Macmillan Settles With DoJ

In a letter, Macmillan CEO John Sargent said the company has agreed to settle “because the potential penalties became too high to risk even the possibility of an unfavorable outcome.” He cited the Random House–Penguin merger and the fact that Macmillan was the last publisher that had not yet settled as two reasons for his change of heart.

Revenue Down At HBG

Lagardere reported that revenue for its publishing operations rose 1.9% in 2012 to €2.08 billion. In the U.S., sales for the full year dropped 3.4% at Hachette Book Group, despite a 1.2% increase in units. Net sales from digital products—e-books plus downloadable audio—totaled 26% of overall HBG revenue in 2012, compared with 23% the previous year.

Najafi Sells Direct Brands

Four and a half years after acquiring Bookspan and Columbia House from Bertelsmann, the Najafi Companies has sold its majority interest in those businesses’ parent company, Direct Brands, to Pride Tree Holdings. Najafi said the deal was done in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Reagan Arthur Named LB Publisher

Reagan Arthur has been chosen to fill the top perch at Little, Brown. Arthur is filling the publisher position left open when Michael Pietsch was named CEO of Hachette in September. Her official title will be senior v-p and publisher. Arthur joined LB in 2001 and was named v-p and editorial director of Reagan Arthur Books in 2008. Arthur’s three-year-old imprint will close.

Bookish Goes Live

After three CEOs and a number of delays, Bookish launched last week with about two million ISBNs from 19 publishers and a search recommendation function that its founders hope will make it easier for consumers to discover books. To help draw traffic to the Web site, Bookish will feature exclusive content about books and authors and will work with USA Today to integrate Bookish into the newspaper’s book page site.

Rodale Names Naples Publisher

After the departure of acting publisher Steve Perrine in November, Rodale has hired Mary Ann Naples to oversee its books unit. Naples, who was most recently chief of business development at e-book retailer Zola Books, will start at Rodale as v-p and publisher on March 4.