Bantam, Dell Merged with Ballantine

In a move aimed at better focusing the Random House Publishing Group's publishing programs, the company has merged the Bantam, Dell division with that of Ballantine to form Ballantine Bantam Dell. Libby McGuire has been named senior v-p and publisher and will oversee the hardcover and mass market publishing programs for the imprints in her expanded division, incorporating Ballantine, Bantam, Del Rey/Spectra, Delacorte, Dell, ESPN Books, One World, Presidio, and Villard. As a result of the reorganization, Nita Taublib, executive v-p, publisher and editor-in-chief of Bantam Dell, is leaving the company.

The new BBD executive team comprises Jennifer Hershey who has been named senior v-p, editor in chief; Scott Shannon, who will add the additional title of publisher, Ballantine Bantam Dell Mass Market, to his current role as v-p, publisher, Del Rey/Spectra; and Kim Hovey, who will become v-p, associate publisher, for Ballantine Bantam Dell. All three will report to McGuire.

Zondervan Cuts 30

Zondervan is laying off 30 employees. The employees, who each have a 30-day transition period, are primarily from sales, marketing, and creative teams. Zondervan said while cuts are taking place in some areas, it is adding employees who can help Zondervan increase its presence via digital and electronic media as such devices as the iPad and Kindle gain users.

CBA Sales Down 3%

The annual report from CBA, the trade association for Christian retailers, showed a net sales decrease of 3.1% for 2009. The report, drawing on data from 157 Christian retailers, also found that 25% of stores reported a sales increase last year, and 9% had flat results. Looking at 2010, 3.2% of respondents said they plan to close their store this year, down from 6.3% in last year's survey, and 82% of responding stores expect sales in 2010 to be the same or better than 2009, with an average estimated increase coming in at 2.2%.

February Store Sales Slip

Bookstore sales had a disappointing February, falling 0.7%, to just over $1 billion, according to preliminary estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau. February 2009 was the middle of the deep slump in retail sales caused by the recession, and sales in that month were 11.3% below February 2008; the 2010 figure is 12% below sales in February 2008. For the entire retail market, sales rose 4.6% this February. For the first two months of 2010, bookstore sales were up 1.1%, thanks to a relatively good January. Sales for the entire retail segment were up 3.6% in the first two months of 2010.

Orbit Launches Digital Short Fiction

Hachette's science fiction and fantasy imprint Orbit will start a digital short fiction publishing program this fall that will be open to authors published by Orbit in the U.S. Word length is still being worked out, but the pieces will be compatible with a variety of digital reading platforms and made available through major retail channels. The stories will be priced at $1.99, and authors will receive a royalty in line with Hachette's prevailing rate of 25% of net receipts.

Marvel Moving To Hachette

Beginning in September, Marvel Comics will switch to the Hachette Book Group to distribute its hardcover and paperback titles into the domestic and international book trade market. Marvel book titles are currently distributed to the book trade by Diamond Book Distributors, the book trade distribution division of Diamond Comics Distributors. Marvel has also extended its contract with Diamond Comics Distributors to distribute its titles into the domestic comic shop market, also known as the Direct Market.

Harlequin Buys Out German Partner

Harlequin has acquired the 50% interest in its German publishing operation, Cora Verlag, held by its partner Axel Springer. No major changes are expected at the company, with editing, translations, and printing of the German titles continuing under the existing team in Germany. Cora publishes about 700 titles annually.

Obituary: Nina Bourne, 93

Nina Bourne, Knopf's v-p and director of advertising for more than 42 years, died April 9 at home in Manhattan at the age of 93. As the head of advertising—first at Simon & Schuster, where she worked for 29 years, and then at Knopf, where she went with Bob Gottlieb in 1968—Bourne was an influential ad designer and earned a reputation for crafting the most effective, and most imitated, ads in publishing. She continued going into the office up until last fall. A memorial service is being planned for some time in May.