News Shorts
Staff -- 12/4/00

HC, AMP on Board As M. I. L. K. Partners | Greenwood Acquires Oryx Press
B&N, Gemstar: No Merger | Salamon Joins Thomas Nelson | New Name, Partner for
Pocket Hires Two | World Acquires Brompton Assets | Loss Deepens at Hastings
Hurley to Head 'PW' Ad Sales for Europe | Obituary

HC, AMP on Board As M. I. L. K. PartnersHodder Headline's New Zealand subsidiary announced last week that its new M.I.L.K. division has signed agreements with three American companies to develop products based on photographs drawn from a worldwide photographic competition held in late 1999 that attracted 17,000 photographers from 164 countries. M.I.L.K., an acronym for Moments of Intimacy, Laughter and Kinship, is the brainchild of Geoff Blackwell, who said the 1950s exhibition "The Family of Man" inspired the new project.
M.I.L.K.'s lead title.
Three books are set to be released in the U.S. next year by HarperCollins's William Morrow imprint. The first title, Family, with a prologue by James McBride, is scheduled to be published in April, while Friendship, with a prologue by Maeve Binchy, and Love, featuring a prologue by Kim Phuc with Anne Bayin, will be released in August. Current plans call for a worldwide printing of 450,000 total copies that will span 20 countries and 10 languages.
Andrews McMeel Publishing intends to publish three 12"x12" calendars for 2002--Family, Friendship and Love--with a mid-2001 release, and the company may also publish other calendar products, such as date books and a showcase calendar. Fotofolio will market a range of M.I.L.K. blank note cards, blank postcards and posters.

Blackwell said he hopes to establish a brand that will celebrate humanity and expects to develop future projects beyond next year's launch list.
--Jim Milliot

Greenwood Acquires Oryx PressThe Greenwood Publishing Group has completed the acquisition of Oryx Press, the Ph nix, Ariz., information publisher. Terms of the sale were not disclosed.

Founded in 1975 by Phyllis Steckler, Oryx has a backlist of approximately 650 titles. The company is best known for its reference books and databases in the library, education and business markets. Key products include the GrantSelect database and the American Council on Education series on Higher Education, published in cooperation with ACE.

Greenwood intends to maintain the Oryx name and hopes to keep key employees in editorial, electronic publishing and marketing. Although the Ph nix office will be phased out, employees will be offered the chance to relocate to Greenwood's Westport, Conn., headquarters or to telecommute. Steckler will act as a consultant to Greenwood, focusing on communicating with the library community.

Wayne Smith, Greenwood president and CEO, said Greenwood's goal "is to take the Oryx brand and to leverage it throughout the library community." With the addition of Oryx, Greenwood, a unit of Reed Elsevier, has a total backlist of more than 18,000 titles and seeks to acquire more. "We're in an acquisitive mode," noted Bob Birch, director of sales and marketing for Greenwood.
--Jim Milliot

B&N, Gemstar: No MergerIn a joint statement issued November 29, Gemstar and Barnes & Noble said that they have no current plans for a merger, acquisition or business combination. The latest announcement came after B&N, which had initially acknowledged talking to Gemstar about working together but said a merger was not a possibility, issued a second statement that talks had expanded and a merger was possible.

In the third announcement, the two companies said they will continue to discuss ways to work together, particularly in the e-book field, but that no merger is in the offing. "We will continue to pursue the many exciting opportunities in e-books," said Gemstar chairman Henry Yuen, adding,
"We will be focused on establishing a win-win strategic alliance with Barnes & Noble." B&N chairman Len Riggio commented, "We look forward to working with Gemstar on other possible business or marketing alliances, particularly in the e-book sector."

Salamon Joins Thomas NelsonFran Salamon, president of Spring Arbor Distributors, a division of Ingram Industries, has accepted a job with Thomas Nelson Publishers as chief operating officer of the company's C.R. Gibson gift products subsidiary. Salamon, who will report to Gibson president Joseph Moore, has also been named an executive v-p at Nelson. Her appointment is effective today, December 4.

"It's a good opportunity, and I couldn't be more excited," Salamon said. "This job matches my skill set, and it's a great group of people, very talented. It's a nice fit." Salamon earned a reputation at Ingram for turning around the bottom line of her divisions, serving as president of Ingram Periodicals during 1994-1999 and as president of Spring Arbor since July 1999. Nelson's Gibson division has been struggling in recent quarters, with sales in the most recent period down nearly 6% (News, Nov. 6). Moore said Salamon "will help us to narrow our focus" in the album and memory products market.
--Cindy Crosby

New Name, Partner for, a firm specializing in digital content delivery, has changed its name to Digital Goods and announced an alliance with Reciprocal, the digital rights management and e-commerce service provider.

Digital Goods became widely known for serving as the digital wholesaler of Stephen King's e-book Riding the Bullet.

Scott Griffith, chairman and CEO of Digital Goods, said, "We are thrilled to offer publishers a powerful end-to-end service that will not only help them distribute their valuable content in a secure manner, but also will help unleash the value of their content by providing them with powerful marketing tools."

Both companies pointed to a recent survey by Andersen Consulting pegging the market for secure digital content at $50 million to $60 million by 2005. "The Internet is becoming the delivery vehicle of choice," said Kurt Dressel, executive v-p of marketing at Digital Goods.

Under the agreement, DG will serve as a reseller of Reciprocal's Digital Clearing Service, its e-commerce and DRM services, as well as its own SoftLock DRM products. Reciprocal, in turn, will market DG's content marketing services to its book, music, video and software publishers. Reciprocal's DCS service offers digital content, from text to graphics to video, across multiple DRM platforms. DG offers a suite of interactive marketing tools, among them an online affiliate network specializing in viral marketing, customized promotions and search engine capabilities.

Pocket Hires TwoPocket Books is adding new blood with the appointments of a new editorial director for women's fiction as well as a new director for its Washington Square imprint. Maggie Crawford, who has been editorial director, mass market, at Warner Books, has been named v-p and editorial director for women's fiction at Pocket, where she will report to Pocket president Judith Curr. She succeeds Linda Marrow. Crawford, who will start at Pocket January 2, will oversee the hardcover, trade paperback and mass market publishing programs of the division's women's fiction department.

Washington Square Press's new director is Rosemary Ahern, who will join Pocket on December 11. Ahern, who will report to Pocket v-p and editorial director Tracy Behar, is charged with building the Washington Square list. Ahern, who replaces Nancy Miller, has been editor-in-chief of Penguin Putnam's Plume imprint since 1999.

World Acquires Brompton AssetsEffective November 14, the publishing assets of Brompton Books Corp. were awarded in a federal bankruptcy proceeding to JG Press, the promotional publishing arm of World Publications. The transaction involves approximately 350 titles from the Greenwich, Conn.- based Brompton, formerly a prominent promotional book packager. World, located in North Dighton, Mass., is one of the country's largest remainder dealers.

World president Jeff Press told PW, "We hope that this will make JG Press and World Publications a major player in promotional book publishing. We're already working hard to relaunch a number of the Brompton bestselling titles so that we'll be able to introduce them at the London Book Fair." He added that Brompton had been "very strong in a number of subject areas, particularly history, art and entertainment." World will not continue using the Brompton Books name.
--Dick Donahue

Loss Deepens at Hastings A onetime charge of $2.7 million for costs associated with the closing of two superstores as well a $2.2-million write-down of aged inventory were two of the main factors behind an increase in Hastings's net loss for the third quarter ended October 31, 2000, to $12 million from $2.7 million in the same quarter last year. Sales at the retailer dipped to $100.4 million from $100.9 million; comparable-store sales were off 1.6% due primarily to lower video rental revenue.

Hastings also announced last week that it had promoted Dan Crow from v-p, finance, to chief financial officer. Crow said that, following the fourth quarter, the company will review the performances of all its stores to identify any outlets not hitting acceptable profitability levels. At the end of the quarter, Hastings had 144 superstores and noted that it was "very optimistic about our prospects in the medium market towns."

Shortly after the quarter was completed, the Hastings board approved Ernst & Young as the retailer's new auditors. Hastings dismissed KPMG as its auditors earlier this fall (News, Oct. 23).

Hurley to Head 'PW' Ad Sales for EuropeMatthew Hurley, Publishers Weekly's Midwest and Canadian advertising sales representative, has also been named director of European sales. Hurley will continue to handle advertising sales for the Midwest and Canada.

Hurley will succeed Lionel O'Hara, who has been named director of European sales for Variety. Hurley told PW, "I look forward to building a stronger relationship with the European publishing community and assisting U.S. and Canadian houses continue their expansion into the European market."

He can be reached at (630) 759-7136 or by e-mail at

Obituary: Max Meyerson, 86Max Meyerson, who was with Harper & Row for 19 years, died September 29. He was 86. Meyerson joined H&R in 1964 and was director of credit and collections when he retired in 1983. Meyerson was instrumental in establishing a number of large accounts that HarperCollins still services today, including Barnes & Noble, Waldenbooks and Baker & Taylor.