May Bookstore Sales Up

Bookstore sales rose 2.6% in May, to $1.15 billion, according to preliminary estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. Sales for the entire retail segment were up 2.5% in the month. For the first five months of the year, bookstore sales were up 4.9%, to $6.60 billion. Sales for all of retail rose 3.5% in the period.

'Publishing News' to Close

The U.K. book trade weekly Publishing News will publish its last issue July 25. The 29-year-old magazine attributed the closure to advertisers' shifting their spending to online and direct sales. Closing the magazine will result in the elimination of eight positions, including editor Liz Thomson, deputy editor Roger Tagholm, Rodney Burbeck and Ralph Baxter.

Borders Peddling Film Rights

Borders has acquired the film rights to its next major proprietary publishing title, The 8th Day by Tom Avitable. The thriller is due out in late August from Borders's State Street Press imprint, and the retailer explained its decision to buy the film rights by noting that 8th Day is “an exceptional novel with potential to be a big hit” both in print and in theaters. CEO George Jones and executive v-p of merchandising and marketing Rob Gruen will manage the film rights.

F+W Now F+W Media

Book and magazine publisher F+W Publications has changed its name to F+W Media, effective immediately. The name change reflects F+W's efforts to move more rapidly into the digital marketplace by digitizing its entire catalogue of book titles and magazine archives. By the end of the year, the company expects to have more than 1,000 digitized products. In 2009, new books and other new products will be digitized upon release.

B&T Revamps Buying

Wholesaler Baker & Taylor has revamped its books merchandise buying area, putting the emphasis on category buying. As part of the restructuring, B&T has formed a merchandise buying department and a merchandise planning and allocation department. The new service will officially begin in September. Jean Srnecz, senior v-p of merchandising, will oversee both newly formed groups.

Guild Sends E-book Advisory

Last week, the Authors Guild sent an advisory to its members suggesting that they carefully review a letter from Simon & Schuster that looks to add an amendment to their contracts that will set the standard royalty for e-books at 15% of the catalogue retail price. The Guild said that members should consult their attorney or agent about the proposal, warning that members could potentially lose rights by signing the agreement.

The alert also advises that members should try to retain the right to renegotiate e-book royalties; the Guild expects that 15% of the retail list price will be the low-water mark for e-book royalties.

Book Sales Dip In Canada

Operating revenue for the book publishing industry in Canada dipped 1.2%, to C$2.1 billion in 2006, according to “The Survey of Book Publishers” released by Statistics Canada. Data collection for the survey represents about 95% of total revenues earned by the publishing industry.