February Store Sales Up
After declining 4.9% in January, bookstore sales rose 9.3% in February, to $1.11 billion, according to preliminary estimates from the Census Bureau. Sales include all items sold in college and trade bookstores. The rebound in February resulted in a slight two-month dip for bookstore sales, which were down 0.5%, to $3.33 billion. For the entire retail segment, sales in February rose 9.5%, while sales for the first two months of 2011 were up 8.4%.

Freese Leaves NBN
Rich Freese has stepped down as president of National Book Network. Jed Lyons, CEO of NBN and president and CEO of its sister company, the Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, said he has no plans to replace Freese. John Groton will continue to handle sales; Jeanne Kramer will run client management. Lyons said that rather than looking to add clients, NBN is focusing on driving sales for its existing clients. Freese's departure ends his second stint with NBN. He returned to the distributor in July 2009 after serving in executive roles with MotorBooks International, Publishers Group West, and BookMasters Distribution Services.

Schoenwald Succeeds Hyatt At Nelson
Mark Schoenwald, who has been president and COO of Thomas Nelson, has been named to succeed Michael Hyatt as CEO of the religious publisher. Hyatt will continue to serve as chairman of the board. Schoenwald joined Nelson in 2005 as chief sales officer after serving as president of home decor, garden, and gift companies including New Creative Enterprises, One Coast Network, and Kennedy Group.

Shannon Named to New Digital Post at Random House
Random House Publishing Group president Gina Centrello has appointed Scott Shannon to the newly created position of senior v-p, publisher, digital content for Little Random. Most recently publisher of Ballantine Bantam Dell Mass Market, Shannon will now oversee the day-to-day digital publishing decision-making for the group. With Shannon's promotion, Libby McGuire, senior v-p for BBD, will assume direct responsibility for Random's mass market paperback list. Shannon remains publisher of Del Rey/Spectra.

Random Forms Hogarth
The Crown Publishing Group in the U.S. and Chatto & Windus, an imprint of Vintage Publishing, a division of the Random House Group in the U.K., have formed Ho-garth, an imprint that will focus on "contemporary, voice-driven, character-rich stories that entertain, inform, and move readers." Molly Stern, senior v-p, publisher, of Crown, will lead the imprint in the U.S., while Clara Farmer, publishing director, Chatto & Windus, will lead the U.K. imprint. In the U.S., Hogarth will publish between eight and 10 fiction titles each year.

Wharton Forms Digital Press
The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania has launched Wharton Digital Press and signed with Perseus Book Group's Constellation service to produce and distribute its titles in different digital formats as well as through print on demand. Shannon Berning, former director of product development at Kaplan Publishing, has been appointed executive editor. The imprint's first titles will be released in June with plans to do 25 to 30 annually. In addition to e-books drawn straight from text, WDP will do enhanced e-books as well as apps.

No Change for Rosato
Steve Rosato remains event director for BookExpo America, still reporting to Reed Exhibitions senior v-p Courtney Muller. A release sent out the day before the London Book Fair about the appointment of LBF director Alistair Burtenshaw to director of Publishing and Books caused confusion about the reporting lines for Reed's publishing shows. Burtenshaw's appointment is a supervisory role to help identify opportunities and synergies between the Reed book shows and gives him no responsibility for the day-to-day management of BEA.