Book View, June 2003

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

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. (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

• 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.

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


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@, 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.


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.


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@ 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.


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.


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

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.

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.

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.

Gimme Shelter

“Best of times, worst of times” was the Dickensian scenario facing representatives from more than 50 publishing houses who hunkered down at the first Management Forum for Independent Publishers, hosted April 4-6 by NYU’s Center for Publishing. At the top of the agenda? “The economy, the economy, the economy,” chanted Center for Publishing Director Robert Baensch, who summoned a roster of two dozen industry players to deliver what amounted to a state-of-the-supply-chain address for stand-alone publishers. (Division heads from large houses were barred, Baensch tells PT, due to their alien fiscal gestalt. “If they need a budget request, a large publisher fills out a form,” he explains. “The form that the independent publisher fills out is a loan application.”) Awhirl in the global economic death-spiral, participants took tips on shoring up P&Ls and battened down their balance sheets, while also scanning for lost sales bobbing in the wake of the industry behemoths.

Unit sales have flatlined, of course, said Workman Publisher Bruce Harris in his briefing on the entropic book market, with each title selling fewer copies than ever before. Vital signs have been perking, however, in the children’s paperback segment, which Harris called the biggest growth area in the business — even keeping the book clubs afloat, due to rising children’s club sales in schools. Meanwhile, damaged book returns are becoming a mini-epidemic, provoking Harris to email customers photos of the carnage, with a little note saying: “Are you serious?” (For her part, Sourcebooks Publisher Dominique Raccah urged the audience to tackle returns head-on by ratcheting down quantities shipped to accounts, and told of one customer who had ordered 10,000 copies of a title — having a track record of selling just one copy. That account, Raccah said, received zilch.) But you can’t give everyone the brush-off. Harris said sales calls to massively powerful retailers have become one-way conversations. “Can’t I get my fishing book in with the fishing reels?,” a Wal-Mart buyer is asked. “No, you can’t,” goes the reply.

Speaking of massive power, Barnes & Noble VP, Merchandising Patricia Bostelman checked in with a few retail diagnostics. The mass-market category seems to be reviving (as consumers’ pockets get ever emptier, that is), and the teen arena is exploding. But computer titles are toast, the new-age market has gone into meditation (although anything on yoga or Pilates is still selling), and — yep — even brand-name authors aren’t selling like they used to. Consequently, the chain is re-energizing its storefront with segments that do show promise, principally quirky books priced for impulse grabs. And fully one-third of all transactions occur at the cafés (books, lattés, whatever), a trend B&N is actively encouraging. Bostelman underscored that consolidation among publishers has left market-share open to independent houses, noting that the greatest sales increase at the chain has come from those publishers ranked 21-100 among B&N’s top suppliers. Pointing to targeted opportunities, she added that only 30% of B&N’s titles are sold in stores chainwide.

Helpfully for niche marketing, Kelley Maier, Ingram’s SVP for Product Management and Marketing, brandished her newest promotional weapon: the precision-guided electronic flier. Ingram had just completed a study of these missives with an eye to delivering more immediate, targeted, and flexible marketing messages, and sales bounced eight-fold when e-fliers were deployed for on-the-fly titles such as Good Morning America picks. Elaborating on the power of e-marketing was Cindy Cunningham, Amazon’s US Catalog Librarian, who touted the “Small Vendor Co-Op Merchandising Program,” available to publishers whose annual sales with Amazon are less than $1 million. The program includes the supposedly stellar “Single New Product Emails,” sent to past buyers of the same author or to buyers who have purchased similar titles, and then there’s the old “Buy X, Get Y Promotion,” which Amazon users know as those offers to pop a similar book in your cart for a combined discount, showering publishers with “incremental impressions for your titles on both your detail pages and those of your competitors.”

In any case, Amazon was now accounting for 6% of National Book Network’s sales, said President Jed Lyons, who added that the share of sales to B&N had risen from 14% five years ago to 20% last year, while Borders was 16% and growing. Lyons noted that however jaded one might be to the travails of independent publishing, some epochal shifts in the business can still raise an eyebrow. Charlie Winton retiring from Publishers Group West, he said, is like Mick Jagger retiring from the Rolling Stones.

International Fiction Bestsellers

Cuckoo Cavaliers
Three Pests in Gavron’s Mess, Down and Out in Gdansk, And Gala Rings Twice in Spain

John Belushi meets the Coen brothers — or maybe the three stooges — this month as a trio of young Israelis land in New York to strike it fabulously rich but soon put the pedal to the metal on a rollicking, star-crossed road trip in Moving, Israeli author Assaf Gavron’s latest quasi-autobiographical tale (he worked in a New York moving company to write the book). It’s the spring of 1998, and Izzy, Jonesy, and Shlomi are schlepping away at “Sababa Moving and Storage” near Times Square. They soon split with the owner’s blue moving truck (which stows a trove of paintings owned by an aging couple from New York who have shipped out to Florida) and a few misadventures down the road, stolen slot machines are added to the booty. Problem is, the slots are rigged to discharge the “big win” to members of the Russian mafia, and our trio is soon tailed by an embittered band of hooligans. These mobsters, in turn, are stalked by FBI agents, among them a Jewish man frantically worried about whether he’ll make it to his overbearing mother’s Passover seder. Chock full of fateful encounters, wide American spaces, road-bleary rest stops, and an Indian woman falling head over heels for a federal agent, this “fascinating, funny, and thrilling” novel takes aim at both the American and Zionist dreams, and ironically comments on the very notion of homeland. The London-based Gavron (who has released three albums with cult pop group Hoof and Mouth) is the author of Ice (1997) and the short story collection Sex in the Cemetery (2000), part of which was adapted for Israeli theatre. Some of the author’s stories have been translated into Russian, but rights are open for the new one from Deborah Harris at the Harris/Elon Agency.

In Poland, middle-aged Gdansk law professor Jacob flunks a student during a final exam, then brushes her off when she confronts him in Stefan Chwin’s morbidly fascinating new novel, Golden Pelican. When word of a student’s suicide reaches him, however, the thought of possibly having provoked her death opens the floodgates of malaise, kicking off with the professor’s petty thievery in grocery stores and devolving into homelessness and humiliation before eventual rebirth. Drawing upon “the basic duality of modern society” — that is, life is passing us by, yet we can’t be bothered about it — Chwin aspires to the likes of Pawel Huelle and Günter Grass as he probes the unseemly side of his native city and revels in the rich ambivalencies of his protagonists. Also known for forays into the adventure genre for young readers (illustrating them himself, no less), as well as critical studies of literature, the 53-year-old Chwin has been acclaimed for Hanemann, a novel about Gdansk as a free city in the 1930s and under Polish administration after the war, and was awarded the Andreas Gryphius Prize in 1999. Unabashedly fixated on high-profile suicides (“Chwin masterfully describes a world of things expiring in fires, falling into the hands of strangers, and decaying in an alien atmosphere,” explains the catalog copy), Chwin has nonetheless been lauded as a sort of spiritual genealogist of Polish-German relations. Negotiations are under way with Rowohlt (Germany), and rights are available from Krystyna Lars (Tytul).

In the social-realist sockdolager we’ve all been waiting for, Danish writer Jan Sonnergaard takes on nothing less than “the intoxication of yuppies at finally being liberated from all the solidarity and hippie crap from the 1960s and 1970s.” In I Am Still Afraid of Caspar Michael Petersen, which is the third and final volume in a trilogy of short story collections (after Radiator and Last Sunday in October), the “ravishing” Sonnergaard follows up his studies of hardship on the margins (the unemployed, perennial students, alcoholics) and stand-up members of the middle class, respectively, to target the careers and intrigues of the raised-pinky upper crust that resides north of Copenhagen. From the successful adman who steamrolls his way through life to the illegal alien who is hounded by authorities, Sonnergaard shows that he’s “without compare in portraiture and linguistic-musical empathy” when describing these millennial times. Go get ’em, Jan. The book has been sold to Germany (Achilla), Italy (Pendragon), Iceland (Bjartur), and Holland (Skanderbeg). See Gyldendal for rights.

Positively shrugging off “all the recent trends in Dutch literature,” hit-maker Thomas Rosenboom comes out of the corner swinging with The New Man, hitting us with obscure Dutch towns and marvelously bilious, vengeful characters. A two-time recipient of the prestigious Libris Award (the Dutch equivalent of the Booker Prize) for Public Works — over 200,000 copies sold — and Washed Meat, Rosenboom writes of Berend Bepol, a philosophical sixty-something shipbuilder unperturbed by the 1920s downturn in shipbuilding, instead fixated on finding a suitor for his unmarried daughter. When his foreman, Niesten, jumps at the opportunity, a taut, shameful drama ensues between the two men amidst a background of crushing economic hardship. Hailed for its “impeccable structure” and “mesmerizing tension,” the book is up to its seventh print run in two months, and sparking interest all over Europe, though no rights have yet been sold. Contact Floortje Jansen of Querido, soon to be rights manager at a new agency set up by Querido, Nijgh & Van Ditmar, Athenaeum-Polak & van Gennep, and Querido Children.

Finally, heartbreaker and dream-maker Antonio Gala searches for the source of love’s bitter sting in his latest, The Owner of the Injury. When love turns treacherous, Gala wonders, is the injury “owned” by the person who inflicts it? Indeed, who owns a letter — the sender, the receiver, or even love’s middle man: the post office? In this collection of stories held together by a common amorous thread, Gala gets ever more obsessed with archer Cupid’s marksmanship. Garnering his greatest success as a playwright, Gala has been published in Germany (Eichborn), France (Lattès), Italy (RCS), and Greece (Livani), among many other nations. Rights to his latest and to Guests in the Garden (see PT, 7/02) are both available from Cristina Mora at Planeta.

Changing Channels

Beefing Up Special Sales, Publishers Surf the Downturn

Be it a defensive maneuver, market opportunism, or plain necessity, a number of major book publishers are blocking and tackling their way into nontraditional retail accounts like never before. And no wonder, you might say. “You look at the relative flatness in the book trade, and it’s pretty obvious,” says National Book Network President Jed Lyons. “We’re going to have to go outside of the traditional marketplace. Special sales are going to be very important in the future of our industry, and we’re going to see a lot more effort directed in that way.” While trade bookstores still remain the sales bedrock for major houses, in these straitened times, efforts to reach special markets provide a number of well-known advantages: Far fewer competing book SKUs. Sure-fire backlist sales. Mega-quantity purchases. And “the bean-counters of the business love the nonreturnable sales,” as one executive says (although not all books, of course, are sold nonreturnable). “Quite frankly,” sums up Martin Maleska, Managing Director for Veronis Suhler Stevenson, who studied the market for the acquisitions of Running Press and Sterling, “we got the feeling that the special sales channel was in many ways a more desirable channel than the traditional bookstore.” Whether it’s woodworking titles at Home Depot, or aromatherapy books at The Body Shop, “this is an extremely interesting channel with good dynamics and cash flow characteristics,” he says. “Access to these markets was one of the reasons that Barnes & Noble sought Sterling so aggressively.”

Yet non-trade sales statistics are scarce, he cautions, and frontlist publishers are apt to say special sales are all smoke-and-mirrors. “Customers are buying much more conservatively,” one sales director warns. “There’s a great deal more testing before any commitment to large quantities.” Says another: “It’s very costly to do special markets in any big way.” To many retailers, alas, “books are what’s called an accessory,” jettisoned when the economy does a nose-dive, and nowadays there’s all that jostling from one’s peers. “All publishers are going after special sales in a more determined way than ever before,” says Elaine Panagides, Principal of Special Sales Publishing Services. “It’s more competitive than it has been and the opportunities have to be sought after in a much more aggressive way.”

Gunning for Growth?

One such publisher would seem to be HarperCollins, fresh from a reorganization of its special sales department. In a flurry of new appointments and promotions (see Book View, p. 2) the publisher created separate management positions for special markets in both the general books division and the children’s division. “Our goal is to integrate both those efforts so that they’re more closely aligned with the fabric of the company,” explains Josh Marwell, SVP, Sales for Harper’s General Books division. Harper had previously operated under a more traditional structure, with a single head of special markets. “The new structure echoes the way that the company is organized in other areas, including trade sales,” Marwell says. “We have a decentralized structure here, which we have found has really contributed to strengthening our publishing efforts.” HarperCollins has also consolidated selling responsibilities in terms of categories. In the past, the publisher might have had a mail-order specialist for a particular subject, and a retail specialist for that same subject. “Now the retail and mail-order customers are handled by the same person,” Marwell says. “That person becomes a resource for the entire company.” Though executives would not explicitly confirm that Harper is gunning for special-sales growth, “we have brought on some key people,” Marwell says, “for the next phase of our business.”

There’s no such circumspection at Simon & Schuster. “We’re beefing up because of the growth potential in the market,” says Ron Davis, Director of Specialty Wholesale and Retail. “I believe we’re one of the few specialty sales departments in the industry that’s actually growing.” They’re up to 17 staffers, headed by VP of Special Sales Frank Fochetta, and Davis says sales have been increasing by double digits for the past three years. The custom publishing unit has been primed for growth — selling content to corporations that are new customers to S&S — as has proprietary publishing for trade accounts. On the wholesale front, S&S has partnered with gift packagers (the first gift set will be released for Father’s Day at a major department store) and reformatted paperback titles were stuffed into 5.8 million Cheerios boxes last year as part of General Mills’ literacy program, for which S&S will be back in the breakfast bowl this year. “On the retail side, we’re competing not with other books,” Davis adds. “We’re competing against socks and sandals. And if I don’t have something to compete against that, I will create it.”

Ditto for Jack Perry, VP, Director of Sales for Sourcebooks. “We’ve been looking at what type of books we can create that would be unique and might even be driven by that market,” he says, pointing to the impulse-driven “coupon books” such as Naughty or Nice (for Valentine’s Day). On the selling side, he’s been seeking gift rep groups that complement Sourcebooks’ line of titles. “We’re better off being a unique book line in a line of products,” he says, rather than one more book among dozens in the bag. To that end, Sourcebooks has “staffed up” over the past six months, and probably half the country is now handled by new rep groups, “which has already started to pay off.” Other publishers are jumping into the fray on a smaller scale. Travel publisher and distributor Globe Pequot, for instance, is now seeking a rep to sell to nontraditional mass merchandise accounts — a new position for the publisher. And some houses are angling for cost-effective ways to boost sales without adding staff. Larry Jonas, Director of Special Markets for Harcourt Trade Publishers, has been mining mailing lists, working with affinity groups, and looking closely at direct mail. Harcourt recently published a book on the Apollo space program, for instance, picking up mailing lists packed with retailers such as the Johnson Space Center and NASA museums. “We realized some significant sales into that marketplace,” Jonas says. He’s now getting The Encyclopedia of Surfing into surf shops using mailing lists tailored to that market.

‘Everything With a Cash Register’

Surf’s always up at special-sales pioneer Sterling, of course. “One area that’s going to grow the most is the chain stores,” says SVP Martin Schamus. “A Duane Reade or a Michaels — it could be any type of chain store. My concept is also not just going into a specialty store and putting a book on a shelf. I love to see them cross-merchandised. You get a much better sell-through when a book is next to a product.” As a measure of the industry’s truly tidal changes, Schamus recalls working with Publishers Clearing House in their heyday. “They used to have the ability to buy 100,000 books at a time,” he says. “I would see their buyer at trade shows, and a few months later she’d tell me, ‘You know, Marty, people see my badge and ask to send me samples. But they never send the samples.’” Schamus’s jovial reply: “That’s great! If they’re so stupid, that just leaves it wide open to me.”

Nowadays, he’s got plenty of company. “Our gift reps will call on everything from a Hallmark store to a car wash,” says Hugh Andrews, VP, Sales and Marketing for Andrews McMeel. “That’s everything with a cash register.” The company deploys 250 commission gift reps and 50 book reps, while a small sales staff targets display marketers such as Books Are Fun and other unnamed venues. (“I hate to list those accounts,” says Andrews. “I like to keep them secret.”) What’s not classified is that “the market has grown immensely” for gift books such as Bradley Trevor Greive’s Blue Day Book, which has now sold 1.5 million units. Andrews also just signed up a 50-store chain called Endangered Species, and recently broke into Origins. The icing on the cake? Business with one big-box retailer has zoomed from $500,000 to a $4 million account in just two years.

Others are mining their own special turf. “We have to go where the average sports fan is going to hang out,” adds Walter Pierce, VP Director of Sales for Sports Publishing, where about 30% of the publisher’s sales are nontraditional. “The average fan is not going to go into Borders and look for a book on the Yankees.” You will find some at the Kroger supermarket chain, however, where Pierce sold 10,000 copies of Ohio State’s 2002 National Championship. The title went out the door at the standard list price of $19.95, and helped boost total sales to 78,000 copies.

One beneficiary of all this growth is Josh Mettee, owner of regional wholesaler American West Books, which sells California-based titles into traditional and special accounts — including Costco. The chain buys in case quantities, but the trick is tightly focused regional placement. “If you have a book on the Bay Area,” he says, “how much of the Bay Area does it really cover? You might think it would sell throughout Northern California. That just isn’t the case.” Mettee works with the likes of Houghton Mifflin and S&S, but also praises the little houses: “Their books often sell just as well or better than large publishers. They may be focused on a smaller area of California, and you’re able to get more concentrated sales in those areas.” Perhaps as a testament to niche power, Mettee’s total business has gone up 60% each year for the past two years. “It’s had a snowball effect,” he says with a note of bewilderment. “The floodgates are open.”

Cloudy Forecast in Cairns

Holding a conference to discuss “the future of the book in a digital age” in tropical Cairns, Australia, seems a bit like holding a soiree in Orlando to discuss the future of French Cinema. Yet 200 publishers, booksellers, librarians, and academics gathered on April 22-24 within earshot of the odd alligator and didgeridoo for a three-day talkfest about ebooks, automatic publishing machines (APMs), POD, digital copyright — and of course the possible demise of the book as we know it. As if in sympathy, torrential rains fell from the usually deep-blue skies.

Evangelist/keynote speaker Jason Epstein (3 Billion Books) peddled his now familiar line that the only road to universal knowledge is via the digital catalog and a machine which he claims can produce a bound book from a digital file for just a few dollars. Replies to questions about the business model were unconvincing, although Epstein maintains he’s got World Bank cash earmarked for a pilot scheme of 10 machines in underdeveloped countries. Once the futurist floodgates were opened, the dot-com hopefuls (there are still a few around), and leather-sandaled academics jumped in, clutching his or her digital baggage. It was generally agreed that the book does have a future, although given the caveat that “screens that mimic paper are not far away,” Epstein is recommending against further investment in brick warehouses.

Nina Ziv, Professor at the NY Polytechnic University, shared some useful research conducted with major US trade publishers who are going digital. Michael Cairns (yes, he made the joke), President of Bowker USA, shed some newish light on supply chain options, and Chandi Perera of Lonely Planet showed that publishers can do effective market research and build a strategy with the results. In the end, the conference was mostly a meeting of non-practitioners who, with the luxury of not having to make the numbers work, were able to fly some odd-looking though occasionally thought-provoking kites.

We thank Robert Sessions, Publishing Director of Penguin Books Australia, for this report.

Book View, April 2003


Random House has offered a “Voluntary Retirement Window of Opportunity” to “most” employees who have been with the company at least five years, and are 50 years old or older. The email offer was made on March 19 and employees must notify HR by mid-May. Many people clicked the Delete button before reading the memo, but at least one employee accepted the offer within two days of its being made. Meanwhile, layoffs continue, as it was announced this week that Random Value has folded its sales team into the Random sales group, and Brad Parliman, Horace Whyte, and VP Proprietary Publishing Ron Palmer will leave the company. Lynn Bond continues to oversee RHVP.

Michael Friedman has left Barnes & Noble Publishing to pursue new interests. He came to B&N with its purchase of Friedman/Fairfax in 1999. He may be reached at (917) 696-7955 or [email protected]. . . Cathy Fox, VP Director Subsidiary Rights for Putnam, has left the company (email [email protected]). Leigh Butler, SVP, Director of Sub. Rights for the Penguin Group, will take over her responsibilities. . . Hyperion’s Leigh Haber has been named Editor-at-Large, and will now spend part of her time developing a DVD magazine.

John Harris has been named VP, Director of Finance, Planning & Operations for Houghton’s Trade & Reference Division. He succeeds Ellen Faran, who left to become Director of MIT Press. Harris was most recently CFO of Hungry Minds.

Following close on the heels of Neal Goff’s resignation, Scholastic announced the appointment of Joe Reynolds as President of Scholastic Library Publishing, effective immediately. Reynolds was previously President and CEO of ProQuest Information and Learning, which provides services to school and public libraries. Goff may be reached at (917) 541-4034 or [email protected]. L. Spencer Humphrey has also left Scholastic, where she was overseeing licensed characters, including Barney.

More sales moves this month: S&S has promoted National Accounts Manager Mary Beth Thomas to the position of Director of Distribution Clients Services, replacing Gary Fitzgerald. He can be reached at (732) 257-2541 or [email protected]. . . Bill Wolfsthal has been named Director of Specialty Retail at Abrams/STC. He was most recently at Overlook. . . Sabrina Farber has gone to Bloomsbury as Sales & Marketing Director. She was most recently Director of National Accounts for the Crown Group, at Random House.

Yulia Borodyanskaya has been named Sub. Rights Manager for Avalon Publishing Group, working out of the New York office. She was previously at Newmarket Press. . . Katie Hall began her new job as Harcourt Senior Editor. Hall had previously been at Random House.

McGraw-Hill announced two appointments in its Education divisions: William Oldsey has been named EVP McGraw-Hill Education, replacing Julie McGee, and reporting to Henry Hirschberg, who has just been named President.

As noted in PW, Bloomberg Press has streamlined its reporting structure, and John Crutcher has been appointed to the newly created position of Publisher, with Editorial, Marketing, and Sub. Rights reporting to him. He reports to Bill Inman, Editor-in-Chief of Bloomberg Publishing. To elaborate on their announcement, Christine Miles has moved over from Bloomberg Personal Finance magazine, which closed last year, to the Press, as Senior Editor. Kathleen Peterson has been named Executive Editor for an as yet unnamed new professional finance and investing line that will be launched in 2004. Editorial Director Jared Kieling (who recently brought in The Economist books), now reports to Crutcher. Bloomberg Press, which was founded in 1996, has had “continued profit and revenue growth” since its founding.


Rebecca Mancini has been promoted from Associate Director of Subsidiary Rights to Director of Children’s Rights for Houghton Mifflin’s Trade & Reference Division. . . Greer Hendricks, Senior Editor of S&S’s Atria imprint, has been promoted to VP. Jen Bergstrom has been promoted to Associate Publisher of S&S Children’s, and EVP, Publisher Robin Corey was given responsibility for two more imprints
. . . Melody Guy, who runs Villard’s Strivers Row, has been given the added responsibility for Ballantine’s One World.


The Feminist Press celebrates its 33rd year with a gala dinner on April 7. AAP’s Pat Schroeder and Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi are the honorary dinner chairs, and Carol Jenkins is the program host. There will be a tribute to Tillie Olsen, as well as an awards ceremony. Call Lorelei Enterprises at (212) 838-2660 for information.

• NYU’s Center for Publishing is offering a “Scandinavian Literature in Translation” day on April 24th. The focus will be on Sweden, and major Scandinavian publishers — along with American publishers who buy translations (New Press’s Andre Schiffrin, Texere’s Myles and Lee Thompson, etc.) — will be featured on a series of panels. The fee is $75. Contact [email protected] or call (212) 790-3232 for details.

April is National Poetry Month and City Lore and Poets House, in collaboration with the Bowery Poetry Club, will celebrate “A Woodstock for Words” at the People’s Poetry Gathering, April 11-13. The 2003 Theme is ballads and epics, with poets from Bosnia, Lebanon, Morocco, and Pakistan, and a Grand Peace Reading finale. For more information contact City Lore at (800) 333-5982. Also check The Academy of American Poets web site,, for their events calendar.


In the ongoing saga of publications about books, which started with the NYT’s article on Book Magazine’s retrenchment under the “Barnes & Noble Presents” banner, AMS’s Book Street USA has ceased publication. It had first been inserted into various newspapers including USA Today, and boasted a circulation of “almost 2 million,” through 41 newspapers. A later effort to make it a stand-alone was abandoned, and the focus will now be on Pages, the bookstore publication. It has a circulation of more than 7,000, according to its ad sales department.

Meanwhile, rival Book Page has teamed up with Books-A-Million to deliver a customized edition in a different, Parade-like format, and with a cover chosen by BAM. The customized March edition has George W. on the cover, while the generic version has Jim Patterson. A custom version is being developed for BookSense members, with yet another cover, and the BookSense bestseller list on the back cover. Book Page also reaches 3,000 public libraries.

• Barbara Tolley tells Publishing Trends that Livre de poche celebrated its fiftieth anniversary with a reception hosted by Jean-Louis Lisimachio, Président Directeur Général d’Hachette Livre and Dominique Goust, Directeur Général du Livre de Poche at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris on March 4. An exhibition with iconic covers will run for two months at the museum.

• Lynn Goldberg is the lucky winner of veteran editor Larry Ashmead’s rolodex, which was auctioned off to support Books for a Better Life. Ashmead, who is retiring from HarperCollins after 43 years in publishing, was inducted into the BBL Hall of Fame in 2002.

• Carol Fass Publicity and Public Relations has announced the launch of Fass Speakers Bureau (FSB) in Spring 2003. Those who have expressed interest in being a part of FSB include Michael B. Oren, author of Six Days of War; Daniel Levitas, who wrote The Terrorist Next Door; and Phyllis Chesler, Ph.D, author of Women and Madness, and the forthcoming New Anti-Semitism.


Little, Brown’s Asst. Publicity Director Heather Fain and Nickelodeon’s SVP Consumer Products, Leigh Anne Brodsky are among Ad Age’s “Entertainment Marketers of the Year.” Fain is credited with publicizing The Lovely Bones and Brodsky, with licensing SpongeBob SquarePants.


Miranda DeKay will hold a memorial service for her husband George on April 17 at 7:30 at the Century association in the Gallery. Tim Seldes will be the emcee. There will be speakers, music, and then a reception in the Billiard Room.