Comp Sales Lift Indigo
Revenue at the Canadian bookstore giant Indigo Books & Music increased 5.3%, to C$164.2 million ($133 million), for the first quarter ended July 2. The net loss in the period was cut to C$8.1 million ($6.5 million) from C$11 million. The revenue gain was driven by a 5.5% increase in comparable-store sales at the company's superstores. Same-store sales at traditional stores rose by just under 1%. A 36% increase in online sales, to C$4 million, added to the company's gains.
New Trade Papers from Penguin
Penguin Group USA is repackaging some of its paperbacks in high-end trade paper format as part of a new marketing initiative called Penguin Essential Editions. The list will contain books ranging from The Kite Runner to The Godfather and will come from an assortment of paperback imprints. At $16, the price runs higher than the average trade paperback. Penguin is planning 10 titles for fall, but acknowledges it's kind of a trial balloon, with nothing specific in the works after that.
A Boomer Imprint from TWBG
With baby boomers reputed to be the biggest book-buying audience, the Time Warner Book Group will launch a new imprint next fall geared to helping 40- to 65-year-olds improve their lives. The unnamed imprint will come out of TWBG's Bulfinch Press and will be directed by Jill Cohen. Karen Murgolo will oversee the editorial program and Matthew Ballast will direct publicity.
HC to Add Spanish Kids' Books
HarperCollins is expanding its children's Spanish-language publishing program and has appointed Adriana Dominguez, former children's review editor at Criticas, to head the effort. HC currently does five Spanish-language children's books annually, a number it intends to bump up to 15 to 20 annually. The expanded publishing program will feature a mix of original titles and translations of some of HC's top-selling children's books.
Melville New AMP Publisher
Kirsty Melville, one-time publisher of Ten Speed Press, will join Andrews McMeel Publishing as publisher of its book division September 2. Melville, most recently publisher of University Games, succeeds Tom Thornton, who is retiring at the end of the year. She'll report to new AMP president Hugh Andrews.
New Prez for Cook
Cris Doornbos, executive v-p of sales for Zondervan, will take over as president and CEO of Cook Communications Ministries September 6. Doornbos will succeed David Mehlis, who is retiring after serving as president of the religious publishing house for 18 years.
Zeitchik Heading to 'Variety'
PW senior editor Steven Zeitchik will join Variety next month as a staff reporter covering media and entertainment. Zeitchik has served two tours with PW, re-upping in 2001 to launch PW Newsline and to serve as a news editor. Earlier this summer, Zeitchik added the Deals column to his PW Daily and news duties.
New Chief Of Marketing At Putnam
Doug Jones has been appointed v-p and marketing director for G.P. Putnam's Sons and Riverhead Books. Jones, who most recently oversaw sales efforts for Crown, will direct marketing for all Putnam titles and Riverhead hardcovers. He replaces Dan Harvey and will report to Putnam president Ivan Held.
Comic-con Attendance Up
David Glanzer, director of marketing and public relations for Comic-con International, announced that official attendance for this year's show, held July 14—17 in San Diego, Calif., was about 104,000. The figure includes 96,300 attendees and 7,700 exhibitors. In 2004, the convention drew 87,000 attendees.
Down Period For S&S
Sales at Simon & Schuster fell 5% in the second quarter, as the publisher had a difficult time replacing the big political books that were out at this time last year. While sales in the adult division were down, S&S president Jack Romanos said sales in the children's and audio divisions were up for both the quarter and the first half of 2005, helping the entire company to match last year's sales level in the first six months of 2005.
Romanos is optimistic a strong frontlist schedule will give S&S a chance to equal the strong last half of 2004 this year. The company could also benefit from two initiatives this year. Its premium paperback line "is exceeding expectations," Romanos said, while the company's direct-sales program is set to launch after Labor Day.
Blockbuster Quarter for TWBG
Fueled by several number-one bestsellers, the Time Warner Book Group reported that sales in the second quarter soared 40%, while profits doubled. Among the top titles in the period were Nicholas Sparks's True Believer, Malcolm Gladwell's Blink, James Patterson's 4th of July and Michael Connelly's The Closers. TWBG president Larry Kirshbaum, who will retire at the end of 2005, said of the second period, "I'll be nostalgic about this one."
Big Quarter For Audible
It was another record quarter for Audible Inc., with sales up 90%, to $15.3 million, in the second period and net income rose to $823,869 from $236,585. The company said it added 72,300 new customers in the quarter, including 54,100 new members to its AudibleListener ranks. Total sales for the first half of 2005 were more than double that of 2004, hitting $28.2 million, and the company said it still expects to generate sales of between $62 million and $65 million for the full year.
Hemming and Hanselman Partner
Cathy Hemming and Stephen Hanselman, former colleagues at HarperCollins, are now the founding partners in what the two are calling an "author services agency" that they have formed in New York. LevelFiveMedia will offer literary representation, as well as media development and marketing consultation.
Patty Hearst Redux
Novelist Christopher Sorrentino, whose novel Trance (Farrar Straus & Giroux) is a fictional account of the Hearst kidnapping, in front of the San Francisco house where SLA members Bill and Emily Harris were arrested. An account of Sorrentino's tour of the West Coast will appear in an upcoming issue of Publishers Weekly.
The Whole Story
For the fuller text of items featured in "Briefs," see this week's PW Dailies, available at www.publishers- weekly.com