Borders Lays off 45; Pubs Ponder Proposal
Last week Borders laid off 45 employees—40 at corporate headquarters and five in its distribution centers. The cuts in the Ann Arbor office cut across all departments. Borders said the cuts are the result of a "focus on reducing costs and readjusting its business model to improve profitability and cash flow." The struggling retailer is still waiting to hear whether publishers will accept its proposal to exchange missed payments for notes. At a meeting last week between publishers and their financial advisers, the publishers were told the Borders offer provides the basis for a possible deal, though some houses remain skeptical.
E-book of Gulf Spill Report
Perseus is distributing an e-book edition of Deep Water: The Gulf Oil Disaster and the Future of Offshore Drilling, the official report on the BP deepwater oil spill. The Perseus e-book, priced at $15.95, is the only e-book of the report available at the iBookstore, Amazon.com, and BN.com with the illustrations in the print edition.
New Funding for Flat World
The free online textbook publisher, Flat World, has received $15 million in new funding led by Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments and Bessemer Venture Partners. Other investors include Valhalla Partners, GSA Venture Partners, and High Peaks Venture Partners. The new funding will allow FW to expand its catalogue to include textbooks in other high enrollment courses.
D'Auria Joins Samhaim
Former Dorchester executive editor Don D'Auria has been hired by e-book house Samhain Publishing to launch a line of horror titles. Samhain has also redesigned and relaunched the Samhain Web site.
Gompertz to Leave S&S
Mark Gompertz, executive v-p and digital publisher at S&S since April 2009, will leave the house March 15. Gompertz had been with S&S since 1993, starting as publisher of Touchstone/Fireside.
Thomas Leaves Grand Central
Karen R. Thomas, former executive editor at Grand Central Publishing, left at the end of the year to concentrate on freelance editorial projects, including digital publishing and agenting. Before joining GC, Thomas launched Dafina, Kensington Publishing's African-American imprint.
16 Novels from AmazonEncore
Amazon's AmazonEncore imprint for overlooked book and emerging authors will publish 16 novels for its spring/summer list. The new list includes two books from author Karen McQuestion, whose self-published e-book, A Scattered Life, sold more than 100,000 copies since its release in August last year.
Textbook Rentals Grow
The National Association of College Stores reports that the number of college bookstores offering textbook rentals jumped from 300 in 2009 to 2,200 in 2010.
Weightless Books Debuts
Small Beer Press publisher Gavin Grant and Michael DeLuca have launched WeightlessBooks.com, an e-book store for small press books and e-subscriptions to literary journals. E-books sold through the site are DRM-free.
Courier Sales Down
Book manufacturer and publisher Courier Corp. reported down sales and earnings for the first quarter ended December 25. Sales fell 3%, to $61.2 million, and net income dropped to $1.7 million from $2.8 million. Publishing sales fell 7%, to $10.8 million, with sales at test prep subsidiary REA declining 31% and sales at Dover dropping 3%. Creative Homeowner sales rose 7% .
New Harper Lee Fiction Prize
The University of Alabama School of Law and The ABA Journal are requesting entries for the first annual Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction (HarperLeePrize.org).