Weak Quarter For Scholastic
Lower sales of its high-margin educational technology programs, higher investment in digital initiatives, and school funding cuts combined to increase Scholastic's operating loss in the third quarter ended February 28 to $31.9 million, from $500,000 in the comparable period in fiscal 2010. The loss in the most recent quarter includes a $3.5 million bad debt expense associated with Borders's bankruptcy. Sales slipped from $398.8 million to $393.7 million.

For the nine-month period, revenue for all of Scholastic was flat, at $1.37 billion, and operating income fell to $50 million, from $69.8 million. Scholastic now expects full-year sales to be about $1.9 billion and earnings per share from continuing operations of $1.25 to $1.40 before the impact of one-time items.

Hastings's Book Comps Down
Book comps fell 4.2% in the fiscal year ended January 31 at Hastings Entertainment and were particularly soft in the fourth quarter, declining 7.0%. The 4.2% decline in book comps for the full year was driven by lower sales of new trade paperbacks, mass market books, and hardcovers, and lower sales of magazines, only partially offset by increased sales of used trade paperbacks and hardbacks. For the entire company, net income fell to $1.7 million last year, from $6.9 million; earnings in 2009 included a series of one-time gains totaling about $6 million. Revenue fell 1.9% for the year, to $521.1 million, with overall comps up 1.4%. Hastings operated three fewer stores in the fourth quarter in 2010 than in 2009.

Seo to Head Chronicle Children's
Chronicle Books has appointed Ginee Seo as children's publishing director. Seo will attend the Bologna Children's Book Fair on behalf of Chronicle, and her first day at the publisher's San Francisco office will be May 12. Chronicle has been without a director for its children's division since Josalyn Moran left last May to become publisher at Albert Whitman. Seo was most recently v-p and editorial director at S&S's Atheneum, where she had her own imprint. She stepped down in 2008.

Abrams Has New Kids Imprint
In spring 2012, Abrams will launch its third imprint dedicated to children's books: Appleseed Books. Helmed by publishing director Cecily Kaiser, the imprint will publish eight to 12 titles per season, aimed at children up to age five. The Appleseed list will be a mix of board, novelty, and picture books.