Staff -- 2/5/01
Reidy to Head NewAdult Group at S&S | Crown Books to Close 28 Stores
Chapters Relents; Advises Shareholders to Sell to Trilogy | Klein Joins Bertelsmann
F&W Publications Sells U.K. Children's Unit | Casella to Head Feminist Press
The 'New Yorker' G s Digital | Xlibris Pink-Slips 10 | Dynamic Graphic Buys Coral Graphic
Trident Media in Deal With Rightscenter.com | NetLibrary, Blackboard Ink E-learning Pact
Reidy to Head NewAdult Group at S&SSimon &Schuster has created a new adult publishing group and has named Carolyn Reidy, formerly president and publisher of the Simon &Schuster trade division, as president. The adult publishing group will combine the S&S trade division with the adult imprints of Pocket Books.
In her new position, Reidy will have full responsibility for the editorial, marketing and business functions of all domestic adult book publishing at S&S. Romanos said he initiated the realignment because Reidy "has earned the right to take on a bigger role in running the publishing operations." Romanos added that Reidy's promotion also reflects the fact that since the sale of S&S's nontrade operations, he has spent less time on the publishing side of the business than he wanted. "My plate has become very full," he observed.
Romanos insisted that the realignment did not mean he was unhappy with Pocket's performance. The changes are a "management shift, not a strategic shift. This was not done as part of a title reduction program or a profit enhancement program," he said. Once Reidy examines the needs of the new group, a redeployment of personnel is possible. Romanos said the restructuring will likely result in some minor back-office changes, and moving the Pocket YA imprints into the children's division will better align the publishing operation with the company's sales operations.
The new adult publishing group will comprise Simon &Schuster, Scribner, the Free Press, Simon &Schuster Source, Simon &Schuster Trade Paperbacks, Kaplan, Pocket Books, Washington Square Press, Star Trek, MTV Books, Pocket Star, VH-1 Books and Sonnet Books.
Crown Books to Close 28 Stores Crown Books, which managed to operate through 2000 with 91 stores, will close 28 stores over the next two months. The new closings, coupled with the shutting of a Chicago-area store last month, will leave the bookstore chain with 62 outlets. The downsizing will also result in the elimination of 450 full- and part-time positions, about 30% of Crown's workforce.
Crown chairman Charlie Cumello blamed the need to close stores on disappointing sales over the holidays. The 3% decline in comparable store sales over the period was below the company's expectations and created a situation "that is important for the company to address," Cumello said. He added that the chain needs to move quickly to close underperforming stores as part of its drive to restore the company to profitability.
Metropolitan Chicago will bear the brunt of the downsizing, with 12 outlets set to shut, leaving the area with 11 Crowns; three years ago, Chicago had 37 stores. Seven of Los Angeles's 27 outlets will be closed, and three of the San Francisco area's 12 stores will be shut. Four Crowns in the company's home region, Washington, D.C., will also be closed, leaving the area with 17 outlets.
Chapters Relents; Advises Shareholders to Sell to TrilogyAfter an exhausting battle over the last two months, Chapters Inc., Canada's largest book retailer, told its shareholders that they should tender their shares to Trilogy since the company will more than likely thwart the Future Shop offer by acquiring a 34% ownership in the chain. The Future Shop offer was conditional on acquiring 662/3% of Chapter shares.
Chapters relented after the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) decided not to force Trilogy to extend its bid to 100% of Chapters' shares and turned down Chapters' request for disclosure of details in relation to the Chapters-Indigo merger.
"Because of this very real risk, the directors and officers of Chapters and Canadian General Capital, an 18% shareholder, have notified the company that they have decided to tender their Chapters shares to the Trilogy offer to avoid being left as the only minority shareholders in Chapters. The Board has always been concerned about the partial and c rcive nature of the Trilogy bid and its inherent unfairness," Chapters said.
Trilogy rejoiced in the OSC's decision. "The OSC declined to give Chapters the relief they sought on their trading applications. Trilogy's offer [of $17 per share] can and will proceed to completion on Thursday, February 1," said Gerald Schwartz, president of Trilogy.
Klein Joins BertelsmannAcquisition-minded Bertelsmann has hired the former head of the antitrust division of the U.S. Department of Justice as the new chairman and CEO of Bertelsmann Inc. J l Klein, who joined the Clinton administration in 1993 and helped lead the government's antitrust case against Microsoft, will oversee Bertelsmann's U.S. corporate functions as well as serve as the chief liaison officer to Bertelsmann's Gutersloh headquarters.
In his new position, Klein will advise Bertelsmann on legal and strategic governmental issues, working with the heads of Bertelsmann's U.S.-based operations. He will also advise Bertelsmann CEO Thomas Middelhoff on strategic issues related to major acquisitions and help in further developing the company's e-commerce digitization efforts. Middelhoff noted that Klein's appointment "demonstrates Bertelsmann's continuing commitment to expanding its role in U.S. media markets."
Klein will have no direct role with Bertelsmann's book-publishing activities, and Random House chairman Peter Olson will continue to report directly to Middelhoff.
F&W Publications Sells U.K. Children's UnitF&W Publications has sold the children's unit of its U.K. division, David &Charles Group, to Gullane Entertainment. Formerly known as Britt Allcroft, Gullane produces television shows and films and has been acquiring rights to a growing number of children's characters. Gullane paid
The sale includes 150 backlist titles that will now be published under the Gullane Children's Book imprint. All David &Charles employees involved with the children's program have made the move to Gullane.
According to F&W, the sale is in keeping with its strategy of publishing in specific nonfiction adult niches; it has no domestic children's publishing program. F&W acquired David &Charles last year (News, June 12, 2000), and D&C specializes in the areas of fine arts, crafts, hobbies and gardening. The company also operates special-interest book clubs.
Casella to Head Feminist PressThe Feminist Press at the City University of New York has named current editorial director Jean Casella as publisher/director. She will succeed Florence Howe, who co-founded the press 30 years ago. Casella said she intends to look closely at the press and its goals--"what the Feminist Press should do and should be"-- and will work with the "staff, board, scholars, teachers, activists and readers in the consideration and reconsideration of such questions."
Casella is a 15-year publishing veteran who has worked at the Feminist Press since 1995. Previously, she was managing editor at the Fiction Collective and at Thunder's Mouth Press.
The 'New Yorker' G s DigitalLook for the New Yorker--yes, the New Yorker--to launch its own e-book publishing program when it debuts its Web site sometime in February. David Remnick, editor of the New Yorker, explained, "Publishing books electronically will allow us to reach out to the wired generation and to expand the number of New Yorker readers."
The New Yorker e-books will collect material published in the magazine. The first three collections will focus on medicine, business and fiction, and will feature such writers as James Suroweicki, Nicholas Lemann, Ken Auletta, Junot DÃaz and Jhumpa Lahiri. A spokesperson for the magazine said it will publish three collections immediately, available through Barnesandnoble.com, and follow with three more later in the year. The New Yorker's new Web site (www.newyorkermag.com) will also feature a special e-books section. The books will be offered in the Microsoft Reader format and will cost $7.95 each.
Xlibris Pink-Slips 10 Xlibris.com, the online publishing company 49% owned by Random House, has laid off 10 middle managers in marketing, operations and IT. The wages saved by the company will be used to hire 15 to 20 new customer service and operations staff.
Xlibris CEO John Feldcamp told PW, "We're just moving around the dollars to where it's most effective." He added, "A lot of people were hired to enable us to radically scale up, pre-2000. Since then, the world has changed and the path to profitability is much more critical."
Feldcamp acknowledged that the firings, which reduced overall staff by 8%, were "painful," but added, "They're kind of a yawn, compared with the 1,500 people Amazon killed off."
Despite the tightening financial markets and difficulty of raising further investment capital, the CEO remains optimistic about Xlibris's future and still plans to open a European office later this year and continue investing in technology. Though, he said, "Right now, everyone is looking at their bank account and burn rate. Cautious spending is in order."
Dynamic Graphic Buys Coral GraphicDynamic Graphic Finishing has acquired Coral Graphic Services for an undisclosed price. Dynamic, which is part of Arvato AG, Bertelsmann's book printing and manufacturing segment, specializes in foil stamping, embossing and die-cutting of book jackets and covers, while the previously independent Coral focuses on the printing of hardcover and paperback book jackets. "We now can offer customers services from concept to completion," David Liess, CEO of Dynamic, told PW. Liess has added the title of CEO of Coral, and Coral founder Frank Cappo will oversee the day-to-day operation of the company as president.
Trident Media in Deal With Rightscenter.com Trident Media Group has signed with rightscenter.com, the online rights-trading operation, to list its frontlist and backlist titles on the site for potential rights sales. Trident will also centralize all its title information through the subscription service Rightscenter Enterprise, giving Trident the ability to create customized catalogues and streamline permissions requests.
According to Trident chairman Robert Gottlieb, "The Rightscenter application is flexible and robust enough to handle our growing and constantly evolving rights needs, which was attractive to us." Trident represents a strong stable of international bestselling authors, including Dean Koontz, Dale Brown, Janet Evanovich, Catherine Coulter, Deepak Chopra, Stephen Coonts and Elizabeth George.
This was the second major deal signed by rightscenter.com this year. Last month, it agreed with HarperCollins to handle a number of its foreign rights deals (News, Jan. 22).
--John F. Baker
NetLibrary, Blackboard Ink E-learning PactE-book distributor netLibrary and MetaText, its digital textbook subsidiary, announced a joint technology and marketing agreement with Blackboard Inc., a firm that offers proprietary infrastructure software for distance-learning programs. The agreement also allows Blackboard's student and teacher users to access netLibrary's large e-book selection without leaving the Blackboard online environment.
The agreement will make MetaText's digital textbooks available through Blackboard's e-learning infrastructure. Students and teachers will be able to purchase and use MetaText editions within Blackboard's learning software environment.
MetaText works with print publishers to convert their print textbooks into MetaText digital editions. MetaText textbooks offer annotation, searching, highlight and bookmark capabilities as well as e-mail communications accessible to the whole class. MetaText has partnerships with Houghton Mifflin, W.W. Norton and Thomson Learning.
Volume 247 Issue 6 02/05/2001