Mixed Quarter for Trade
Sales at Simon & Schuster fell 6% in the third quarter and were slightly below last year's level for the first nine months of the year. The decline in the third period was attributed to a dip in adult sales and weak sales in the U.K.
Time Warner reported that sales at the Time Warner Book Group were up in the quarter, with TWBG a major contributor to a $13-million increase in "content" revenue in TW's publishing group. Penguin Group's sales for the nine months rose 2%, according to parent company Pearson. Penguin's sales had been up 3% at the six-month period, but weaker second-half publishing slowed recent growth.
Random's Movie Venture
Random House has formed a partnership with NBC Universal subsidiary Focus Features to finance and produce films based on Random House books. Random's part of the venture will be overseen by Peter Gethers, who has been named president of the newly formed Random House Films division. RHF plans to do one to three "reasonably budgeted" films per year. Focus Features' recent films include Constant Gardener and Brokeback Mountain.
Schrier New Head of RD
After seven years as president and CEO of Reader's Digest, Tom Ryder will step down at the end of the year, and Eric Schrier, president of RD North America, will take over as the head of the company. Ryder, who will continue on as chairman through 2006, oversaw a major overhaul of the book and magazine publisher.
Korda Retires At 72
Legendary editor Michael Korda will retire as editor-in-chief of the Simon & Schuster trade imprint. Korda, who has spent 47 years at S&S, has worked with some of the biggest authors, celebrities and politicians during his lengthy career; the long list includes Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, Graham Greene, Jackie Collins and Cher. Korda will assume the title of editor-in-chief emeritus when he exits S&S at the end of the year.
Solid Second For Indigo
Revenue rose 10.8%, to C$186.7 million ($158 million) in the second quarter at Canadian bookselling giant Indigo Books & Music, and the company reported a profit of C$1.1 million ($935,000), compared to a net loss of C$7.8 million in last year's second quarter. Excluding sales from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, store revenue was up 6.9% and online sales increased 32.1%.
For the first six months of the fiscal year, total sales increased 8.1%, to C$350.8 million, and the loss was cut to C$7 million from C$18.8 million.
Glusman Leaving FSG
After more than a decade at Farrar, Straus & Giroux, v-p and editor-in-chief John Glusman is stepping down. Among the award-winning authors he has worked with at FSG are Jim Crace and Rose Tremain. FSG has not yet named a replacement for him.
Kensington Shuffles Eds
Michaela Hamilton has moved from her post as editor-in-chief of Kensington Publishing's Kensington Books imprint to the same spot at the house's Citadel Press. The move, which will fill the vacancy left by Gene Brissie (who decamped last month for Globe Pequot), has also resulted in the promotion of John Scognamiglio from Kensington editorial director to editor-in-chief of Kensington Books.
New Firm Buys XanEdu
National Archive Publishing Company, a new company formed by former executives at ProQuest's information and learning group, has acquired a number of the group's assets. The purchase included ProQuest's XanEdu custom publishing business as well as UMI Periodicals in Microform and the microfilm and digitization service operations. Dan Arbour, v-p of North American sales for the ProQuest information and learning group, heads the team that formed NAPC.
Collins Goes Solo
After the dissolution of Collins McCormick, her agency with one-time partner David McCormick, Nina Collins has set up shop on her own. Collins Literary, which currently has a staff of two (Matthew Elblonk, who was at CM, is on board), is housed at the old digs of Collins McCormick. Collins can now be reached, via e-mail, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NYCC Bags Lee, Meltzer
DC Comics star artist Jim Lee (All-Star Batman) and writer Brad Meltzer (Identity Crisis) will be guests of honor for the first New York Comic-con, slated for the Javits Center in February 2006. DC also announced that Meltzer, a bestselling prose novelist, has signed an exclusive deal to create a new comics work to follow up his graphic novel Identity Crisis.