Books Flat at Hastings
Same-store sales of books inched ahead 0.2% at Hastings Entertainment in the first quarter ended April 30. Used and value books plus the Stephenie Meyer titles and The Shack topped sales in the period, Hastings reported. For the entire company, revenue fell 4.7%, to $125.7 million, and net income dropped 43%, to $1.7 million. The strongest segment performers in the quarter were Hastings’s café and electronics categories. The music segment continued to drag down results, with comparble sales off 15.2%.
Univ. of Michigan, Google in Deal
The University of Michigan has signed an expanded agreement with Google that, among other things, provides the school a subsidized subscription to Google Book Search and allows it, as well as Google’s other library partners, to challenge the pricing of institutional subscriptions.
Getty Cuts 10
Getty Publications recently laid off 10 employees, 20% of its staff, in a move to compensate for a 24% reduction in revenue last year from the endowment that partly subsidizes its publication program. Three of those employees were able to relocate to other departments within the Museum, but the others either lost their jobs or took early retirement. The publications department now has a staff of 40. The cuts came mostly in nonpublishing activities, including the production of brochures, maps, stationery, business cards and signage for the Museum.
Williamson Forms Worth Media
Byron Williamson, former president of Word Publishing, Nelson/Word Publishers and Integrity Publishers, has formed Worthy Media, a privately funded holding company that will start new business units and acquire Christian content, marketing and distribution companies. Worthy’s first business unit, Worthy Resources, will begin by producing a video series based on the bestselling 90 Minutes in Heaven by Don Piper (Revell).
Customized Obama Book Set
Rick Smolan is teaming up with Hewlett-Packard to publish customized editions of The Obama Time Capsule. The coffee-table book will feature photos and text documenting President Obama’s run to the White House plus his administration’s first 100 days in office, augmented with pictures from customers. Smolan is the creator of the Day in a Life and America 24/7 series. Time Capsule, priced at $34.95, will be sold only through Amazon, where customers who order the title click on a link, fill out some questions and then load their material into the book.
Scribd Starts Online Store
Scribd, the online site that posts all types of written documents, has launched the Scribd Store as part of its effort to help authors and publishers generate revenue from their works that are posted on the site. Rightsholders will get 80% of revenue, and also have complete control over price and can dictate what to sell, whether entire documents, chapters, even pages.
Scribd has come under fire from some authors and publishers for unauthorized posts, but the company said it is increasing its efforts to take down posts as soon as possible after being notified.
eMusic Adds Titles
eMusic’s audiobook catalogue has surpassed 7,000 titles. The expansion is due to new agreements to sell DRM-free audiobooks from Recorded Books and HighBridge Audio. eMusic has also recently added Sounds True, Gildan Media, Oasis Audio and PublicAffairs to its roster. Since eMusic began offering audiobooks through its site in fall 2007, more than 250,000 audiobooks have been downloaded.
Scholastic Trims 11
Scholastic, which has been steadily reducing its workforce for about 18 months, eliminated 11 positions in its trade and Klutz divisions. The move comes less than two months after Debra Lande was named publisher of Klutz, Scholastic’s “books plus” division.
OverDrive in China Deal
OverDrive is partnering with digital publisher ChineseAll to supply Chinese-language e-books and audiobooks to public libraries in North America. The collection will include more than 20,000 titles, with 8,000 e-books and 3,000 audiobooks to be available in the first year.