November Store Sales Fall

November bookstore sales fell 2.0%, to $1.03 billion, according to preliminary estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. The decline in November is the largest since sales fell 3.0% in May. Through the first 11 months of 2009, bookstore sales were down 0.9%, to $14.60 billion. For the entire retail sector, sales fell 2.6% in November and declined 7.9% for the 11 months of 2009.

Haights Files Prepackaged Bankruptcy

Haights Cross Communications filed for prepackaged bankruptcy last week. The filing is part of Haights Cross's financial restructuring plan it announced late last summer to reduce its debt from $380 million to $180 million and extend payment terms. The filing is not expected to interrupt the day-to-day operations of the company's subsidiaries, and Haights expects to conclude the Chapter 11 process within 60 days.

Ferguson Gets Imprint at FSG

Margaret Ferguson, a 30-year veteran of Farrar, Straus & Giroux, who has served for the past 16 years as publisher and editorial director at FSG Books for Young Readers, will launch an eponymous imprint with FSG, called Margaret Ferguson Books, in 2011. The imprint will publish approximately 15 titles per year, across all age ranges and formats.

Stone Bridge Press Reacquired

Stone Bridge Press founder Peter Goodman has reacquired the Berkeley, Calif., publisher that he sold to Yohan Inc., the Japanese book distributor, in 2005. Goodman bought the company from IBC, formerly a Yohan subsidiary, which took over Stone Bridge before Yohan declared bankruptcy in 2008. Stone Bridge will release about 10 books this year. Distribution will continue through Consortium.

Houghton Parent Restructures

Educational Media & Publishing Group, parent company of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, is working on a “comprehensive” financial restructuring that EM&PG said “will put the company on a stronger financial footing for the future.” In August, EM&PG completed a financial restructuring that turned some debt into equity and lowered the stake of existing shareholders, including company chairman Barry O'Callaghan. EM&PG said the restructuring will not impact the day-to-day operations of HMH. The publisher will continue to be headed by O'Callaghan and the current management team.

Joy Berry Signs With Perseus

Perseus Distribution announced that it would take over sales and distribution for Joy Berry Enterprises, which publishes books by the educator and child development specialist Joy Berry. Berry boasts more than 85 million books sold and began releasing books via Joy Berry Enterprises in late 2008.

Scribd Intros OCR

Scribd, a “social publisher” that allows anyone to upload their content to the site for sharing, has introduced Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology, which will make scanned material readable and searchable online. The move is part of a sweeping effort by the company to prevent the pirating of works from its site.

Archie, RH in Distribution Deal

Archie Comic Publications has signed with Random House Publisher Services to distribute graphic novels and trade paperbacks about the Riverdale High teen in the U.S. and worldwide book market. RH will begin distribution of Archie paperbacks in September. Diamond Comics will continue to distribute Archie periodical comics and graphic novels to the U.S. comics shops market.

Xerox to Market, Sell EBM

Xerox and On Demand Books, maker of the Espresso Book Machine, will jointly market and sell the EBM with the Xerox 4112 Copier/Printer worldwide. Under the new deal, the 21 stores and libraries that already use the EBM will not be required to switch to the 4112, although it is faster than the Quasar printer. By partnering with Xerox, On Demand will have access to a sales force for the first time.