India Added to RH Fold

Random House has formed Random House India and hopes to begin publishing original works by Indian writers by 2006. Vivek Ahuja, formerly director of UBS Publishers' Distributors, has been named general manager of the new company, which will initially focus on English-language titles.

Chi to Elsevier

Y.S. Chi, who recently resigned as chairman of Random House Asia, has been appointed vice chairman of Elsevier, where he will be reunited with one-time Random House colleague Erik Engstrom. Engstrom took over as chairman of the scientific publisher last summer. Chi will head Elsevier's global academic and customer relations.

Cuts at Scholastic Library

Scholastic Library Publishing has eliminated about 30 positions, included some unfilled posts at its Danbury, Conn., offices. Scholastic spokesperson Kyle Good said that the move of the library division's credit and collection function to the company's Jefferson City, Mo., office eliminated 10 spots. Another 15 positions were cut in the reference group. Two editorial spots were cut in Children's Press/Franklin Watts, although title output will not be affected.

McCartney Flies to Penguin

Dutton Children's Books has acquired U.S. rights for a picture book by Paul McCartney. High in the Clouds: An Urban Furry Tale will be published this October with a 500,000-copy first printing. Doug Whiteman, president of Penguin Young Readers Group, purchased rights from Suzy Jenvey, editorial director of Faber and Faber in the U.K., the book's originating publisher. High in the Clouds is co-written by Philip Ardagh and illustrated by Geoff Dunbar.

Harlequin In Tech Pacts

Pressed to find new delivery channels, Harlequin recently signed agreements with Vocel and Audible. The deal with Vocel, the publisher of mobile phone applications, will enable Harlequin to deliver its content, arranged in such forms as cover contests and serialized novels, via mobile phones. Harlequin's deal with Audible gives Audible the exclusive digital distribution audiobook rights to Harlequin titles, and includes an agreement to develop original content.

MapQuest Adds Print

MapQuest, the popular online map site, has formed MapQuest Publishing, a new unit that will publish road atlases, specialty travel guides and street maps beginning this summer. MapQuest spokesperson Brian Hoyt explained that since MapQuest "is doing all we can on the Web," the company has been looking for ways to diversify its business. MapQuest was acquired by AOL in 2000, and its print line will be distributed by Time Warner Retail Services.

Bain Buys School Specialty

In a deal valued at $1.5 billion, Bain Capital has agreed to acquire School Specialty Inc., a leading producer of supplemental learning materials. The company, which had sales for the nine-month period ended January 22 of $827 million, entered the book business in early 2004 with the purchase of McGraw-Hill's Children's Publishing unit. This is Bain's fifth major acquisition in the educational field; the investment firm, along with Thomas H. Lee, led the investor group that acquired Houghton Mifflin from Vivendi in 2002.

Woods Exiting S&S Canada

Deb Woods will step down as president of Simon & Schuster Canada on July 15. Woods, the former head of Distican, has led S&S Canada since 2002 following S&S's purchase of Distican. Earlier this spring, the Canadian division was placed under the auspices of Larry Norton, president of the sales and distribution division.

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