HM T&R Slips

Despite a buoyant first quarter that saw trade sales rise 4% on the strength of Jonathan Safran Foer and others, Houghton Mifflin's second-quarter trade and reference sales fell $5 million, to $28.4 million, a slide of 15.5%. Overall, Houghton got a boost from its educational divisions, particularly the k-12 units, which rose 6% after dropping nearly 12% last year. Overall sales spiked upward 3.2%, to $344 million.

At NYTBR, Lipson Retires, Just Rises

Longtime New York Times Book Review children's books editor Eden Ross Lipson is retiring and will be replaced by deputy editor Julie Just, who will scale back her hours for the part-time position. Bob Harris has been promoted to deputy editor to replace Just. Separately, Dwight Garner has been promoted to senior editor and will assist Harris and TBReditor Sam Tanenhaus in overseeing the compilation of the review each week.

Nelson Sales Drop 7%

First-quarter revenues at Thomas Nelson dropped 7%, to $45million. Thomas Nelson publisher Mike Hyatt pointed to the lack of a major first-quarter release as a reason for the drop. He also warned of a possible slide in second-quarter revenue but was optimistic about the third quarter, pointing to a forthcoming Max Lucado title.

New Pleas in AMS Case

Former v-p of advertising Sandra Miller Christie has copped a plea in the AMS case, admitting to conspiring with former staff to inflate the ad department's profitability. Christie, who worked at AMS from 1997 to 2004, also admitted directing another employee to falsify warehouse club records, also a criminal charge. In March she was charged with conspiracy, 19 counts of wire fraud and 13 counts of falsifying books. The SEC also filed separate charges against her. AMS marketing execs Karyn Ann Larko and Marcy Wilson Roke have pleaded guilty to similar charges. The assistant U.S. attorney involved in the probe said the investigation will continue.

Irving Wins Rare Mea Culpa

Incensed by what he felt was an ad hominem review of his new novel Until I Find You, John Irving sent a note to the Washington Post Book World pointing out the reviewer, Marianne Wiggins, may have had a prior association with the author. The result? A rare apology from the newspaper, which read, in part, "Had we known that Irving had dedicated one of his earlier novels to Marianne Wiggins's ex-husband, Salman Rushdie, and had we known that Irving and Wiggins had socialized with each other in the past, we would not have made the assignment." (The paper's contibutor agreement requires reviewers to disclose prior contact.) The situation appears resolved, though what this will mean in the incestuous world of book reviewing remains very much unresolved.

Koen to Liquidate

After 35 years in business and a tumultuous few weeks in Chapter 11, Koen Book Distributors closed last Thursday, as the company was unable to stave off liquidation. Koen has outstanding debts of close to $21 million, including about $14 million owed to publishers. "We couldn't fight any longer," wrote Koen in an e-mail. The news hit booksellers hard; Koen had extended credit to numerous indies in New England and the Mid-Atlantic states over the decades.

Shinker Rises At Gotham

Gotham Books v-p and publisher Bill Shinker has been promoted to president and publisher. Gotham's had a number of hits recently, most notably the British import Eats, Shoots and Leaves. Gotham will celebrate its four-year anniversary next month.

Google Offers Compromise

Google said last week it will allow publishers to not participate in its Google Print for Library program. But publishers said it was not enough. Essentially, the company is making the program an opt-out instead of an opt-in. (Earlier, the firm had said that all books would be a part of it, regardless of publisher preference.) But the AAP, one of the key opponents to the program, objected, with president Pat Schroeder saying in a statement that "Google's announcement does nothing to relieve the publishing industry's concerns."