Amazon Forcing POD Titles to BookSurge
Amazon has told publishers—both traditional and online print-on-demand houses—that their POD titles will only be sold through the e-tailer's site if the books are printed by its BookSurge subsidiary.
According to several publishers, BookSurge has told them that unless their titles are printed by BookSurge, the buy buttons on Amazon for their titles will be disabled. Publishers that do not use BookSurge can sell POD titles through Amazon's Advantage program (which uses a consignment model) or through third-party vendors.
Used Books Up at Hastings
Same-store sales of books rose 2.1% at Hastings Entertainment for the year ended January 31, led by strong sales of used books plus Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
Total Hastings revenue in 2007 fell slightly, to $547.7 million from $548.3 million, although net income more than doubled, from $5 million to $10.2 million. For this year, Hastings expects comp sales to increase in the low single digits, and net income to be in the $10.5 million to $11 million range. The chain plans to open three new outlets in the year.
Harcourt San Diego's Fate
Last week, staffers in the Harcourt San Diego office, which is set to close June 30, were told their fates. According to an insider, only a few of the office's 65 employees were offered relocation packages to the East Coast. Any San Diego employees who do come east will work in HM's Union Square office; the former Harcourt New York office is also closing on June 30.
One former Harcourt San Diego staffer, Allyn Johnston, has already found a new home. Johnston, formerly editor-in-chief of Harcourt Children's Books, is starting her own imprint at S&S. She will run the operation from San Diego, primarily acquiring middle grade fiction and picture books.
Writedown Impacts Scholastic
A $72.7-million writedown associated with Scholastic's decision to sell its home continuity business resulted in a net loss of $82.1 million in the third quarter ended February 29. Revenue rose 2.2%, to $458.4 million. Excluding the writedown, the loss from continuing operations was $4.6 million in the quarter, compared to last year's third quarter loss of $3.8 million.
Revenue in the children's book publishing & distribution segment fell 4%, to $229.7 million, although operating income rose 10%, to $10.2 million.
For the first nine months of the year, trade group sales were up 170%, to $381.7 million, due to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Total revenue at Scholastic rose nearly 20% in the nine months, to $1.70 billion, and the company had a net loss of $9.3 million.
Audible goes After Kids
Audible has launched a site dedicated exclusively to downloadable children's audio titles. AudibleKids.com, which went live this week, features 4,000 titles, ranging from early readers to YA, from 75 publishers. Prices start at 99 cents. Titles will be downloadable to all MP3 players.