HM Completes Harcourt Buy

Houghton Mifflin has completed its purchase of Harcourt's U.S. education, trade and reference groups for $4 billion. With the closing, HM is renaming the combination Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, with Tony Lucki serving as chairman and CEO. HM is promising a quick integration, with a spokesperson noting that the process will be “particularly robust in the first 90 days.”

October Store Sales Up

Bookstore sales increased for the fourth consecutive month in October, rising 8.0%, to $1.10 billion. Sales through the first 10 months of the year were still virtually flat, with sales up 0.3%, to $13.47 billion, according to estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. For the entire retail segment, sales were up 6.2% in October and 4.0% for the first 10 months.

Murphy Named Scholastic Trade Publisher

Suzanne Murphy, v-p of marketing for Scholastic Trade, has been named v-p and publisher, trade publishing and marketing, and will assume many of the duties Ellie Berger held when she was in that role, before her promotion to division president in October.

In her new role, which she starts January 1, Murphy named David Saylor to the newly created position of v-p, associate publisher and creative director for hardcover books. Leslie Garych has been named v-p of trade marketing, and Tracy van Straaten has been appointed v-p of publicity and education/library marketing. David Levithan has been appointed to executive editorial director for Scholastic Fiction, Multimedia Publishing and Push.

Blackwell Boosts Wiley

Helped by $116 million in revenue from Blackwell, which it acquired in February, total sales at John Wiley & Sons rose 49% in the second quarter ended October 31, to $423 million, while operating income increased 47%, to $61.9 million. Excluding Blackwell, sales were up 8%, led by strong sales overseas. In domestic markets, sales in the professional/trade segment rose 7%, to $109.1 million, while sales in the higher education segment increased 2%, to $42.6 million. Revenue in the STM group increased 2%, to $56.4 million.

For the first half of the fiscal year, revenue was up 48%, to $811.6 million (8% excluding Blackwell), with operating income up 41%, to $108.2 million. Excluding sales from Blackwell, which Wiley expects will top $450 million this year, the company said it continues to expect revenue for the year to grow in the mid-to-high single digits.

Sanderson to Complete Jordan's Finale

Tor Books has announced that novelist Brandon Sanderson has been chosen to finish writing the final novel, A Memory of Light, in Robert Jordan's bestselling Wheel of Time fantasy series. Jordan died September 16 of a rare blood disease. The new novel will be the 12th book in the fantasy series, which has sold more than 14 million copies in North America; it is scheduled for publication in fall 2009.

'Essence' Launches Awards

Essence Magazine will launch two overlapping initiatives this winter: the Essence Literary Awards and the Save Our Libraries campaign. The awards will honor African-American authors in the categories of fiction, nonfiction, children's, poetry, commentary/public affairs, memoir and photography, and will be announced on Dec. 19. The 102-year-old Countee Cullen Regional Library in Harlem will be the first recipient of the Save Our Libraries effort, which will include book donations and Essence-sponsored author events at the library throughout the year. And Essence will present a Lifetime Achievement Award to Terry McMillan for her contributions to contemporary African-American literature.