Store Sales Up In July
Sparked by the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, July bookstore sales rose 7.3%, to $1.19 billion, according to estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. The solid July gain—the first increase in 2007—was not enough to boost sales for the seven-month period, which were down 3.2%, to $8.52 billion. For the entire retail segment, sales were up 3.5% in July and ahead 3.9% for the year to date.
Potter Drives Scholastic
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, along with the six previous Potter titles, contributed sales of $240 million to Scholastic in the first quarter ended August 31, helping to drive total revenue up 75%, to $586.9 million. The sales spike cut Scholastic's loss in the period to $2.8 million from $46.9 million.
The big gain in trade sales helped to offset a 7% drop in book club revenue in the period, as well as a 14% decline in book fair sales. Sales in the continuity segment rose 3%, to $46.4 million.
Perseus to Get PGW Name, Leases
Perseus has reached an agreement with the AMS estate to acquire the PGW name and office leases in Berkeley, Calif., and New York City for $80,000. The sale involves all intellectual property associated with the PGW and Publishers Group West marks and names, including brand, logo and naming rights. The purchase also includes PGW's lease obligations in New York and Berkeley. If the deal is approved by the bankruptcy court, the Berkeley location will be used to house the West Coast staff of the former Avalon Publishing Group, which Perseus acquired earlier this year.
Borders Expands Sony Ties
Borders, which sells the Sony e-book reader in 270 superstores, will put the device in more than 500 outlets beginning in October. Also starting next month, Borders will team with Sony to launch a co-branded e-bookstore. Currently, e-book titles for the reader can only be downloaded through Sony's Connect online store. The co-branded site will have a separate URL from the Borders and Sony sites when it launches, but the store will eventually become part of the retailer's e-commerce site, Borders.com, when that goes live early next year.
Borders U.K. Unit Sold
Borders Group has agreed to sell its U.K. stores to Risk Capital Partners, a London-based private equity firm, for £10 million ($20 million) in cash, a 17% stake in the new company and incentives that could add another £10 million to the deal. The purchase involves 41 Borders superstores and 28 Books etc. locations, as well as the right to continue to use the Borders name. David Roche, head of Borders U.K., will continue to run the business. The deal does not include Borders's Paperchase stationery operation, which includes shops within existing Borders stores in the U.K. and U.S, nor Borders's Asia Pacific group.
Bloomsbury U.S. Down
Sales in Bloomsbury's U.S. operations fell 14.9%, to £5.8 million ($12 million), in the first six months of 2007, and the division is not expected to be profitable for the full year, reported parent company Bloomsbury. Bloomsbury was hopeful that business will pick up in the second half, and expects more improvement in 2008 in the U.S. when titles from the new Bloomsbury Press imprint start to be released.
Results were better in Bloomsbury's other operations, and total revenue for the U.K.-based company rose 36%, to £51.4 million, although profits slipped to £2.5 million from £3.0 million. Results do not include sales from the U.K. release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
Sylvan, RH Do Imprint
Random House and Sylvan Learning have partnered to form Sylvan Learning Books. The imprint, which will bow in September 2008, will release 20 titles annually, a mix of trade paperbacks and educational kits for students in pre-K through high school. Sylvan Learning Books' first list will feature eight titles.
Harlequin Commits to E-books
Harlequin has committed to making every title on its frontlist available as an e-book. The publisher, which has been heavily involved in the market since 2005, when it began releasing nine titles every month in the format, will now do more than 120 e-books every month. Prices will be slightly lower for e-books than for print editions.