Weak Dollar, Deals at LBF

The weak dollar and subsequent high cost of doing business in Europe is an issue affecting everything from the cost of exhibiting at the London Book Fair to whether rights are sold for pounds, euros or dollars. Agents are split: while deals in euros or pounds offer bigger royalty payouts, deals in dollars seem like bargains to foreign publishers, noted Park Literary Group foreign rights director Abigail Koons.

In rights sales, Margaret Raymo, editorial director for Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, preempted U.S. rights to Genesis, a first novel by Bernard Beckett. HM publisher Becky Saletan bought North American rights to Deep Creek, a debut novel by husband-and-wife team Anne Matthews and Will Howarth. FSG’s Courtney Hodell preempted U.S. rights to Amy Waldman’s debut novel, The Submission, and Paul Slovak at Viking bought U.S. rights to Eva Sallis’s Dog Boy, a novel exploring the distinctions between human and other creatures.

For lots more coverage of the fair, go to www.publishersweekly.com

Bush Kills RIF Funding

President Bush’s proposed 2009 budget eliminates all funding for Reading Is Fundamental’s book distribution program, which since 1966 has provided more than 325 million books to more than 30 million underprivileged children. The program has funding through September 2009 but if eliminated, nearly five million kids will not receive some 16 million free books in 2010. Visit RIF.org to send an e-mail to Congress in support of the program.

Borders Reorg

Borders has shuffled its internal merchandising team. In a letter to publishers from Rob Gruen, Borders executive v-p of merchandising and marketing, the retailer outlines plans to be restructure its staff into a merchandising department with buyers, planners and directors, effective May 19. Borders said the move has not resulted in the loss of any positions, has been planned for months and that it is not related to the announcement that the chain is up for sale.

Nelson Drops Out of BEA, ICRS

Citing the looming economic downturn, Thomas Nelson said it is pulling out of both BEA and the International Christian Retail Show, the summer show of Christian Booksellers Association. The move came on the heels of Nelson’s successful first Open House for Christian retailers, an event where the publisher brings in its top accounts, all expenses paid. Nelson CEO Michael Hyatt said, ”These trade shows provide very little return on a very significant investment.”

Publishers Sue Georgia State

With the support of the Association of American Publishers, two university presses and a professional publisher have filed suit against officials at Georgia State University. The suit charges that “hundreds of professors have compiled thousands of copyrighted works, made them available for electronic distribution, and invited students to download, view and print such materials without permission of the copyright holders.” Plaintiffs include Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press and SAGE.

Graphic Novel Sales Rise

According to an analysis delivered at the annual ICv2 Graphic Novel Conference, 2007 graphic novel sales in the U.S. and Canada rose 12%, to $375 million. The number of titles increased 22%, to 3,391. ICv2 CEO Milton Griepp cautioned that growth has slowed, and finding shelf space for an increasing number of titles will be a challenge.


In last week’s issue (April 14), Susan Kaminsky, who died March 31, was incorrectly identified as the wife of Stuart Kaminsky. She was the wife of Howard Kaminsky.