June Bookstore Sales Drop 9.5%

Bookstore sales, which had been running close to even with 2012 through the first five months of 2013, tumbled 9.5% in June to $829 million, according to preliminary estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau. Bookstore sales for the first half of 2013 were down by a much less severe 1.5%, to $6.06 billion.

More Than 23 Million Consumer Accounts Qualify For E-book Refunds

More than 23 million consumer accounts are eligible to receive refunds under the e-book price-fixing settlements. Rust Consulting executives have said that the cooperation of e-book retailers will translate into an “unprecedented” rate of success in reaching consumers.

Harlequin Expands Digital-First Efforts

Harlequin is expanding its publishing programs with digital-first initiatives for several imprints. Harlequin Teen will publish an e-book original every other month, beginning October 1 with Stir Me Up by debut author Sabrina Elkins. The Mira and HQN imprints will launch their programs in January 2014, and each will publish 12 titles in the first year. In addition, Harlequin announced the creation of Harlequin-E, a digital-first series program. The first digital story from Harlequin-E will come in fall 2013.

Wattpad Debuts New Crowdfunding Service

The online writing community Wattpad is launching Wattpad Fan Funding, a new crowdfunding service that allows members to pledge financial support to writing projects from their favorite Wattpad writers.

HMH Grows Sales, Cuts Losses

With sale up in both its education and trade groups, total revenue at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt rose 5% in the second quarter ended June 30, 2013, compared to the same quarter last year. Revenue hit $363 million, with sales in the education group up 3% to $323.7 million, and trade group revenue increasing 30% to $39.2 million. Operating loss for the entire company was cut to $5.6 million in the quarter, from $21.9 million in 2012.

Amazon to Publish Biography Series

Amazon Publishing has announced a new series called Icons that will feature short biographies of significant people. The series will be co-edited by Amazon Publishing senior editor Ed Park and author James Atlas. Icons will, in its first year, feature 10 titles, to be released on a bimonthly schedule.