October Store Sales Drop

Bookstore sales fell 2.3% in October, to $1.0 billion, according to preliminary estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. After being up at the end of June, bookstore sales have declined for four consecutive months. For the first 10 months of the year, sales were down 1.8%, to $13.07 billion. Sales for the entire retail segment were up 4.7% in the month and 6.5% in the January through October period.

Strachan to Head C&G

William Strachan has been named editor-in-chief of the Avalon Publishing Group imprints Carroll & Graf and Thunder's Mouth Press, replacing Philip Turner. Strachan, who will start January 2, held editorial spots at Hyperion, Henry Holt and Columbia University Press.

Boylston Buys Preiss Assets

J. Boylston & Company, Publishers has acquired the assets of the various companies and imprints owned by the late Byron Preiss. The Preiss properties were put into Chapter 7 bankruptcy earlier this year. Boylston, owned by John Colby and home to the Brick Tower Press imprint, paid $125,000 for the assets, which include more than 500 titles published under the iBooks, Milk & Cookies Press and Byron Preiss Visual Publications names. Colby plans to start publishing new titles next year.

Kelley Doing Oprah Bio

Kitty Kelley has signed with Random House's Crown Publishing Group to do an unauthorized biography of Oprah Winfrey. The book, which was signed for an undisclosed amount and has no title or release date yet, will, according to a statement from Crown, include interviews with "hundreds of sources" about the talk show diva.

Kelley has written tell-all bios on Nancy Reagan and Frank Sinatra.

Callaway Does Classics

Callaway Arts & Entertainment has partnered with Penguin Books for Young Readers to do a line of oversized high-end children's books called Callaway Classics. The first two titles in the line, The Little Engine That Could and The Ugly Duckling, retail for $85 and come in 13.5"x17" trim. Each title is being printed as a limited collector's edition, and Callaway plans to release two more titles in fall 2007.

Finney Adds Pogo

Finney Company has acquired Pogo Press, a small publisher that specializes in arts, history and popular culture titles. Pogo has published 40 titles, boosting Finney's trade list to 200.

Obituary: Cathy Fox Holstein, 54

Cathy Fox Holstein, a veteran of the publishing industry, died December 10 after a long bout with lung cancer. Holstein had worked in publishing for 26 years, with tenures at Random House, the Lois Wallace Literary Agency, Macmillan and Penguin Group (USA).

Memorial contributions in Holstein's name may be sent to the Relay for Life, American Cancer Society, 2 Lyon Place, White Plains, N.Y. 10601.