Laurie Brown is leaving FSG, where she was SVP, Director Sales & Marketing. Her duties will be assumed by Jeff Seroy and Linda Rosenberg. . . Gary Gentel has been named VP Sales, Trade Division at Scholastic. He was most recently with Dorling Kindersley. . . John Schline has been made SVP, Corporate Director of Business Affairs for Penguin Putnam. . . Dan Weiss was named President of SparkNotes.com, following the departure of founder and General Manager, Sam Yagan. Robert Riger has been hired as on-site publishing consultant to the company, which is owned by Barnes & Noble. . . Following the demise of Talk/Miramax magazine, account executive Perry Janoski has moved to Harper’s Magazine where he will cover book publishing as well as travel and entertainment.
As announced earlier, Chris McInerney is closing her scouting agency, McInerney International, at the end of June, after 28 years in business. Barbara Tolley will lead the agency (with a name change in the wings) as of July 1. Jayne Pliner plans to remain with the firm. . . HarperCollins has appointed Maureen O’Brien as Executive Editor at Morrow/Avon, where she will acquire commercial fiction and nonfiction for HarperEntertainment as well as the entire Morrow/Avon division. She was most recently at Hyperion. . . Joel Conarroe has been named the PEN Center’s new President. Conarroe, who will step down in December from the presidency of the Guggenheim Foundation after eighteen years in the post, was formerly Chairman of the National Book Foundation and served several terms on the PEN Board.
Greg Anastas has been named the new Director of National Field & Online Sales at Simon & Schuster. (We reported last month that he had left the company — our apologies.)
Despite well-documented troubles in book publishing, there has been a lot of M & A activity recently, with deals for Klutz Press, Berlitz, Running Press, PGW and Bonus Books announced in the last month. According to one knowledgeable source, all of them were sold for sums that were “satisfactory or better than satisfactory” for the sellers. For those who are still looking to scoop up a publisher, Prentice Hall Direct is still on the block. Merriam-Webster and North-South have been taken off the market, though. Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, Random House has signed an agreement to purchase The Harvill Press. Founded in 1946 and acquired in the ’80s by Christopher Maclehose, it will remain an independent imprint. Harvill’s paperback list will be published by Vintage.
• In the industry professionals-turned-writers column we can now add Toinette Lippe, editor of Bell Tower books, whose Nothing Left Over has just been issued by Tarcher. She may be seen and heard on April 23 at the 82nd and Broadway Barnes & Noble at 7:30 pm. Then to California for the rest of her tour. Agent Emma Sweeney’s As Always, Jack from Little, Brown will be launched with an appearance on the CBS Early Show on April 10 and followed by numerous autograph sessions in New York and environs as well as Texas, Maryland, DC, and North Carolina.
Meanwhile, BOMC’s Victoria Skurnick and co-writer Cynthia Katz team up for the seventh Cynthia Victor book, The Three of Us. “At times funny and other times thoughtful and poignant,” PW says, “this inspirational story is the perfect elixir for any middle-aged woman who has ever battled with weight gain, a particularly difficult relationship or suffered an identity crisis.”
• Amazon had 30.1 million unique visitors in January, compared with Yahoo! Shopping (25.8 million), and Barnes & Noble, the #3 site, at 8.2 million, according to Jupiter Media Metrix. BN.com is the heaviest advertiser in the books, movies, and music category, followed by Columbia House and Amazon. Together they represent 71% of all advertising in this category. Online book shopping expenditures in 2002 are estimated at $2.6 billion. There will be 82 million people shopping online this year, which represents 52% of the online population, and an average dollar expenditure per online buyer of $481.
• The Daily News reports that the New York Times has online revenues of $700,000 from its 35,000 subscribers to Premium Crosswords, and that fees for archive material now amount to a seven-figure business. Topic-specific content is also being assembled and sold, including Thomas Friedman’s columns.
• PubEasy introduced Central Services at the London Book Fair, and US rep John Phillips tells PT it will launch first in the UK. The service allows booksellers around the world to check any participating publisher’s stock, the status of an order, or to place an order, by going to the site and entering the title’s ISBN. There are currently 9,000 booksellers in 112 countries using PubEasy, with 40% of those in the US, and 35% in the UK.
The National Book Foundation sponsors an evening of poetry for National Poetry Month on April 9 at 6:30 pm at the Blue Heron Arts Center. Tickets will be sold at the door. Go to www.nationalbook.org. (Separately, NBF said it had received a $100,000 gift from Microsoft to support the organization’s “continued recognition of books in electronic formats.”)
• The Koret Foundation’s Jewish Book Awards are presented 5:30-7:30 pm on April 15 at the Harvard Club. Call (212) 629-0500 for information.
• Small Press Center and PW host a “Publishing Predictions” Roundtable at the Algonquin at 6:00 – 8:00 pm on April 17. Panelists include Bob Miller, Dominique Raccah, Peter Mayer, and PT’s own Lorraine Shanley. For information call (212) 764-7021.
• University of Virginia & Library of Congress host “Publishing in the 21st Century: Blue Sky to Black Ink,” a seminar on the “alliance of electronic and print publishing.” Larry Kirshbaum is the keynote speaker, with “Blue Sky to Red Ink: Painful Lessons Learned on the Digital Publishing Highway.” It’s on April 18 – 20 in Washington, DC. Contact Beverly Jane Loo at (434) 982-5345.
• The LA Times Festival of Books will be held April 27-28 on the UCLA campus. The LA Times Book Awards will be held on April 27 at UCLA’s Royce Hall. Go to: www.latimes.com/festivalofbooks.
Big parties in March, warming publishers up for the BEA onslaught (see PT, p. 3). First there was the elegant Poets & Writers gala at the Tribeca Rooftop, then there was the National Book Critics Circle awards and reception at NYU, and then, on to London. HarperCollins and Fourth Estate threw a cocktail party at Home House on Portman Square, where a multinational crowd drank champagne. The same night Duncan Baird celebrated his 10th anniversary as an independent publisher at the Groucho Club in Soho.
• Back in the US, Roundtable’s Marsha Melnick and Julie Merberg hosted a farewell retirement party for Susan Meyer, who is launching a new career: studying NYC history at NYU and planning to write full time. Attending were VNU North American Chairman Jerry Hobbs and Georgina Challis, Corporate Communications and HR, Penguin Putnam’s Rick Kot, HarperCollins’ Susan Friedland, Disney’s Wendy Lefkon, and packager Paul Fargis, among others.
• Publishing Trends celebrated its 8th anniversary and the 12th anniversary of its owner, Market Partners International, on March 25 at the Mercantile Library.
To Barbara Marcus, who was honored by the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund at a luncheon on March 21 at the Waldorf. She was one of five women to receive the 2002 Aiming High Award.
To the Library of America, which turns 20 in April (the year of its first publication — it was founded in 1979 by Jason Epstein, who was just presented with the NBCC Lifetime Achievement Award). And to another spring baby, HarperSan Francisco, which turned 25 in March.
To Reader’s Digest’s Alfredo Santana, and Lisa Tatsuuma, proud parents of Camilla Sayuri Santana, born Feb 4.
Gwenda David, legendary UK scout for Viking and Book-of-the-Month Club for more than five decades, has died in London. She will be remembered for bringing Iris Murdoch and Muriel Spark to US readers.