Shortcovers Now Kobo
Shortcovers, the e-bookstore launched less than a year ago by Indigo Books & Music, has been spun off by its parent company and has added C$16 million in financing from Indigo, Borders Group, Instant Fame, and REDgroup Retail Pty. Shortcovers has been rebranded as Kobo and will continue to offer e-books for multiple devices to customers in dozens of countries while also developing its own dedicated e-reader.
In addition, Kobo will power a Borders-branded e-bookstore on the Borders.com site. Currently, Borders e-books are sold through a co-branded site with Sony. Bestsellers will start at $9.99. In addition, Kobo will develop Borders's first apps, which will allow customers to download e-books to a range of devices. Borders and Kobo plan to launch the new services in the second quarter of 2010. The e-readers being developed by Kobo will be offered to its partners.
Total revenue at Scholastic rose 1% in the second quarter ended November 30, to $660.1 million. Operating income slipped to $105.6 million from $108.0 million, but net income in the quarter rose to $55.5 million from $43.1 million. Operating earnings in the most recent quarter included a $40.1 million one-time charge. The company's best performing group was educational publishing, which had a 35% revenue rise, to $122.6 million. In the children's book publishing and distribution group, sales dropped 6%, to $368.8 million. Within that group, book fairs held even at $180 million; trade sales fell 5%, to $49.6 million; and book club revenue dropped 14%, to $138.4 million.
For the first half of fiscal 2010, total revenue was up 5%, to $975.7 million, and operating income jumped to $70.3 million from $45.7 million; the company posted net income of $32.5 million compared to a loss of $6 million in the first six months of fiscal 2009. Scholastic hopes to hit a 9% margin for the year.
Macmillan Outlines E-book Plans
In 2010, Macmillan will try several different approaches to releasing e-book editions of frontlist titles. Some bestsellers will be released simultaneously with enhanced e-books priced close to the hardcover price and available for three months as special editions. E-book versions of other bestsellers will be released several months after the hardcover publication and without enhancements.
Edelweiss to Offer NetGalley
Above the Treeline and Firebrand Technologies will begin integrating NetGalley services into ATL's Edelweiss digital catalogues, starting in the second quarter of 2010. As a result, publishers will be able to provide e-galleys to Edelweiss's 700 registered users, which include booksellers, librarians, and literary bloggers.
Paulsen Gets Imprint
Nancy Paulsen, Putnam Books for Young Readers president and publisher, is launching an eponymous imprint, Nancy Paulsen Books, with the first titles landing in 2011. Paulsen, who has led the division for 15 years, plans to publish 12 to 15 picture books and middle grade and young adult novels annually. She will continue at the helm of PBYR until the company finds a successor.
Melville Promoted at AMP
Kirsty Melville has been promoted to the newly created position of president of Andrews McMeel Publishing's book division effective January 1. Melville is currently executive v-p and publisher.
Cussler Suit Tossed
The U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii has granted Penguin Group's motion for summary judgment, dismissing a copyright infringement claim filed by Louis Doody against Penguin and authors Clive Cussler and Dirk Cussler. The finding supported Penguin's assertion that several novels by the Cusslers are not similar in any way to elements of a manuscript Doody submitted to Penguin in 2003 and which Penguin rejected.
Obituary: Mark Gates
Mark Gates, who was a sales rep for Farrar, Straus & Giroux and Holt from 1993 until his health worsened in 2008, died December 11 of lung cancer. He was 57. PW's publisher's rep of the year in 2006, Gates became involved in the book industry when he was selling ads for the Village Voice and helped launch the first issue of the Voice Literary Supplement in 1981. He became a commission rep in the Mid-Atlantic region in 1988 before moving to FSG.
Gifts may be made to the Dane County Humane Society or the Wisconsin Book Festival. A memorial service will be held in January.