Scholastic Hiring Freeze
In an effort to cut up to $30 million in costs, Scholastic has instituted a hiring freeze and will reduce staffing in book clubs and other divisions, cut general expenses by 30%, and not give management bonuses in fiscal 2013.
Scholastic Earnings Fall 24%
Sales and earnings fell at Scholastic for the second quarter ended November 30, with revenue down 10%, to $616.2 million, and net income off 24%, to $61.8 million. Sales were down in all operating groups. Children’s book publishing and distribution declined 11%, to $350.1 million; softer sales of the Hunger Games series led to a 26% decline in trade sales, to $51.1 million, and book club sales fell 21% due to school closings after superstorm Sandy. Book fair sales rose 1%.
Perseus Shuffles Executives
Perseus president and CEO David Steinberger shuffled executive duties, and now all three client lines—Consortium (headed by Julie Schaper), Perseus Distribution (headed by Sabrina McCarthy), and PGW (headed by Susan Reich) will report directly to COO Joe Mangan. In addition, Perseus’s sales team under Matty Goldberg will now report to CFO Charles Gallagher, as will Supply Chain, under Greg Anastas.
Penguin Settles With DoJ
Penguin Group (USA) has joined the Department of Justice’s settlement in the e-book price-fixing lawsuit. Terms are nearly identical to agreements reached with Simon & Schuster, Hachette, and HarperCollins, and if the Random House–Penguin merger is approved, the newly formed company must also abide by the agreement. Macmillan and Apple continue to fight the DoJ charges.
Shelly Bond to Head Vertigo
In a move aimed at maintaining editorial continuity, longtime Vertigo editor Shelly Bond has been promoted to executive editor of DC Comics’ Vertigo imprint, succeeding former senior v-p and executive editor Karen Berger, who is stepping down after directing Vertigo for nearly 20 years. DC has also promoted Will Dennis to group editor at Vertigo and Mark Doyle to editor, Vertigo.
Vantage Press Closes
Founded in 1949 and one of the original “vanity” presses, Vantage Press has closed three years after its acquisition by media investment banker David Lamb. Creditors were told in a letter: “Vantage does not have sufficient revenue to sustain itself as a going concern.” All inquiries are being directed to the law firm of Hendel & Collins and partner Joseph B. Collins in Springfield, Mass. The letter cites “substantial” liabilities to general and unsecured creditors against which Vantage has few assets.
Brilliance Audio Enters Print, E-book Market
Audiobook publisher Brilliance Audio will begin publishing hardcover, trade paperbacks, and e-book originals next year under the Grand Harbor Press imprint. Grand Harbor will focus on self-help and inspirational categories and plans to release 10 titles in its first year. Its first book will be Happy This Year! by Will Bowen, set for release April 9. An app to accompany the title will be released early next year. Acquisitions will be headed by Brilliance’s associate publisher, Gary Krebs, who will split his time between New York and Brilliance’s Grand Haven, Mich., office.
Macmillan Changes Terms
Macmillan has made some changes in its agency agreement, canceling all of its retailer e-book contracts and negotiating new ones with all but one customer whose term was not up yet. According to Macmillan, all the new contracts are compliant with the government’s requests in their complaint and contain no most-favored nations clauses and no price limits. The contracts allow 10% discounting on individual books priced at $13.99 and above.
Vuleta to Head SCIBA
Longtime children’s bookseller Andrea Vuleta, general manager of Mrs. Nelson’s Toy and Book Shop in La Verne, Calif., has been tapped to replace Jennifer Bigelow as executive director of the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association starting next month.