June Store Sales Up 4%

Bookstore sales increased 4.2% in June, to $1.18 billion, the largest monthly increase since January. With the June gain, bookstore sales eked out a 0.8% sales increase for the first half of 2006, with sales reaching $7.47 billion. Sales for the entire retail segment rose 5.7% for the month and 7.6% for the year to date.

AMS Settles Civil Action

Advanced Marketing Services is close to settling all class action lawsuits brought against the company following the disclosure in January 2004 of accounting problems tied to AMS's advertising practices. The suits charged the company with securities fraud. Under the agreements, AMS will pay $6 million to settle claims made on behalf of all shareholders who bought AMS stock between Jan. 16, 1999, and Jan. 13, 2004. A related suit is being settled for $300,000 in cash and the issuance of 75,000 shares of stock. The agreements do not affect the SEC and Justice Department investigations, which are continuing.

Banta Spurns Suitor

Banta Corp. reacted angrily last week to what it called "an unsolicited, highly conditional" offer from the printing firm Cenveo. In a letter to Cenveo chairman Robert Burton, Banta head Stephanie Streeter said she was "extremely disappointed" that Burton had made public a letter his company sent to Banta expressing interest in a merger. She denied that the information received by Banta contained the economic terms of a deal, which Burton's letter said amounted to $46 per share. In her reply, Streeter said the Banta board will review Cenveo's proposal.

Clark to Do Kids' Book

Mary Higgins Clark has become the latest bestselling adult author to try her hand at children's books. Next spring she'll publish her first picture book, Ghost Ship: A Cape Cod Story, with Paula Wiseman Books, an imprint of her longtime publisher, Simon & Schuster. The book will be illustrated by Wendell Minor, who created the book jacket for Clark's 1975 bestseller Where Are the Children?GhostShip will have a 300,000-copy first printing and a laydown date of April 3, 2007.

Putnam Gets Van Arsdale

Peternelle van Arsdale is joining G.P. Putnam & Sons as executive editor. Van Arsdale, who will start September 6, arrives with 17 years of editorial experience, having spent the past seven years at Hyperion as executive editor. She's worked on such books as Cecilia Ahern's soon-to-be-adapted-to-screen novel, PS, I Love You, along with J.R. Moehringer's bestseller, The Tender Bar.

Google Adds Univ. of Calif.

Google has added the University of California's library system to its library scanning project. Books from more than 100 libraries on 10 different campuses will be included in the project. Google will scan both public domain and copyrighted titles. Copying of copyrighted works is at the heart of AAP's and the Authors Guild's lawsuits against Google.

Meltzer Cross-Pollinates

Hachette Books and DC Comics have teamed up to offer the first chapter of Book of Fate, bestselling novelist Brad Meltzer's forthcoming thriller, as an excerpt in the first issue of Justice League of America, a superhero comic book serial on sale this week. Meltzer wrote the hit comic book collection Identity Crisis, DC Comics' superhero murder mystery, and Warner publisher Jamie Raab said the excerpt is an experiment to promote Meltzer, a lifelong comics fan, to prose and graphic novel readers.