RH Sales Reorg

A "small number" of sales positions have been eliminated and some reps are taking on expanded duties to cover retirements as part of a reorganization of the Random House sales group. RH spokesperson Stuart Applebaum said the total number of positions affected were a "small fraction" of the overall sales group, "which numbers in the hundreds" including "dozens" of field reps.

Investor Takes Borders, B&N Stakes

Pershing Square Capital Management disclosed last week that it has taken an 11% stake in Borders Group and an 8% stake in Barnes & Noble. Pershing is controlled by William Ackman, who said he believes the shares of both chains are undervalued.

Katie Workman to Leave

Katie Workman will be leaving as associate publisher of Workman Publishing at the end of the year. Katie, daughter of president and publisher Peter, joined the house after serving as an editor at Clarkson Potter for more than 10 years. Katie Workman said that after working in publishing for 16 years, it is time "to explore other worlds outside of this industry."

Siman Joins Virgin

Ken Siman has been named publisher of Virgin Books' U.S. division. Siman, who was most recently v-p of Penguin/Tarcher, will be doing approximately 12 titles annually at the New York City—headquartered division of the British publisher.

BEA to Vegas

BookExpo America will hold its 2010 convention in Las Vegas June 10—13. The addition of Las Vegas is part of what director Lance Fensterman hopes will become a three-to-four-year rotation of the convention involving New York, the Midwest and the West.

Marvel Publishing Sales Rise

Revenue in Marvel's publishing segment rose 20% in the third quarter, to $30.9 million. Higher sales of trade paperbacks and hardcovers sold into the direct and book market channels were cited as the reason for the improvement. Comic book sales were bolstered by strong sales associated with the Civil War series. For the first nine months of the year, operating income was up 17.3%, to $32.5 million, on a 15.6% sales increase, to $79.9 million.

New Excerpt Service

Dial-A-Book, whose Chapter One database contains excerpts from about 100,000 books, has created a new service, Publishers Portal, in cooperation with the Publishers Marketing Association. The service (at www.publishersportal.com) will mount excerpts from books published by PMA members on the Web sites of distributors and booksellers. Cost per book is $15.

Debut Wins Giller

Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures by 32-year-old physician Vincent Lam won this year's C$40,000 Scotiabank Giller Prize, Canada's most prestigious prize for fiction. Bloodletting is a debut work of short stories and is published by Doubleday Canada; U.S. rights were still available at press time.

Gordon Kato, 45

Gordon Kato, a former literary agent whose discoveries included Tony Earley and Chang-Rae Lee, died of an apparent heart attack on October 30 in Indiana, where he was working on a doctorate in social psychology. He was 45. Kato worked in publishing from 1987 to 2004, starting at Grove/Atlantic and then becoming an agent with ICM before leaving in 1994 to start his own agency. In 2003, he became a partner in Regal Literary. There will be a memorial in NYC at the Half King on Nov. 17, at 7 p.m.