Scholastic to Sell Home Continuities; Quarter Up
Scholastic will sell its money-losing home continuities business while retaining its smaller school continuities unit. In the second quarter, the entire continuities division had sales of $45.3 million; the direct-to-home portion contributed sales of $33.2 million with an operating loss of $6.1 million.
For the entire company, second-quarter revenue rose 1.5%, to $746.2 million, and net income inched up to $75.6 million from $75.1 million. In its children's book publishing and distribution segment, sales fell 3%, to $431.3 million. Within the group, trade sales rose 11.5%; book fair revenue rose to $172.5 million from $170.0 million; and school book club revenue fell 6%.
New Scholastic Series
Scholastic has signed Rick Riordan, author of the bestselling Percy Jackson series, for a multiplatform middle-grade adventure series that will debut next September. The 39 Clues will feature 10 books and will incorporate a book publishing program, collectible cards, an online game and more than $100,000 in prizes.
Ehrenfeld Loses Appeal
The New York Court of Appeals has denied a bid by author Rachel Ehrenfeld to have a U.S. court declare a libel judgment issued against her in the U.K. unenforceable in America. Ehrenfeld filed her suit after losing a libel lawsuit filed against her in the U.K. by Saudi businessman Khalid Salim bin Mahfouz over her book Funding Evil. The appeals court found that New York courts did not have jurisdiction to rule in the case, rejecting Ehrenfeld's argument that the state's “long-arm statute” applied to Mahfouz. Mahfouz's decision to file suit in the U.K. for libel, although the book was never published there, has been cited as a primary example in the growing trend of “libel tourism.”
Parable Buys IRG
Parable Franchising has reached an agreement to acquire Insight Retail Group. IRG has three divisions: Lemstone Christian Store franchises; non-franchise Insight Retail Affiliate stores, which purchase operational and marketing services; and Church Bookstore Solutions. The acquisition brings the number of Parable stores to 200.
Borders, Sony Launch Online Store
Borders has joined with Sony to launch a co-branded online store offering e-book titles for the Sony Reader. The new Borders/Sony online e-book store will offer access to the 25,000 titles available for the device that are sold through the Sony eBook Store.
New Harbinger, Finney Make Deals
New Harbinger Publications acquired Instant Help Books, the Norwalk, Conn.—based publisher of workbooks used by mental health professionals and educators on topics related to children's and teens' emotional issues.
Finney Co. bought Astragal Press, which publishes 90 titles about antique tools and early trades and technologies.
Our January On-Sale Calendar (Dec. 17) did not reflect that the pub dates of two books have been changed. Broadway's Are You Ready! by Bob Harper is now set for an April 8 pub; and Doubleday's Killer Heat by Linda Fairstein will pub on March 11.