Bookselling Daybook
-- 12/20/99

Learningsmith Worth $60.7M
Learningsmith, which is closing all its 87 stores by mid-January, has assets of $60.7 million and debts of $65 million, according to the Boston Globe. The company has some 850 full-time workers and 1,500 part-timers. Most of its senior executives, including CEO Janet Emerson, are no longer with the company.

Bookpeople Moves 'Em Up
Bookpeople, the Oakland, Calif., wholesaler, has promoted three of its owner-employees.

Judy Wheeler has been named director of sales and marketing. For the last three years, she has been a key account rep at the company. Before that, she was an independent rep and an area sales manager.

Leisa Mock has been named director of the independent press program. She has worked at Bookpeople for 10 years as a customer rep, buyer and liaison for Words Distributing, the company's distribution division. In her new position, she will head the Bookpeople independent press's buying department as well as Words' publisher acquisitions division and publisher liaisons.

Ryn Speich has been named sales manager of Words Distributing. She has worked at the company for 15 years, the last two of which as inside sales coordinator for Words. Mark Anderson, formerly sales manager of Bookpeople, has left the company and joined Ten Speed Press, where he is working in the special sales department. He had been at Bookpeople for 12 years.

Arcadia Joins Consortium
Effective January 1, Consortium Book Sales & Distribution will become the exclusive U.S. and Canadian distributor for Arcadia Books. Founded four years ago and with headquarters in London, Arcadia Books specializes in translated fiction, biography and autobiography, gay and gender studies and travel writing. Authors include John Berger, Clare Colvin, John Hopkins, John Haylock, Michael De-la-Noy, Miklos Banffy, Gillian Freeman, Michael Arditti and Ambalavamer Sivanandan. This year, the press was shortlisted for the London Sunday Times Small Publisher of the Year Award.

Bookstore Owner to Become Publisher
Kelly Smith, co-owner of the seven-year-old A Woman's Prerogative in Ferndale, Mich., is the newest bookseller to enter the publishing fray. Last week she made it official and filed incorporation papers for Bella Books. The house will publish lesbian fiction and will be represented to the trade by LPC Group.

At present, Smith plans to continue with the bookstore yet keep the publishing house separate. She has already received a number of submissions. "I will publish six books in the last half of 2000," she told PW. "I will publish 14 books in 2001. But right now my focus is on getting through Christmas."

Puerto Rico Greets Bilingual Borders
Borders has officially announced the opening of a store in Puerto Rico, a plan that was informally confirmed last July. Billed as "the first bilingual Borders," the new 28,750-sq.-ft. store will open in February in Plaza Las Americas, the largest shopping mall in the Caribbean. The store will have a cafe and will carry more than 150,000 books, periodicals, music and video titles, 40% of which will be in Spanish.

This will be the first Borders in a Spanish-language market; it is considered to be a test for further expansion in Latin America. Chairman Bob DiRomualdo hinted as much when he commented in a release: "It is a new adventure we're embarking on: catering to a Spanish-speaking market, with all the new possibilities it will bring."

The company described the new store's music selection as "today's hits, Latin pop music, jazz, classical, blues, New Age and world music titles."