story goes on to outline in detail how textbook publishers — from North West Publishing, which offered the amount cited above, but also involving behemoths like Pearson — are finding ways to get the attention of university professors and their departments by offering money, royalties, and other incentives. As with the above, the payola is often in the guise of a fee for “reviewing” a book or writing a portion of a customized textbook. Go to http://chronicle.com/weekly/v49/i42/42a00801.htm.

It’s hard to find publishers who want to talk about what they’re reading, for fear of offending those whose books they’re not reading. Two industry execs who do are both reading the same book: Bob Iger, ABC honcho to whom Hyperion reports, and Phyllis Grann, who says she’s on a “nonfiction kick,” are reading An Unfinished Life, Robert Dallek’s biography of JFK, published by Little, Brown. Iger is also reading Sinclair LewisBabbitt, and Grann just finished When Hollywood Was King, about her late boss Lew Wasserman.

PARTIES


The reopening of the downtown Borders — a block east from its original location at the World Trade Center on Broadway — was well attended by almost 1000 publishers, and reports are that it felt like a real shot in the arm for the industry, a feeling echoed by all. Gift certificates offering a 20% discount were handed to guests with proceeds going to the Windows of Hope Family Relief Fund. The WTC branch had worked closely with the restaurant and held numerous events there and chose this as the charity partner for the opening. A quick check on who was buying what indicated that most of the publishers’ purchases were CDs!

180 people attended CLMP’s fundraiser at the Paula Cooper Gallery coinciding with the launch of Jack Macrae and Paula Cooper’s 192 Books, lit by the glow of Dan Flavin’s florescent sculptures on June 19th. Poet Kimiko Hahn spoke, opening with: “Without independent literary publishers there would be no poetry in America.” Guests included Adam Haslett, Peter Mayer, Nan Talese, Jill Bialosky, and Gerry Howard, and a “mountain of books and mags for people to mine in the center of gallery included Open City, Bomb, FuturePoem, Soft Skull Press, Feminist Press, and many many more” our correspondent tells us.

IN MEMORIAM


Sara Ann Freed, the much respected Editor-in-Chief of Mysterious Press and Senior Editor at Warner Books, died on June 25 after a brief battle with leukemia. A memorial service is scheduled for September 17, her birthday.

Very Ruffled, Very Cute

A day spent trolling the aisles at this year’s Stationery Show suggests that a name change may be in order: there ain’t much paper in sight, and what little there is seems a mere afterthought to the now-familiar deluge of men’s silk ties, personalized golf and baseballs (two different manufacturers), lamp shades, chess boards, beaded evening bags, and picture framers by the score (giving SourcebooksPicture Frame Book series particular oomph, the publisher reported). True, there were fewer angels adorning the Javits Center this year, and a notable absence of branded merchandise (Olivia the dancing pig was the exception, with barest hints of Harry Potter). Fewer independent store buyers turned out as well, though chains such as Hallmark, Urban Outfitters, and Anthropologie were on full alert.

Summing up the general business climate, one large publishing presence said cash flow is so tight that accounts won’t confirm orders three months in advance; consequently, this publisher had moved all its manufacturing to the US to be as nimble as possible. All in all, the legions of vacant booths were testimony that it’s time to think about hooking up with the gift shows — they service the same reps, after all, hawking the same merchandise. Atlanta is next up on the gift circuit, and the event most show-goers said they were pumped to attend.

Yet what struck this visitor, as in previous years, was that publishers’ wares seemed so much more distinctive, even cutting-edge, than the rest of the merch at the show, which now verges on the homogeneous (very pink, very ruffled, very cute). Publishers such as Merriam Webster and Harcourt reported slow business (suffering perhaps from awkward booth location), but other booths were busy, including Chronicle, which continues to offer the quirkiest packaging, viz. The Chinese Chop Pack (chops are stamps used for delivering a greeting or message) which comes with an inkpad and an 80-page book in a wooden box. Business was also brisk at Random House, where the Potter Style line continues to elegantly (and economically, one suspects) expand its line of note cards derived from Potter titles such as The Art of Imperfection and Of The Moment. A standout in the line is All Things Oz, with original art and text from the 14 works written by L. Frank Baum himself, created by Linda Sunshine and following successful books developed from the 40,000-item memorabilia collection of Willard Carroll.

Traffic was also swift at Andrews McMeel, where The Little Big Book Series created by Welcome is now up to a dozen titles and “blowing out of the stores,” according to AM’s Lynne McAdoo. Solid market presence Running Press exhibited titles from its new owners, including books from Perseus as well as their Da Capo music imprint (the toughest part was explaining to buyers why the books had no pictures but would sell anyway). Setting the pace for cleverly saleable products, Running Press’s Miniature editions are up to 250 titles — with over 40 so-called kits — from the Bonsai Potato kit to Golf Voodoo. And stay tuned for twelve inspirational titles licensed from Zondervan.

Rooms With a Groove

Tis the season for publishing parties, what with all those pre- and post-BookExpo America stopovers putting literary-venue bookings into overdrive. If the National Arts Club doesn’t suit your style — or your budget — here’s a selection of some New York City standbys and (hopefully) a few off-the-beaten-path finds for that launch party, reading, or celebration.

The Bowery Poetry Club: Past the small coffee shop serving Yonah Schimmel knishes is a performance space at this newish, amped-up club that seats over 100 and boasts digital recording and cybercast gear, plus a full bar. At 308 Bowery, New York, NY 10012. Call “Poetry Czar” Bob Holman, (212) 614-0505; [email protected]; www.bowerypoetry.com.

Cornelia Street Café: The time-honored (since 1977) cabaret space has showcased everything from Monty Python members to the Greek-American Writers Association. At 29 Cornelia Street, New York, NY 10014. Call (212) 989-9319; corneliastreet.[email protected]; www.corneliastreetcafe.com.

The Culture Project: This literary-activist venue produces theater, dance, and spoken word events “with emphasis on cross-disciplinary works that influence social and aesthetic values.” At 45 Bleecker Street, New York, NY 10012. Call (212) 253-7017; [email protected]; www.45bleecker.com.

Fuel at Phebes: Sleek, multi-room lounge holds up to 100, and has a full catering menu (mini crab cakes with guacamole go for $50 for 30 pieces). It’ll cost you $8 – $10 per hour per person, with a two-hour minimum. At 359 Bowery (at East 4th), New York, NY 10003. Call Joan McNaughton, (212) 473-9008; [email protected]; www.fuelatphebes.com.

General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen: Home of the Small Press Center and the General Society Library, this grand four-story reading room offers “bookish ambience” for literary events. At 20 West 44th Street, New York, NY 10036. Call (212) 764-7021; [email protected]; www.smallpress.org.

Grolier Club: A bibliophile mecca with a major graphic arts collection, the club seats as many as 100, with a public lecture hall and several book-lined meeting rooms. At 47 East 60th Street, New York, NY 10022. Call William McClure, (212) 838-6690; [email protected]; www.grolierclub.org.

Housing Works Used Book Café: Popular Soho site of bashes for The New Yorker, Harper’s, and Poets & Writers (the café is available for catering). At 126 Crosby St. (btwn. Houston & Prince), New York, NY 10012. Call Joel Tippie, (212) 334-3324; [email protected]; www.housingworks.org.

KGB Bar: Low-key East Village room hosts venerable reading series (and cheap drinks) almost every Sunday evening (fiction) and Monday evening (poetry), plus other weeknight events. At 85 East 4th Street, New York, NY 10003. Call Denis Woychuk, (212) 505-3360; www.kgbbar.com.

Mercantile Library: A historic bastion of literary life (founded in 1820), the library’s sprawling, second-floor reading room holds up to 150, and costs $500/evening. At 17 East 47th Street, New York, NY 10017. Call Anne Keisman, (212) 755-6710; [email protected]; www.mercantilelibrary.org.

Nuyorican Poets Café: Famous, rowdy Lower East Side multicultural collective opens its stage to poetry slams, hip-hop, film, and theater. At 236 East 3rd Street (btwn. Aves. B & C), New York, NY 10009. Call (212) 505-8183; [email protected]; www.nuyorican.org.

Poets House: Elegant, informal poetry archive founded by poet Stanley Kunitz is available for $500 per evening ($300 for nonprofits) and capacity is 60-80 seated or 300 for parties. At 72 Spring Street, New York, NY 10012. Call Jane Preston, (212) 431-7920, ext. 16; [email protected]; www.poetshouse.org.

Puffin Room: Soho art and dance space devoted to artists “excluded from mainstream opportunities due to their race, gender, or social philosophy.” It’s $100/hour, and holds 75 seated or 150 standing. At 435 Broome St. (off B’way), New York, NY 10013. Call Carl Rosenstein, (212) 343-2881; [email protected]; www.puffinroom.org.

Soft Skull Shortwave Bookstore: Cutting-edge cachet is yours at this Brooklyn book bodega devoted to the world of independent publishing (it seats 40). At 71 Bond Street (at State St.), Brooklyn, NY 11217. Call Shanna Compton, (718) 643-1599; [email protected]; www.softskull.com.

Teachers & Writers Collaborative: Nonprofit venue for writer-in-residence programs hosts eclectic book parties and readings. At 5 Union Square West, New York, NY 10003. Call Bruce Morrow, (212) 691-6590; [email protected]; www.twc.org.

White Box Gallery: Hip Chelsea nonprofit center champions notable art exhibitions plus a variety of “lectures, readings, performances, and VIP cocktail parties.” At 525 West 26th Street (btwn. 10th & 11th Aves.), New York, NY 10001. Call (212) 714-2347; [email protected]; www.whiteboxny.org.

Where the Jobs Are

Jobs are still blipping into the ether as the publishing universe continues its cosmic contraction, even as the odd startup or new hire offers fleeting hope for the résumé-weary (see chart, below). To get a grip on it all, Publishing Trends has been monitoring the job market in book publishing and related fields, both by tracking individual personnel changes and by following layoffs, relocations, job creation, and “benign reorganization.”

During the past four months, according to Publishing Trends’analysis, the book business has shed 588 jobs, vastly more than an estimated 114 for the same period in 2002. These figures are gleaned from industry reports that generally don’t reflect hiring freezes (when positions are open but not filled) or the elimination of open jobs (when they’re axed outright). Moreover, given the purposeful obfuscation of employment figures, PT estimates that for every reported cut there are at least an equal number of unreported job losses. In sum, the total number of jobs that have vanished in the publishing industry since the beginning of the year is an estimated 1,200 to 1,500, including back office and warehouse positions. Some of these are being reincarnated as lower-level positions, and presumably some will be reinstituted when the blue skies return.

New Job Listings (week of May 19*)

Senior Management: 5
Rights: 5
Sales and Marketing: 29
Art/production: 12
Editorial: 27
Other: 30

*Source: NYT, PW, Publishers Marketplace

International Fiction Bestsellers

Walk on the Wild Side
Sophie’s Choice in Sweden, Saddam Does Denmark, And Russia’s Crime Babe Rides Again

The co-creator of the longest-running Swedish soap opera in history sends white-hot sparks of sensuality shooting over Scandinavia this month with “a clearly political manifesto disguised as an entertaining literary soap.” In Stars Without Vertigo, now bounding up the Danish list (landing just short of the top 10), well-known Swedish writer and feminist Louise Boije af Gennäs unleashes the semi-autobiographical tale of 32-year-old Sophie, who enjoys conjugal contentment with a swell businessman while building a career as a novelist and journalist. The couple’s serenely bourgeois life amid Stockholm’s hoity-toity lurches toward the wild side, however, when lesbian radical feminist Kaja stalks on the scene, and the friendship between the two women erupts into a passionate love affair. Based largely on the author’s life (she, too, was married to a man when she fell in love with a prominent feminist in Stockholm), the book has wowed critics with its depiction of those “wonderful moments of vertigo experienced by the newly-in-love” and won praise as “a novel with a purpose,” as it dives headlong into questions of gender and prejudice. In real life, the author abandoned her much-publicized, four-year lesbian affair for the man to whom she is now married, which begs the question: Will we see a sequel? The author’s 1991 novel Take What You Want sold 110,000 copies, while the new one, which was originally published in Sweden by Norstedts in 1996 (the book stirred up too much controversy to get immediately published abroad), has now sold 150,000 copies in Sweden. Rights have just been sold to Norway (Damm), with a film deal under negotiation in Denmark. Contact Charlotte Jørgensen at Aschehoug.

Also in Denmark, hypnotic Hitchcock film meets John Grisham thrill ride in the latest offering from native Dane Jussi Adler-Olsen. Branded a “thriller of international standards,” Company Bash features Indonesian-born Peter de Boer, who heads up a firm in Holland that takes orders to bring down major corporations. Trouble starts when he receives a call from sinister Belgian operative Marc de Vires, who wants him to obliterate the Iraqi oil company Q-Oil. Though he initially refuses, our protagonist relents after a number of threats from a terrorist ring led by the sadistic Rahman, amid haunting real-world echoes of the Hussein regime. The author, who is best known for his successful first novel The Alphabet House (the story of two British pilots who are shot down over Germany on a secret WWII mission, a film version of which will be produced by Oscar winner Just Betzer), is actually a book publisher who spent most of his childhood co-habiting with his family at various mental hospitals, picking up detailed knowledge of the “crooked sides of life.” (His father was noted sexologist Henry Olsen.) The multitasking Adler-Olsen has also dabbled in the world of Saturday morning cartoons, writing scripts for Donald Duck and Woody Woodpecker episodes for Dutch publisher Oberon. Rights to both novels have been sold in Holland (Unieboek), and Finland (Gummerus/Book Studio), while his first novel has also been published in Sweden (Bra Böcker), Iceland (PP Forlag), and Spain/Latin American (Planeta). Contact the Lennart Sane Agency in Sweden.

In another Swedish phenomenon, journalist Sven Olov Karlsson launches a peculiar tale of aliens from outer space who colonize rural Sweden in his debut novel, The Italian. A tribute to the author’s late father, the book features the Tubans — “a knowledge-hungry race closely resembling green reading lamps” — who make contact with protagonist Karl-Erik Andersson (nicknamed “the Italian” since his schooldays because of his black hair and dark complexion, and prone to epileptic fits caused by a developing brain tumor). Transported to the Tubans’ ship during bouts of unconsciousness, Andersson slowly unravels while his two sons watch helplessly. Loudly praised as “a debut as strong as a tractor,” the book is said to be simultaneously surreal, witty, and poignant in its tribute to three generations ravaged by illness and insecurity. All rights are available from Katarina Grip at Nok (Sweden).

In Israel, 44-year-old Bible teacher and lecturer Yochi Brandes peers through layers of classical Jewish culture to report on the history of Zionism from an unconventional perspective in her fourth and latest novel, White Seeds. Deemed “a wonderful book for a winter weekend,” the novel tells the stories of Osnat and Rebecca, two women born a century apart: Osnat is a fabulously successful woman wounded by childhood scars of orphanage and poverty, while Rebecca is a Romanian country girl who becomes a passionate Zionist farmer swept up in a truly “rags to riches” scenario. Replete with a “sharp, thriller-like twist,” the novel embeds historical chapters within this tale of intricate family ties, ultimately probing the power of storytelling to alter lives. Brandes’ 2000 bestseller Turn Off the Love sold about 60,000 copies, investigating among other things “the creation of an artificial dog via magical incantations.” About 25,000 copies of the new one have been sold thus far, and all foreign rights are available. Email the author at [email protected].

In Russia, The Law of Triple Negation has just hit the stores with a 300,000-copy print run. The 24th installment from author Alexandra Marinina continues the exploits of Anastasia Kamenskaya, a Moscow detective who this time around gets into an accident and ends up with a broken foot. She seeks out an alternative healer who winds up dead when she calls him, and the plot soon thickens like smoke from the author’s trademark menthol lights. A former criminologist, Marinina has been deemed one of the “Top 25 Most Influential People in Russia.” “In short,” say adoring fans, “Alexandra Marinina is the Jackie Collins of Russian literature (only much better).” More than 32 million copies of her books have been sold in Russia, with rights sold to 23 countries including Germany (Fischer and Argon), Spain (Planeta), Italy (Piemme), France (Seuil), and Japan (Sakuhisha). English rights are still available from agent Natan Zablockis in Moscow.

Book View, June 2003

People
Latest dope on AOLTWP: with funding tight, Perseus is said to be out of the running, while Random, which raised some capital recently and is looking for a deal, is the likeliest purchaser. Meanwhile, in the latest reshufflings: RH Value Publishing’s President Lynn Bond has left the company, following in the wake of the three executives who were downsized last month. She will be replaced by Sheryl Stebbins, who was VP, Publisher for the RH Information Group. Jeanne Kramer has been promoted into Stebbins’ position. John Pearce, Executive Editor at Random House of Canada, has also left the company. He may be reached at [email protected].

Random is keeping mum about the number of employees who have taken its early retirement package, but sources tell us that most come from Westminster. In New York, Anne McCormick, longtime Sub. Rights Manager at Knopf, is one who has decided to open the “window of opportunity” package offered in March. She leaves May 30 and may be reached at [email protected]. Her successor is Victoria Gerken, moving from the RH Rights Department. And at Random/Ballantine, Nicole Bond moves over from Maria Campbell Associates to become Foreign Rights Manager for the Random list. Rachel Kind handles Ballantine foreign rights and both report to Claire Tisne.

Bill Rosen, VP Executive Editor at The Free Press, has left the company and is reachable at [email protected]. . . Michael Murphy, most recently at Calloway and CDS, has gone to F&W as Sales Director. . . Andrew Smith has been hired as Candlewick’s VP of Sales. He replaces Tammy Johnston, who left Candlewick in February after eight years with the company. Smith was most recently at Random House Children’s. Carol Roeder, another vet of children’s publishing (at S&S), has been named EVP International Publishing & Global Packaging Sales for Intervisual Publications in LA. She will work out of NY. Intervisual continues to look for a CEO, to be based in California.

Columbia U.’s National Arts Journalism Program (NAJP)’s new research fellowships include Bill Goldstein, currently Books Editor for WNBC and The New York Times on the Web, and Laurie Muchnick, Book Editor at Newsday. Speaking of Columbia U., ex CUP Director Bill Strachan has been named Executive Editor at Hyperion.

Kate Hartson announced the formation of new publishing house Yorkville Press, where she will be both President and Publisher. She held editorial positions at Ballantine, Bantam, and Random Value, and most recently at Time Life Books.

In agency news: Amy Berkower has been named President and CEO of Writers House. She replaces Al Zuckerman, who becomes Chairman. . . Linda Loewenthal, previously Editor- in-Chief of Harmony, has moved to the David Black Agency and can be reached at [email protected].

As noted elsewhere, Andrew Martin has been named VP and Publisher of Sterling. He was most recently SVP, Assoc. Publisher of the Crown Publishing Group. Meanwhile, Crown has hired Jed Donahue, who has been working at Regnery Publishing since 1997, as an editor for their Forum imprint. And speaking of conservative, Brad Miner has been named editor of Bookspan’s newest club, a rival to Eagle Publishing’s Conservative Book Club.

Ilan Yeshua, CEO of Encyclopedia Britannica, is leaving EB to return to Israel, according to the tom-toms. . . Claire Griffin has gone to John Wiley as Marketing Director. She was previously at NYU Press. . . HarperCollins‘s sub  rights department has a new Manager: Jim Geraghty, formerly of Viking and Random. He replaced Mary Beth Guimaeres, who will move with her husband to San Diego. . . Wendy Hubbert has left Tarcher/ Putnam, where she was Senior Editor.

Clive Priddle, who opened the US office of HarperCollins’ Fourth Estate imprint, will move to PublicAffairs as Executive Editor, succeeding Paul Golob, who moved to Times Books. Harper announced that Courtney Hodell will relocate back to NYC from HarperCollins UK to become Editorial Director of Fourth Estate US. Hodell was Publishing Director of Fourth Estate UK since 2001.

Still in the British-publishing-in-NY vein: Patricia O’Hare has been appointed to the newly created position of President of The Nicholas Brealey Publishing Group North America. She was most recently VP Business Development at NBN. And Joan Brookbank ([email protected]) has been named US Director of Merrell Publishers.

Steven Oppenheim joins the Penguin Group as VP and Director of Publicity for G.P. Putnam’s Sons and Riverhead Books, reporting to Marilyn Ducksworth. Previously he ran Oppenheim Communications. He replaces Mi Ho Cha. In other Penguin news, Grosset & Dunlap and PSS have merged, with Bonnie Bader as Editorial Director, reporting to Debra Dorfman. Jane O’Connor remains Editor-at-Large and Kelli Chipponeri has been promoted to Senior Editor of the combined group. Nadine Topalian, previously at Dial, has been named Senior Managing Editor. Grosset will focus on series and licenses, and PSS on novelty and holiday-related books as well as Mad Libs and Wee Sing.

Cleo Coy, known to many from her days at Booksmith, Walden, and more recently Learningsmith, is now a freelance editor. Email [email protected] or call (561) 393-3590 (in Boca Raton, FL).

June Dates
The Council of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP) celebrates the 4th Annual Literary Magazine Fair at Housing Works Used Book Café (see article) on June 15. Contact Katherine Sarkis at (212) 741-9110 x 12.

• Poets House’s Eighth Annual Poetry Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge takes place Monday, June 16 at 6:30 pm. Bob Holman will MC, and Galway Kinnell, Grace Paley, and Quincy Troupe are among those who will take part in the walk. Go to www.poetshouse.org.

Duly Noted
Publishing Trends has learned that PW’s ABC audit data for the six months ending 12/02 shows a 5.5% decline in total circulation, to 27,363. Publishers and agents are down over 7%; booksellers are down over 6% in the six-month period. Libraries are steady at 9,247. Publisherslunch.com (which is free) has reached a circulation of just over 19,000.

• Jack Macrae and his wife Paula Cooper celebrated the opening of their idiosyncratic bookstore, 192 Books (at 192 10th Avenue) with a champagne reception on May 21. In keeping with their plan that the inventory would reflect “a dialogue between art and literature,” guests included Wally Shawn, Paul Auster, Roger Angell, Calvin Tompkins, and Alastair Reid. Artists included Claes Oldenburg and Wayne Gonzales. Also there was Kate Levin, NYC’s Commissioner of Culture. There will be regular author appearances, with themed exhibitions every month. Go to www.192books.com.

• Kathy Parker, co-creator of Barney, and Phil Parker, Barney composer, are back. After an absence following their departure from the Lyons Group, they have founded Marsupial Media, and have completed the development phase of a preschool TV series, Pockets ’n Play, addressing preschool kids’ need for guided physical activity and motor skill development. John Gildea, ex-Hasbro executive, is also on board. They tell PT they are looking for the ideal partners — for print and television — for this worldwide property. Contact John Gildea at [email protected] or (401) 885-0653.

Parties
There were star-studded events in New York this May, including the UJA gala honoring BordersGreg Josefowicz; Larry Ashmead’s retirement party, which made its way into Liz Smith’s column; and Newmarket’s Four Seasons party for Anne Ford, which drew Michael Bloomberg, among others. Another interesting confluence of bold-facers occurred on May 19: the memorial service for Leonardo Mondadori, held at the Lotos Club, attracted a cosmopolitan group including speakers Diane Von Furstenburg, Clive Davis, Michael Kennedy, Mort Janklow, and Alberto Vitale, and attendees including Peter Olson, Arnold Scaasi, Susan Moldow, Michael Lynton, and Sonny Mehta.

Mazel Tov
To Ivan Held and Patricia Falvo Held, parents of George Henry, born May 13.

Book Fairs = Big Biz?

“It’s the damndest thing — all these people show up,” a genial George Plimpton told reporters at the recent LA Times Festival of Books. “And we’d thought people in LA don’t read books.” Indeed, as 150,000 visitors (plus 350 authors and even some East Coast publishers) swarmed the UCLA campus over two days in April — attendance was considerably up from 90,000 three years ago — many in the publishing industry were sharply reminded that book fairs are becoming big business.

In the past two years, we’ve seen the advent of the annual National Book Festival (October, in DC), co-hosted by the Library of Congress and Laura Bush; the flourishing of the Chicago Book Festival, which began in 2000 as Book Week and has now become a monthlong October celebration under the auspices of the Chicago Public Library, with support from Mayor Daley; and the launch of the annual New Yorker Festival — not strictly for books but tied to authors and readers — which last year moved from May to the same weekend in September as the venerable New York Is Book Country. (Though the two festivals have no ties — NYIBC has a longtime sponsor in The New York Times — this year they will not only take place the same weekend but will have events down the street from one another, with NYIBC extending down to 42nd Street and the New Yorker holding court at the New York Public Library.)

Not only are book fairs multiplying, but they’re also making impressive displays of bookselling brawn. “Massive” book sales were made at the LA Times festival, according to Times Senior Project Manager Glenn Geffcken, who reports that over 100 publishers staked out booths this year (next year’s date is April 24-25, 2004). While booksellers flock to the festival, publisher booths have become major draws among the more than 300 total exhibitors. “Ironically, we have a higher percentage of small presses exhibiting than actual booksellers,” Geffcken says, noting that small bookshops often can’t spare the staff to make the trek to UCLA — even as some report racking up as much business at the two-day fest as in the month of December.

According to an exit survey at last year’s festival, 81% of attendees said they came to browse the publisher and bookseller booths, and so rabid was the book buying this year that patrons refused to put their wallets away when the festival drew to a close. Geffcken says: “We had to go around with a bullhorn telling people very kindly, ‘We’re sorry, but the festival’s over now.’”

Bookselling has always been a priority at the massive Miami Book Fair International, co-founded by Books & Books’ Mitch Kaplan, who says that the fair will celebrate its 20th anniversary this year (November 2-9, 2003) with more than 300 exhibitors and projections of 500,000 visitors. Also celebrating a big anniversary (its 25th) is New York Is Book Country, whose street fair on Fifth Avenue (September 17-21, 2003) boasts an increasing emphasis on promoting book sales. Last year, the first year the festival attempted to track sales, an estimated 20,000 volumes were sold at the fair and the tie-in brunch and tea. More sales opportunities abound this year at the fair itself, as well as at several themed events in September and October, including one focused on business books and several celebrating cookbooks (New York Is Cookbook Country runs October 15-19, 2003). Included in the ticket prices is an automatic discount on participants’ books, which will be sold on site.

“Book lovers are book buyers, and book buyers attend book fairs,” reasons Executive Director Courtney Muller. “If today’s consumer book fairs don’t put a focus on bookselling, and encourage it at every turn, it’s a huge missed opportunity.”

Sunshine and Noir

BookExpo America Lands in LA, With Bouts of ‘Book Fair Fatigue’

By nearly all accounts, it’s a beastly time for a book convention. You’ve got the gangrenous economy. War-torn travel itineraries. SARS shut-downs. And cash-strapped rep groups (who’ve already splurged for sales conferences on the east coast). Throw in a liberal dose of what some are calling “book fair fatigue,” and BookExpo America, which rolls into the Los Angeles Convention Center from May 28 to June 1, is facing more than its share of the usual pre-show scuttlebutt. “We certainly have been watching the world situation pretty carefully,” says BEA Vice President and Show Manager Greg Topalian, whose diagnostics nonetheless put the gig admirably on target: BEA is slightly larger than last year, at 300,000 sq. ft., and will top 2,000 exhibitors, on par with recent years. And though flocks of foreign publishers and many domestic players say they’re sitting this one out, Topalian predicts good vibrations all around: “All of our registration numbers look great.”

Chalk that up, in part, to no small amount of pump-priming among the Hollywood crowd, with Reed-owned Variety helping spread the good word. “We’ve done a lot of promoting to the film and TV development community,” Topalian says. “You’re going to see ten times as many Hollywood folks at the show as you ever will anywhere else.” You’ll see some of them on Friday, May 30, at any rate, when Variety Editor-in-Chief Peter Bart presides over a free panel of film industry vets, “From Books To Blockbusters” (it’s at 10:00 am in Room 411), with Robert Bookman of Creative Artists Agency, producer Peter Guber, and Fox honcho Tom Rothman. Down on the show floor, a number of Hollywood studios are setting up shop in Baker & Taylor’s booth — among them Paramount, Disney, MGM, and Dreamworks — to tout the “unique cross-merchandising opportunity” represented by DVD tie-ins such as Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings (officials cite the dreamy DVD profit margins as one way Hollywood synergy can help booksellers stay afloat). As for actual Hollywood deals taking place, well, make sure your rental car’s fully gassed up. “The film people, as ever, seem amused by it all,” one scout reports, “with the trend being to say, ‘I’m not really spending time at the fair itself.’”

‘A Long Trip’ to LA

It’ll take more than a few Winnie the Pooh DVDs — or even the sight of perky Ellen DeGeneres, performing at 9 pm on Saturday, May 31 at The Wiltern, benefiting the Book Industry Foundation — to get the blood pumping, especially when it comes to far-flung foreign publishers. “I have the fewest number of clients ever attending,” reports scout Mary Anne Thompson. “Even my ‘diehard’ clients aren’t making an appearance. It’s a long trip, and not really a rights fair anymore.” As with other scouts, her clients revamped their plans after attending the London Book Fair and realizing “that yet another book fair wasn’t necessary.” Those who will be making the trip include a New Age editor from Egmont Richter; two representatives from AW Bruna (Holland); the Editor-in-Chief of Kadokawa Shoten (Japan); a nonfiction editor from Droemer-Knaur (Germany); and film client National Geographic Films. While its value as a rights fair may be open to question, Thompson adds, it remains as always a first-rate opportunity to survey the smaller publishers, and to check out marketing and promotional ideas.

“I think LA adds a glimmer of sunshine to BEA, but not enough to entice the hordes to come,” adds Todd Siegal of Franklin & Siegal Associates. “We only have five publishers coming to LA, but that’s more to do with our other clients having been to the London Book Fair than any war-related stuff.” For those who may want to drop by, Siegal’s show-going clients are Hodder (UK), Unieboek (Holland), Norma (Colombia), Damm (Norway), and China Times (Taiwan). A few others have trickled through New York ahead of the show, including Forum (Sweden), Heyne (Germany), and Hayakawa (Japan). Still, international travel jitters have wreaked havoc on clients’ schedules. Siegal’s Swedish publisher was only given clearance to fly (anywhere at all) two weeks ago, he tells PT, and SARS-stricken destinations such as China are still verboten. For other scouts, it’s a numbingly familiar tale. “Most of my clients never intended to attend BEA this year,” says Jutta Klein, though two that were — German clients Hoffmann & Campe and the Bertelsmann Club — scrapped their BEA plans after hitting the London Book Fair. (On the other hand, French clients Presses de la Cité and France Loisirs are making the trek to BEA after all, as will Val Hudson from Headline, who’ll be putting in quality time with LA-based authors and associates.)

If SARS or London aren’t keeping them away, there’s always Operation Iraqi Freedom to foul up plans. “We had quite a lot of problems setting up schedules,” reports Ornella Robbiati, Editor-in-Chief for Italian house Sonzogno, “because when we started fixing appointments war was still on, so many Americans weren’t sure to go.” Though she’ll be making the pilgrimage as usual, Robbiati affirms that London has increasingly made BEA redundant when it comes to rights. “If you meet a publisher or agent at the end of March, it’s quite unuseful to meet him again after a couple of months.” By Robbiati’s lights, BEA has suffered in two further respects: “ABA [as it was formerly known] used to be held each year in a different town and it was a nice way for foreigners to ‘tour’ America,” she says. “Secondly, one could see the marketing tools with which big companies supported the launching of books. But now nothing is really new anymore, and it’s getting more difficult year after year to take samples.”

Beyond the absentee foreigners, some of the show’s other constituencies may be spotty, particularly commission rep groups. Christopher Kerr’s Parson Weems clan will have two out of six members present, while Ted Heinecken of Chicago-based Heinecken Associates is sending three out of seven reps, citing the low number of midwestern accounts expected to attend. (His group is showing up out of loyalty to their regional associations — the Great Lakes Booksellers Association and the Upper Midwest Booksellers Association — who are as always soliciting titles for the Christmas catalog.) Meanwhile, Don Sturtz and his colleagues at Fuji Associates are sitting out this BEA completely, as is Sandra Hargreaves and her Vancouver, Canada–based sales group — partly because they’ll shortly be heading east for BookExpo Canada. Reps confirm that the regional bookseller fairs are increasingly where they find the action. Further dampening enthusiasm on the selling side, it might be added, Borders is not sending any buyers this year, only management representatives.

As publishers have cut back in the last two years on their own staff attendance, explains sales and marketing consultant Sally Dedecker, commission reps get saddled with more than their fair share of booth duty, yet another show disincentive. For a glimmer of sunshine, however, Dedecker says that up until a few weeks ago, BEA was a complete nonstarter. Then her phone started ringing, with domestic and foreign clients clamoring to meet in LA, and the fair became an instantly attractive proposition. That ought to warm the hearts of show promoters, who point out that over 800 publishers come to BEA that do not attend any other book convention. “London and Frankfurt are wonderful,” Topalian says. “You should go to those. But BEA is a totally different market.” That view is endorsed by Jan Nathan, Executive Director of the Publishers Marketing Association, who says the west-coast venue means a cornucopia of small and mid-size houses. “Whenever we come west with BEA, we see a huge contingent of great mid-sized publishers based both on the Pacific Coast and in Colorado and Arizona, which are hotbeds of growing publishing companies,” she says. As for the dearth of rights sales, a little pause in the action may not be a terrible thing. “I think there are too many foreign rights fairs in existence right now,” she says. “We could all be on the road attending one show or another as it relates to foreign rights.”

Back at the Buchmesse . . .

On that note, a travel advisory just in from the Frankfurt Book Fair — which of course will remain at the Messe until 2010 — where fair spokesman Holger Ehling has a word for those who haven’t yet made hotel reservations. If the hotel insists on a five- or six-night minimum stay, Ehling says, kindly inform them that the fair and the Frankfurt Hotels Association have agreed to banish the minimum-stay requirement, and that they’re welcome to contact Frankfurterhof chief Herr Leitgeb for an explanation. (Some of the hotels have conveniently forgotten about their pact.) In other Frankfurt news, the organization has announced that the guest of honor at the 2004 fair will be the Arab World. Fair officials are working overtime to include dissident writers, seeking the involvement of International PEN and other groups. We hear that Cuba was so smitten by the gesture that it proclaimed Germany the guest of honor at its 13th International Book Fair in Havana (it runs February 5-15, 2004). This year’s Havana fair reportedly hit 30 cities around Cuba after its January 30 opening, selling three million books and attracting 3.5 million visitors countrywide. Dr. Bernd Wulffen, the German ambassador to Cuba, assured the press that more Deutsch-Caribbean culture swapping was on the way. As he told Radio Havana, “We will sign a cultural agreement very soon.”

Book View, May 2003

PEOPLE


Between the Random/Ballantine merger and the “Voluntary Retirement” package, insiders say that the total number of exiting employees is cresting thirty, including Howard Weill ([email protected]), Mike Moran ([email protected]), Ivan Held ([email protected]), Dan Rembert ([email protected]), Kathleen Spinelli (kspinelli@ mac.com), Susan Gilmer ([email protected]), Barbara Greenberg, Erica Muncy, and editors Tracy Brown ([email protected]) and Dan Smetanka. The over-50 retirement package still has another few weeks to kick in, so the total may be higher by the end of May. Clarkson Potter Editor of Special Projects Roy Finamore has taken the package, and may be reached at [email protected]. Katy Workman has also left Clarkson Potter to return to her roots at Workman. And Lauren Shakely has hired Rosemary Ngo from Barnes & Noble Publishing to take over responsibility for the Clarkson Potter branded book list.

Rodale’s Jeremy Katz has hired Laurie Bernstein to be Editor at Large for the Men’s Health and Sports Book Group. She was most recently at Simon & Schuster. . . Phyllis Henrici is relocating from New York to San Diego to become Director of Bargain and Remainder Book Sales and Purchasing at Advanced Marketing Services (AMS). She had previously been Director of Sales & Marketing at Assouline, the art and lifestyle book publisher and retailer.

In light of its February purchase of the Grove online dictionaries, Oxford University Press has reorganized its own online publishing under Evan Schnittman, who is now VP Online Publishing and Business Development. There have been some layoffs in the realignment. In addition, Laura Dobbins, who was Advertising & Promotions Manager, Young Adult, has left the company.

Speaking of UPs, with MIT, University of California, and Yale squared away, LSU is the most recent university press to hire a new Director: MaryKatherine Callaway. Previously she was Marketing Director for Johns Hopkins UP. Columbia UP is still looking for a replacement for Bill Strachan, who left earlier this year. Bert Davis Associates is conducting the search.

The Whitney has downsized its book division and its Director of Publications & New Media, Garrett White, will be leaving, along with five others in the department. . . George Rubich, VP Finance and Administration for Henry Holt, has left the company. He may be reached at (914) 945-7146. . . Hugh Shiebler has left Barron’s Educational Series, where he was Nat’l Sales Manager.

Jon Anderson, currently Publisher of the Dream Works and Price Stern Sloan imprints at Penguin, is leaving the company, as the Dream Works program will be moving to Scholastic beginning in July. Meanwhile, Eloise Flood will join Penguin Young Readers Group as SVP and Publisher of a new, as yet unnamed imprint. Flood was most recently Publisher of paperback books at S&S Children’s Publishing division.

In a reorganization that divides some special sales functions into adult and children’s, Stacey Ashton and Andrea Rosen have joined HarperCollins as Senior Director of Special Sales, General Books and Senior Director of Special Sales, Children’s Books respectively. Ashton, who reports to Josh Marwell, was at the AOL Time Warner Book Group, and Rosen was Imprint Sales Director for the Crown Publishing Group and the Random House Information Group. She reports to Andrea Pappenheimer. Ken Berger has also joined the company as Senior Account Executive for General Books in the Premium and Corporate Sales Group, after working for Random House for the last 13 years. He will be based in San Francisco and reporting to Marie Hergenroeder. Megan Mayo joined HC in the newly created position of Associate Director, New Business Development Special Sales, reporting to Ashton and Rosen. She was formerly at Watson Guptill. Mark Landau will now report to Ashton and Rosen as will David Sweeney.

PROMOTIONS


Variety reports that Jim Wiatt will soon take executive control of the William Morris Agency and longtime CEO Walt Zifkin will scale back his duties to become CEO emeritus. . . Houghton Mifflin has promoted Eamon Dolan to Editorial Director. He had been Executive Editor.

MAY DATES


BEA and Variety are hosting two media panels: “From Books to Blockbusters,” moderated by Peter Bart, on Friday, May 30 at 10 am; and “Inside the Realm of Hollywood’s Independent Book Agents,” moderated by Jonathan Bing, on Thursday, May 29 at 1 pm. (For a complete list of Hollywood agents and their contact info, click here.)

The Small Press Center hosts “An Interview with Carole Baron, President of Putnam” on May 6. Christopher Lehmann-Haupt will conduct the interview, which takes place at 20 West 44 St. at 6 pm. Email [email protected].

The J. Anthony Lukas Prize and the Mark Lynton History Prize will be awarded on May 8 at the Columbia U. School of Journalism. Winners are Samantha Power and Suzannah Lessard (Lukas) and Robert Harms (Lynton). Incoming J-School Dean Nicholas Lemann will moderate a talk on “The Writer as a Moral Force.” Email ics9@ columbia.edu or call (212) 854-8653.

May 31 is the deadline for the newly announced James Madison Book Award, a cash prize of $10,000, that “recognizes excellence in bringing knowledge and understanding of American history to readers ages five to fourteen.” It was created and initially funded by Lynne Cheney, and will be presented July 1. Call Elisabeth Irwin at (202) 277-2034.

The Publishing Division of the UJA toasts Borders Chairman, President & CEO Greg Josefowicz at its annual black tie dinner on May 12. Tickets are $600. Contact Marcy Frank at (212) 836-1448 or email [email protected] for details.

DULY NOTED


Words without Borders: The Online Magazine for International Literature is looking for submissions. It is preparing a “soft launch” of the site by Memorial Day, and a “hard launch” on September 23, 2003. The editors are seeking “short works or excerpts of longer works previously unpublished in English for which we might commission translation.” The main themes include literature from Iran, Iraq, and N. Korea; pairings of translations of contemporary and classic short works or excerpts that are “strongly rooted in description of the same place”; “Landscape, Travel, and Criticism”; and “Suitcase of Books,” titles in English or translation that one should read if traveling in a particular place. “Exceptional foreign children’s books and young adult literature for translation” are also welcome. Email co-editor Samantha Schnee, [email protected], or mail to Words without Borders, c/o Institute for International Liberal Education, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY 12504-5000.

• Fredi Friedman of the eponymous Fredrica S. Friedman Agency sold world rights to Beautiful Bones Without Hormones, by Dr. Leon Root (orthopedic surgeon and author of Oh My Aching Back) and ex-Morrow editor Betty Kelly Sargent in a high six figure pre-empt to Penguin/Gotham’s Bill Shinker. Sargent first met her soon-to-be publisher at a party at the Mercantile Library.

IN MEMORIAM


Publishing Trends sadly notes the passing of Helen Meyer, a publishing legend, who led Dell Publishing for many years, and died at the age of 95 on April 21.

A memorial service for publisher and designer Sam Antupit, who died April 6, will take place in the Great Hall at Cooper Union on May 8 at noon. Milton Glazer said of him, “The graphic arts field is not known for its literacy, but Sam was an exception.”

Miranda DeKay held a memorial service for her husband George on April 17 at the Century Association in the Gallery. Tim Seldes was the emcee. Ironically, M. Evan’s biggest author, Dr. Robert Atkins, died the same day.

Beyond Vanity Fare?

Call them what you will — “print-on-demand subsidy publishers” or “glorified vanity houses” — the three leading POD publishers are subtly rethinking their roles in the realm of pay-to-play publishing. Collectively, iUniverse, Xlibris, and 1stBooks Library are banging out some 20,000 titles per year — with that market growing 40% or more annually — and new authors are signing on by the bushel. But “the leverage is not in getting another few hundred authors a month,” says one executive. “The real leverage is getting the book sales.” Authors grabbing at that holy grail, though, are forced to negotiate a bewildering array of “add-on” services (“Book signing kit? That’ll be $250.”), marketing affiliations, and remittance routines that are making the road to royalties seem as tortuous as ever.

Perhaps the biggest POD paradigm shift has come at iUniverse, where authors are now considered part of a “farm team” playing their hearts out for the big-league scouts. “Our aim is to behave as an agent,” explains President and CEO Kim Hawley, “to identify authors that have a huge amount of talent, and work within our system to give them the visibility and sales figures to take them to a traditional publisher.” In this model, iUniverse operates as an incubator, armed with traditional publishing services such as its new editorial review program, whereby “industry experts” (typically people who are editors in their day jobs) score the quality and viability of a book, and offer feedback on theme, structure, marketability, and the like. The service will be available to all iUniverse authors beginning May 1 at a cost of $249, but is included with the “Premier Program” package (see chart below). Then there’s “performance-based marketing support” such as the “Star Program,” which targets books with strong initial sales — at least 500 units worth — and ponies up cash to cover some of the costs of securing book reviews, direct marketing initiatives, book repackaging, and co-op advertising (iUniverse retains a financial stake in the titles). The program’s first 36 titles have been selected, and another 45 will roll into the pipeline in August.

iUniverse also announced that investor Barnes & Noble will review books in the Star Program and stock the “cream of the crop” in stores, probably 18 to 25 books per year. “That does take us into a more traditional publishing business model,” Hawley says. “These books are all run offset, they’re all inventoried, and they’re all returnable.” Completing the company’s semi-makeover — which began when it abandoned the corporate documents business last year to focus on author publishing — Hawley is stepping down as the company’s “interim” chief and helping iUniverse seek “someone who really understands the publishing industry” to fill the Lincoln, Nebraska–based job.

Of course, iUniverse hasn’t been the only one to do some soul searching. “We spent the vast majority of 2001 in an epic battle to rebuild the business and become economically sustainable,” says Xlibris CEO John Feldcamp. “Random House was our remarkably stable and supportive partner through that whole exercise.” The company is up to around 9,000 authors, and expects to publish 4,000 titles this year. Feldcamp says one prime focus at the moment is to buckle down on the basics: namely, ferreting out “highly inexpensive but highly effective copy editing,” mostly done overseas. “We have very little interest in being the least expensive service,” he adds. “We work unbelievably hard to make our customers happy.” About 100 authors per month use the picture-book service, which offers full-color titles between 24 and 80 pages in length, starting at $999 for up to 25 images. The business has now been growing at 50% per year, Feldcamp says, and “at this point the company is essentially profitable.” The market position? “Upfront, professional service and support, but without the sideshow barker.”

Business has been more stable at 1stBooks, which published 5,000 titles last year and will ramp up to 8,000 this year, reports President Robert McCormack. The average title sells around 175 copies, with 99% of sales made in printed versions (ebooks are “a thimble in the ocean,” he says). Manuscript reviews are not a top priority — the site notes flatly: “1stBooks Library does not edit manuscripts; you decide exactly what the public reads.” — and McCormack plays up his promotional offerings, including a NYT ad option. The bottom line: “We’re still profitable and growing. The business model has proved to be a solid one and we see nothing but continued success for ourselves.”

Back at Xlibris, the journey embarked upon by POD publishers is summed up in more, well, eschatological terms. “We have not found the promised land,” Feldcamp says. “But we still have a strong sustainable business that’s experiencing pretty good growth. It’s not like we’re lying in the middle of the desert wondering when the buzzards are going to get to us.”

The POD Contenders

iUniverse
Program/Cost:
Premier Program: $449

Format: Trade paperback. Add $199 for hardcovers, which are sold exclusively via iUniverse.

Royalty: Print: 20% of net receipts Ebook (optional service for $99): 50% of net receipts

Other: Service includes pre-pub editorial review by an “industry expert” who evaluates book for style, content, and overall quality. Includes marketing toolkit with templates for posters, bookmarks, sell sheets, etc. Copyediting for $.012 per word.

Xlibris
Program/Cost:
Basic Service: $500

Format: Trade paperback and Adobe Acrobat ebook.

Royalty: Print: 25% of printed list price (direct Xlibris sale), 10% (via reseller) Ebook: 50% of retail price (direct sale), 25% (via reseller)

Other: Print cover prices are based on page count (a 250-page paperback sold via a distributor is priced at $21.99). Ebooks are priced at $8. Bookseller discount is 20% on hardcover, 40% on trade paperback. Marketing Starter Kit (postcards, etc.) is $125. Copyediting is $3.50 per 500 words.

1stBooks
Program/Cost:
Standard Agreement: $399

Format: Adobe ebook or Rocket eBook. Add $199 for paperback and $350 for hardcover.

Royalty: Print: 10%-50% of printed list price Ebook: 100% of first $300 in sales via 1stBooks, 40% of retail price thereafter; 50% of net for resellers

Other: Author sets cover price and takes corresponding royalty rate. Marketing kit with 100 bookmarks, 100 postcards, and 100 business cards costs $200. Copyediting is $4.50 per page. An optional 3.5” x 1.25” ad in the NYTBR costs $2,650.