U.S. vs. Apple Trial

The Department of Justice case charging Apple with being the “ringleader” in an e-book price-fixing scheme began last week. Though the five publishers charged—the Big Six minus Random House—have all settled, CEOs David Shanks from Penguin and Caroline Reidy from S&S both testified, with Random House’s Markus Dohle, Macmillan’s John Sargent, and HarperCollins’s Brian Murray slated for this week. Amazon executives Russ Grandinetti, David Naggar, and Laura Porco have also testified.

Nook Snaps Debuted

Nook Media is launching Nook Snaps, a bimonthly program of commissioned original fiction and narrative nonfiction e-books of at least 5,000 words each, offered for sale at $1.99 apiece. Selected by Nook Media editors, Nook Snaps will feature three-to-five new works by top writers every other month available via the Nook Snaps site at bn.com.

Harper’s BookSmash

HarperCollins is launching the BookSmash Challenge, a four-month-long contest asking developers to create new digital products that “break the binding” and reimagine the book. The Book­Smash Challenge is to find innovative ways to interact with authors and to change the way books are read and discovered. Yeh Joins RH Kids’ Books Phoebe Yeh, currently editorial director at HarperCollins Children’s Books, will join Random House Children’s Books in the newly created post of v-p, publisher, Crown Books for Young Readers, effective June 21. Yeh will acquire and publish books with a focus on middle-grade fiction and narrative nonfiction. She will report to Barbara Marcus, RHCB president and publisher.

DC Interactive Comics

DC Entertainment announced two new “enhanced” storytelling formats for its digital comics line. DC2 (DC Squared) digital comics lets the reader tap the screen to progress through each story. DC2 Multiverse comics offers multiple story paths, and readers can choose various storylines in a given comic, each with its own music and sound effects, as well as with limited animation within panels.

Levesque Joins Rodale

Jennifer Levesque, formerly editorial director at Abrams, has been named editorial director of trade books at Rodale, effective June 17. She reports to Mary Ann Naples, v-p and publisher of the Rodale books group.

Skyhorse, Start Buy Night Shade Books

Struggling sci-fi publisher Night Shade Books, which began selling its assets in April, has been acquired by Skyhorse Publishing and Start Publishing. The house has a catalogue of over 250 titles, with works by, among others, Shirley Jackson and Bram Stoker.

Word Up Signs Lease

Word Up, the volunteer-run bookstore in New York City’s Washington Heights and Inwood, has signed a lease for a storefront at Amsterdam Avenue at 165th Street. Word Up’s Veronica Liu said she was “ecstatic about our new landlord, Community League of the Heights (CLOTH),” a community organization focused on southern Washington Heights.

XOXO After Dark Goes Live

Pocket Books is launching XOXO After Dark, a newly refashioned Web site tied to Pocket After Dark, a digital-first imprint focused on romance, urban fantasy, and women’s fiction. The site offers exclusive content (free books, contests, giveaways, live chats, and more) and allows members to connect with other readers, editors, and their favorite authors. Diversion/Gersh Imprint Diversion Books is partnering with the Gersh Agency on a new imprint that will publish titles by the agency’s clients in both e-book and POD formats.