"Our commercial bestsellers get the lion's share of attention and distribution, but you really find new customers through your backlist," said Penguin chairman Michael Lynton, who was chatting with PW about the ultimate backlist, Penguin Classics, the company's world-famous literature and history series. Penguin is launching PenguinClassics. com, an all-around Web resource site devoted to the series and to the classics in general. "The Web is perfect for the classics," observed Lynton. "If you can put them into context, people will buy them. The more information the better. On the Web, we can do that." The site will indeed provide a lot of information: everything from academic commentary, interviews and discussion boards to screensavers and features on new releases. No selling, however; the site will point visitors to online retailers.

Avon Books has teamed up with MysteryNet, an online publisher and network of mystery Web sites, to create a co-branded site to promote titles from its Twilight mystery and crime imprint. The site is called Twilight Lane www. and features the various crime genres, excerpts from upcoming titles, author profiles, discussion groups and much more. Two titles (selected by senior editor Jennifer Fisher) will be featured each month. Avon publicist Gilly Hailparn told PW that the site enables Twilight to reach "a bigger audience. MysteryNet will attract a slew of new readers." She's not kidding. seems to be an inexhaustible resource on everything about crime, mystery and suspense writing. Avon pays MysteryNet a monthly fee for the site, which is also linked with for online sales.

Joining such on-demand publishing firms as Lightning Print and Replica Books, is looking to capitalize on the number of authors with unpublished manuscripts or the rights to their own out-of-print books. Launched as a unit of his printing business in 1998, BBOTW owner Tom Gregory acknowledges that his company is a "vanity publisher in one sense. We print, bind and ship on demand." The site currently has about 125 titles, mostly fiction and how-to books. All titles are in softcover and they can be purchased through and B& as well as the BBOTW site. But the author must pay for the privilege. The site charges $500, plus $10 a month for digital storage. His bestselling titles, said Gregory, have sold around 1000 copies each. For more information, e-mail

WHERE 2 BUY? is an African-American online bookseller launched in 1997. Its founder, Darcy Prather, told PW that sales have been growing 30% each month. The site discounts titles and will eventually include online discussion groups.

The Jenkins Group, publisher of Independent Publisher magazine, launched a Web site in March ( The site features articles from IP as well as information on small press publishing and consulting services offered by the Jenkins Group.... The Grove Dictionary of Art has been available online since early this year. Comprehensive in the extreme, all 41,000 articles, 750 maps, diagrams and drawings from the 34-volume print encyclopedia are now being offered as a subscription service on the Web, at The site also features 8000 hyperlinks to museum, gallery and library Web sites.