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NYT Reclaims 'Times Books' in New Random House Pact
Calvin Reid -- 1/31/00

The New York Times continues to consolidate its book publishing operations with the announcement last week that it has reclaimed its Times Books imprint trademark from Random House. The change followed the expiration of a 15-year publishing agreement that gave Random House the Times Books trademark and the right of first refusal on all material published in the Times. Random House will continue to publish the New York Times crossword puzzle books, and the house will absorb all former Time Books staff (approximately 15 to 20 employees dedicated to TB) into its Crown Publishing Group. The NYT will continue to create and license nonpuzzle books with a number of different publishers.

Stuart Applebaum, a spokesperson for Random House, told PW that RH will continue to publish titles under the Times Books trademark until June, after which titles under contract to TB will be published under a newly created line of books in the Crown Group and under other existing Crown imprints. Applebaum emphasized that all TB books are on track to be published, and added that the new imprint, as yet unnamed, will be announced in "the near future." Times Books has been a part of the Crown Publishing Group at Random House since last fall.

Thomas Carley, president of the New York Times News Services, which manages the NYT's book development unit, told PW that reclaiming the logo was part of the NYT's ongoing effort (News, Oct. 18, 1999) to consolidate and evaluate its considerable publishing operations. The NYT currently has more than 50 books in print, published by a dozen different publishers. "We've also got a lot of self-published efforts going on," said Carley. "We're evaluating how big we want to be in books. We see the trademark as part of our arsenal, but we're not sure how we'll use it just yet."

The NYT licensed the Times Books logo to Random House in 1984. "At the time we thought we'd leave book publishing to book publishers. It was considered a distraction," said Carley. "We may still feel that way. We intend to keep working with other book publishers."
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