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News Shorts
Staff -- 7/24/00

Shinker Named Publisher of Free Press | Axe Falls at DK | Sales Up at Musicland
B&N.com Adds Video | Wildlands Press Launched By Photographer
Eveno Quits At Havas | Shandler Moving to LB | Olson Confirmed

Shinker Named Publisher of Free Press

Shinker: Next stop,
Free Press.

Publishing veteran Bill Shinker will rejoin the industry July 31 when he takes over as vice-president and publisher of Simon & Schuster's Free Press imprint. Since his departure from Broadway Books last May, Shinker told PW he has "talked with e-book publishers, dot-com companies and other publishers," but felt that the spot at Free Press "was the ideal fit for me and for them." The imprint has been without a publisher since Paula Duffy left in May for the University of Chicago Press. Shinker will report to S&S trade division president Carolyn Reidy, who called Shinker's career of publishing nonfiction "nonpareil."

Shinker's mandate at Free Press is to broaden its publishing program by increasing the number of books it publishes in its existing areas as well as adding new fields. Shinker will also be in charge of expanding the S&S trade division's reference publishing operations, which include the forthcoming Wall Street Journal Books imprint as well as the ongoing Harvard Medical School series. Shinker said he will consider adding reference books in such areas as health, personal finance and business. Bill Rosen, v-p, executive editor and director of reference publishing, will now report to Shinker. Despite the reporting change, S&S reference titles will continue to be released under a wide range of imprints. Two other S&S senior editors will be moving to Free Press, Fred Hills and Dominick Anfuso.

Free Press publishes about 80 titles annually, and although that number will increase, Shinker said he didn't want to "get pinned down to a specific number. My intention is to grow the business." Shinker is looking to hire one new editor for the imprint and expects to add publicity people as the list grows.
--Jim Milliot

Axe Falls at DKDK Publishing is undergoing a massive reorganization that will substantially restructure its U.K. operations and close its DK Family Learning (DKFL) division around the world. The changes, which were prompted by DK's purchase by Pearson earlier this year, will result in the elimination of 450 jobs, including 350 in the DKFL unit. DK had a worldwide staff of 2000.

Although no job cuts are planned for DK's publishing program in the U.S., the American arm of DKFL will be phased out by the end of September, with a loss of about 70 positions. Anthony Forbes Watson, chief executive of DK and Penguin UK, said that while sales had increased at DKFL, profits have fallen and there was little chance that the situation could be reversed.

Among the changes in the U.K. publishing operation, management of the Penguin and DK sales teams will be united and the export departments will be integrated. A new digital media division is also being formed that will house all of DK and Penguin's nonprint publishing programs and will be responsible for all digital activity, including the creation and management of digital content and digital distribution. As a result of the new division, DK will stop its own production of CD-ROM frontlist titles and its backlist will be transferred to the digital division.

According to Penguin, the changes announced last week will prepare the way for DK and Penguin UK to be managed by one board that will be established by the end of the year.
--Jim Milliot

Sales Up at MusiclandMusicland reported that sales in its Media Play and On Cue superstores rose 9.7% for the second quarter ended June 30, 2000, to $144.9 million. The increase was led by a comparable-store gain of 3.3% in the quarter and the addition of 31 new outlets. Musicland ended the first half of 2000 with 263 superstores. Revenues in Musicland's fledgling e-retailing operations totaled $1.7 million in the period, compared to $300,000 in the second quarter of 1999. Operating loss in the period from its e-commerce effort was $1.9 million compared to $700,000.

For the first half of the year, superstore sales were up 7.8% to $297 million, with same-store sales ahead 2.2%. E-commerce revenues were $3.6 million.

B&N.com Adds Video Joining such competitors as Amazon.com and Borders.com, Barnes&Noble.com has begun selling "tens of thousands" of movie titles in both DVD and VHS formats.

Called the Video Store, the section uses the All-Movie Guide database, which lists 16 major genres and 800 subcategories. It also contains more than 65,000 cast and crew filmographies, movie reviews and ratings and recommendations. In the DVD area, customers can also read interviews, chat with stars and write their own reviews. The Video Interview Gallery allows fans to view clips of major stars.

With the Video Store, the company has also introduced Art House, a shop for "the best independent, documentary and international films." Facets, an independent film distributor, will provide exclusive editorial content and recommendations. Other specialty stores include Warner Vintage Classics, National Geographic, Disney Kids and Family, and Miramax.

Wildlands Press Launched By Photographer

Wolfe: Taking
charge of his work.
Award-winning nature photographer Art Wolfe is launching his own publishing house, Wildlands Press, which will be based in Seattle and be distributed by Publishers Group West.
The first title, The Living Wild, due out in September, contains 230 color photographs by Wolfe and 156 maps, and will include an introduction by Wildlife Conservation Society president William Conway. Serial rights have been sold to Life (for its final issue), Audubon and Outdoor Photographer, among others. A second printing of 15,000 was scheduled for September when preorders exceeded the first printing of 20,000. A third printing is in the works for December.

Wolfe, who has more than 40 books to his name and still publishes regularly with Sasquatch Books, Dutton Children's Books and Stewart, Tabori & Chang, "just wanted to take more control over his work," explained marketing and publicity director Alice Acheson of his decision to launch his own publishing venture. Since he is often off photographing, however, Wolfe has turned the management of the press over to executive editor Ray Pfortner, whose previous credits include positions with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Park Service.

Wolfe will be making a 10-city tour with a slide, music and video multimedia presentation to promote The Living Wild, which has a $75,000 publicity and marketing budget. One stop will be at the Mountains and Plains Booksellers Association trade show. Future titles to be published by Wildlands include The High Himalaya (spring 2001) and The Rockies (fall 2001), both by Wolfe. The press will likely do books by other photographers as well.
--Roxane Farmanfarmaian

Eveno Quits At HavasOne of France's best-known publishing directors is calling it quits at the Vivendi Havas group--France's biggest--to reshape his career in the direction of hands-on publishing, a notion that d sn't exclude forays into new media or a foreign connection. He is Bertrand Eveno, who joined Havas in 1986 as president and publisher of the Nathan school and children's book group, went on to run the trade publishing department, later the professional group, and is presently chairman of the Havas Education and Reference group, which includes Nathan, Larousse, the Robert dictionaries and Bordas.

In recent times Eveno spearheaded Havas's expansion abroad, notably in assisting in the acquisition of the Spanish school, professional, and trade group Anaya, as well as in negotiating a partnership with Brazil's educational market leader Atica Scipione.
--Herbert R. Lottman

Shandler Moving to LBLittle, Brown has added two to its editorial team, naming Geoff Shandler executive editor and Deborah Baker senior editor.

Shandler, currently senior editor at Public Affairs, will join LB after Labor Day and succeeds the retired Bill Phillips. At Public Affairs, Shandler acquired Blind Man's Bluff and Black Mass, and edited George Soros's The Crisis of Global Capitalism and In Retrospect by Robert McNamara. Shandler will report to LB editor-in-chief Michael Pietsch, who said, "We're very excited about the entrepreneurial approach to acquisitions and editing that he brings with him to Little, Brown."

Baker joined LB from Kodansha and is focusing on acquiring nonfiction titles in such areas as health, childcare, spirituality and cooking.

Golob to Public Affairs
Meanwhile, Paul Golob, who worked with Public Affairs president Peter Osnos at Times Books and subsequently had stints at Basic Books, the Free Press and finally the New York Times will be joining Public Affairs as executive editor after Labor Day. Authors he has worked with include Jimmy Carter, Francis Fukuyama and Pulitzer Prize-winner Leon Dash.

Olson ConfirmedThe future appointment of Random House's Peter Olson to the Bertelsmann executive board, with responsibility for worldwide Bertelsmann book publishing (News, Dec. 13), was formally ratified by the supervisory board on July 12. Not only will Olson be the first American to be named to the German media group's executive board, but beginning in April 2001, the global book division will take the name Random House.

At that time, as previously announced, the ubiquitous Bertelsmann book clubs will be detached from the book division, to join multimedia activities in a newly created direct-to-customer division, under Klaus Eierhoff. Until April, Frank Wossner remains at the helm of Buch AG.
--Herbert R.Lottman


Kovalchick Dies at 61
Sally Kovalchick, a 26-year veteran at Workman Publishing and its editor-in-chief for the past three years, died July 15, apparently of a heart attack. She was 61.

She began in publishing at Doubleday, then went to Random as an editor before joining Workman in 1974 as senior editor. During her tenure she oversaw publication of at least 15 bestsellers, including The Preppy Handbook, Cat by B. Kliban, the humorous dictionaries of Henry Beard and Roy McKie, the Brain Quest children's series, the Smith & Hawken gardening books and the Page-a-Day calendars. According to CEO Peter Workman, "Sally quietly gave birth to enormous bestsellers that achieved cult status." Family and friends are establishing the Sally Kovalchick Literary Fund in her memory at her hometown library. Donations should be sent to the Indiana Free Library at 845 Philadelphia St., Indiana, Pa. 15701.

Vestal Dead At 69
Jeanne Vestal, a pioneer in the children's book industry, died on July 8 at the age of 69. Vestal's first jobs in publishing were in the children's departments of G.P. Putnam's Sons and Alfred A. Knopf, then in the newly created children's department of Dial Press. Vestal went on to work in the New York office of J.B. Lippincott Company, where she worked with, among others, Vera and Bill Cleaver. In 1974 she joined Grosset & Dunlap, going on to become v-p and editorial director of Franklin Watts, where she remained for 15 years. During this time she was honored as part of a group of Distinguished Women in Publishing. She joined 21st Century Books in 1992 when Henry Holt purchased it, and retired from that position in 1998. A memorial service will be announced at a later date.

Mabel Dies at 71
Leo P. Mabel, retired publishing executive, died over the Independence Day weekend at the age of 71. The positions Mabel held included vice-president of Henry M. Snyder, the Macmillan Company and Crowell Collier Macmillan; he also served as president of Collier Macmillan International. Among his achievements were the English translations of The Diary of Anne Frank and The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, as well as the ESL series English 900 and English This Way.
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