Staff -- 2/19/01
Another 20 Fired at Xlibris | Court Overturns 1-Click Injunction | Cedco Hops on the Bunny Trail
'PW' Debuts 'Críticas'; Lopez Named Editor | HIT Buys Lyrick, Scholastic Buys Barney
Heyday, Santa Clara Team Up for California Series | Princeton Review Moves Ahead with IPO
Rightsworld Adds Waterside Titles
Another 20 Fired at XlibrisBarely two weeks after laying off 10 employees, Xlibris, the print-on-demand and publishing services provider, announced a second round of about 20 layoffs, in addition to closing its New York City office and postponing plans to expand into Europe. The cost-cutting also resulted in the closing of Inkspot.com, Xlibris's six-year-old portal for writers. The company said that Random House, which owns a 49% stake in Xlibris, was providing additional financial support.
John Feldcamp, CEO of Xlibris, said the company was not closing and would remain independent. He blamed "restructuring in the capital markets" for the layoffs and said Xlibris was "refocusing its energies on our core business--publishing services--to make investors more comfortable." He said Random House was making an "additional commitment" to Xlibris, although he said Random House would remain a "minority" shareholder. He declined to specify the amount of investment or the precise nature of RH's additional commitment.
Feldcamp also noted that Xlibris is working to develop back-office technical infrastructure, pointing to "workflow and content management systems" that Xlibris and Random House will share.
"Watching dotcoms crater has become a big spectator sport," said Feldcamp. "We're not going there. These are painful steps for me and for the staff, but we're in this for the long haul."
Court Overturns 1-Click InjunctionThe U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., has issued a unanimous decision to overturn a preliminary injunction awarded to Amazon.com by a U.S. District Court judge in Seattle in December 1999, which barred rival B&N.com from using a similar version of Amazon's patented 1-Click shopping technology.
Amazon introduced its 1-Click technology in September 1997 and received a patent two years later. A few weeks later, the company filed its patent lawsuit against B&N.com. B&N.com responded by replacing the disputed one-click system with another system requiring multiple entries to complete a purchase.
After the most recent ruling, B&N.com wrote, "We believe the ruling validates our position that the allegations against us are completely without merit."
Amazon.com said that it "remains confident that its patent is valid," and that the company "believe[s] that the District Court and the jury will find that the 1-Click patent is valid--and that barnesandnoble.com infringed it--when all of the evidence is presented at trial."
The trial is currently scheduled to begin September 10 in Seattle.
Cedco Hops on the Bunny TrailCedco Publishing has signed a licensing agreement with Playboy Enterprises that will lead to the release of new lines of Playboy branded stationery, calendars and books over the next three years. While several publishers competed for the spot, including Workman Publishing and Chronicle Books, N lle O'Connor of Playboy told PW that "Cedco readily understood in a creative way what we had in mind, and their expertise in the branding market is well established."
While the partnership will initially focus on stationery products, content-driven lifestyle books will follow within the next year. Marketing director Vanessa Brown told PW that Cedco has already begun to visit the Playboy archives which contain nearly 10 million images. Playboy cartoons, jokes and vintage photography are being reviewed for book potential. Projects under discussion include a Playboy entertaining guide, a cocktail bar guide, as well as joke and "funnies" books. The three-year agreement includes Playboy's 50th Anniversary in 2003, and a book celebrating the birthday is also in the works.
--Barbara R ther
'PW' Debuts 'Críticas'; Lopez Named EditorLooking to address the growing numbers of Spanish-language readers in the U.S., Publishers Weekly and its sister publications are introducing Críticas: An English Speaker's Guide to the Latest Spanish Language Titles, a quarterly supplement set to launch March 19. The supplement will offer reviews, feature articles, author interviews,
Adriana Lopez, previously arts and culture editor at Sol lla.com, a Spanish-language Web site focused on women ("only for her"), has been named editor of the new supplement. Lopez has also been an editor at Latin Scene and Latin Teen magazines.
The U.S. is already the fifth-largest Spanish-speaking nation in the world with more than 30 million Hispanic residents, and Lopez told PW that Críticas will focus on literature from North America, Latin America and Spain. Críticas, she said, will be published in English and directed toward U.S. publishers, booksellers, librarians and "anyone else interested in Spanish-language literature."
The editorial board of Críticas is composed of Francine Fialkoff, editor of Library Journal; Julie Cummins, editor-in-chief of School Library Journal; and Nora Rawlinson, editor-in-chief of Publishers Weekly.
"Spanish-language titles will be a priority," said Lopez, who also pointed out that "there's a big market for Spanish translations of bestselling English language authors as well."
HIT Buys Lyrick, Scholastic Buys BarneyHIT Entertainment, the British licensing agent for properties such as Bob the Builder, Kipper and Angelina Ballerina, has bought Lyrick Studios for $275 million. Lyrick's book-licensing properties include Barney and Friends, Little Suzy's Zoo and Freddi Fish.
At the same time, Scholastic announced that it has signed a deal with Lyrick to be the U.S. publisher of all Barney hardcover, paperback, color and activity books. Lyrick will continue to license Barney and Friends for TV, video and toys.
Though there will be some personnel changes, Lyrick's offices will remain open and it will still license its properties in the U.S. To date, Lyrick has sold over 89 million copies of Barney and Friends books in the U.S.
Heyday, Santa Clara Team Up for California SeriesHeyday Books and Santa Clara University (on the occasion of its 150th anniversary) have launched the California Legacy Project, a copublishing venture designed to bring back into print California's literary, artistic and historical classics. "This state has produced such astounding literature--and the neglect it is in is lousy," said Heyday publisher
The first three titles, published at the end of 2000, represent the main areas the Legacy Project intends to cover: anthology (Unfolding Beauty: Celebrating California's Landscapes, edited by associate director of the project, Terry Beers), straight reprint (Eldorado: Adventures in the Path of Empire by Bayard Taylor, a gold-rush reporter) and single-author reader (Unfinished Message: Selected Works of Toshio Mori). Collections of photography, anthologies and hybrids of new and old will also be included in the series, which is expected to publish six titles a year.
Operated under the auspices of the Clapperstick Institute, Heyday's nonprofit arm, a California Legacy Project center has been established within Santa Clara's English department to create an outreach program that includes events, a Web site and teacher guides for the books. An informal advisory board has assembled such prominent scholars and writers as Alice Waters, Robert Haas and Ursula LeGuin. Margolin is currently in discussions with California State Librarian Kevin Starr on developing a definitive list of books that must be brought back into print.
Princeton Review Moves Ahead with IPODespite the sluggish stock market, Princeton Review Inc. is moving ahead with plans for an initial public offering. In an updated filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission late last year, the company said it plans to sell 5.4 million shares at a price between $11 and $13 per share. The company made its initial filing last summer (News, Sept. 4, 2000).
According to the company, it will use the bulk of the proceeds--between $20 million and $25 million--to acquire its domestic franchise operations. Approximately $7 million is targeted for capital expenditures and $4.5 million will be used to pay down debt. The remaining funds will be used for working capital and general corporate purposes. Princeton Review had previously said that it intends to expand its Internet infrastructure.
For the nine-month period ended September 30, 2000, Princeton Review reported that total sales rose 11% to $34.2 million, led by a 15.6% increase, to $27.3 million, from its instruction and guidance segment. Revenues at Review.com fell from $3.9 million to $3.7 million, while sales at Homeroom.com were flat at $3.1 million. For the period, Princeton Review had a net loss of $7.8 million, compared to net income of $1.8 million in the same span in 1999. The company said it had significantly increased its operating expenses in developing its Internet services, but that through September 2000, it had not generated substantial revenues from its online operations.
Rightsworld Adds Waterside TitlesRightsworld.com, an online marketplace for publishing rights, announced an agreement with Waterside Productions, an electronic rights, software and literary agency, to act as its exclusive online rights trading partner.
Waterside is offering more than 75 titles through the rightsworld.com site. The agency specializes in working with computer book and technical authors.
In addition, William Gladstone, founder of Waterside Productions, has been appointed to the rightsworld.com board of advisers.
Volume 247 Issue 8 02/19/2001