Major Restructuring at Bookspan
Bertelsmann has implemented a major overhaul at Bookspan, a process that will eliminate 280 positions, or about 15% of its workforce. As part of integrating Bookspan into BMG Columbia House, an unspecified number of smaller clubs will be closed, as will Madison Park Press, the publishing program launched about 18 months ago. Madison Park publisher Carole Baron will remain with Bookspan in a new role.
The realignment is being done to focus the company on its core brands such as Book-of-the-Month, Doubleday, Black Expressions, Crossings and the Literary Guild. The clubs to be closed, which include American Compass and InsightOut, will be phased out over the rest of the year. The Madison Park imprint will honor all of its publishing commitments, but will not do any more original publishing.
Murray Up At HC
Brian Murray, HarperCollins group president, has been promoted to the newly created position of president of HarperCollins worldwide. In the new job, Murray will work with CEO Jane Friedman, helping to “identify and direct the company’s worldwide growth.”
Reich to Head PGW
Susan Reich has been named president of Publishers Group West, effective July 30. Reich, who at one time was v-p, marketing, at PGW, is currently president and COO of the Avalon Publishing Group, a position she will step down from at the end of June. She will report to Joe Mangan, COO of Perseus.
Lockhart Leaving Zondervan
Zondervan president and CEO Doug Lockhart is stepping down from his position June 1. Bruce Ryskamp, former president and CEO, will serve as interim president and CEO. Ryskamp retired from Zondervan in 2005, when Lockhart took the helm.
Results Up At Indigo in Fiscal '07
Indigo Books & Music Inc. reported that total annual revenue grew 2.7%, to C$875 million ($805 million), while net earnings rose 18.5%, to C$30.0 million ($27.6 million) for the fiscal year that ended March 31, 2007. Same-store sales at its superstores rose 2.5%, while comp sales at traditional stores were up 2.2%. Sales through the online division rose 9.1%.
Warner Biz Rebranded
The Hachette Book Group USA’s Grand Central Publishing division will rename its Warner Business imprint Business Plus; the new name will appear on titles in September. The imprint is also partnering with Hachette’s U.K. subsidiary, Headline Hodder.
Hastings Earnings Rise
Total sales at Hastings Entertainment fell 2.6% in the first quarter ended April 30, to $128 million, but earnings rose to $2.5 million from $1.9 million. The improvement in profits was attributed to changes in the retailer’s merchandising and buying. Book comps fell 1.3% in the quarter, which Hastings said was due to fewer sales of its value book offerings, partially offset by higher sales of new hardcovers. Although earnings for the quarter were higher than expected, Hastings said it is worried about the impact of higher gas prices on sales this year.