July Sales Drop 4%

The Census Bureau reported that bookstore sales fell 4.2% in July, the steepest decline in 2011. The July decline followed a 1.9% drop in June; as a result, bookstore sales for the first seven months of 2011 were down 0.5%, to $8.03 billion.

Bourdain Gets His Own Book Line at Ecco

Anthony Bourdain will be acquiring roughly three to five books annually for Ecco, and each will be called An Anthony Bourdain Book. No date has been set for the first title from Bourdain. The book line follows similar deals for stars like Chelsea Handler and Deepak Chopra. The deal, which was ironed out by Bourdain’s agent, Kim Witherspoon, and Ecco’s president and publisher, Dan Halpern, continues a standing relationship Bourdain has with HarperCollins.

Worthy Acquires Freeman-Smith

Worthy Publishing has acquired Freeman-Smith, a specialty publisher of gift books, devotionals, and custom projects. Freeman-Smith has a backlist of several hundred titles and will be an imprint of Worthy Publishing. Ron Smith, who cofounded the company in 2000, will continue as publisher.

Reader’s Digest Names Guth President

Robert Guth has been named president and CEO, effective immediately, of Reader’s Digest. Guth is a member of the board and succeeds Tom Williams, who has left the company. Guth joined RD’s board in April 2011 and brings more than 25 years of experience in the technology and telecommunications sector, including four years as CEO and two years as chairman of the telecommunications company TelCove.

O’Connor to Head ABC Group

Former bookseller Shannon O’Connor has been tapped as manager of the ABC Children’s Group at the American Booksellers Association. O’Connor taught seventh grade last year and has worked at the Doylestown Bookshop in Doylestown, Pa.

B&N Buys Borders’s IP Assets

Barnes & Noble paid $13.9 million in an auction last week to acquire the intellectual property assets of Borders. In all, the auction raised about $15.8 million and included the sale of trademarks to Borders former overseas holdings. It wasn’t entirely clear what B&N acquired in the auction, but it appears to have bought most of Borders’s domestic assets that include its Internet domain names, the Borders.com Web site, and such trademarks as Borders, Waldenbooks, and Brentano’s plus Borders’s membership lists.