Bookstore Sales Down 4.1% in February

Bookstore sales fell 4.1% in February, to just over $1 billion, according to preliminary estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau. As bookstore sales dropped, total retail sales rose 10.5% in the month. For the first two months of 2012, bookstore sales were down 1.9%, to $3.06 billion, while total retail sales rose 8.0%.

No Fiction Pulitzer This Year

For the first time since 1977, the Pulitzer board has decided not to award a prize for fiction. The finalists, selected by a jury that read over 300 books, were Train Dreams by Denis Johnson, Swamplandia! by Karen Russell, and The Pale King by David Foster Wallace, but the board for the prize did not select a winner. The other categories were awarded, and were Malcolm X: A Life in Reinvention (History), George F. Kennan: An American Life (Biography), Life on Mars (Poetry), and The Swerve: How the World Became Modern (General Nonfiction).

Ruckus Launches Retail Platform

Ruckus Media Group has developed the Ruckus Reader, an app that houses all of the company’s interactive storybook apps in what company founder Rick Richter calls “the Ruckus ecosystem.” In addition to its own content, the Ruckus Reader will sell children’s digital titles from other publishers and will provide a “Ruckus Meter,” which will send weekly e-mail reports of a child’s reading progress. Launched in September 2010 by Richter, Ruckus has to date focused on the creation of original apps as well as apps developed through licenses signed with such companies and brands as Hasbro and Sea World.

Courier’s Good And Bad News

Courier Corp. reported net income of $440,000 for the second quarter ended March 24, with sales virtually flat at $62.4 million. In last year’s second quarter, a multimillion-dollar restructuring charge tied to the closing of its Stoughton, Mass., plant led to a loss of $4.8 million. For the full fiscal year, Courier expects sales of between $271 million and $282 million, an increase over fiscal 2011 of between 5% and 9%.

IBT Buys Hamilton Printing

Integrated Book Technology Inc. has acquired the web offset printer Hamilton Printing Company. John R. Paeglow III, IBT president, said that by combining the two companies, “we will be able to offer customers manufacturing for the life cycle of a title, resulting in streamlined inventory management.” The company, which will operate under the IBT/Hamilton name, will be able to print runs from 1 to 10,000 copies. IBT/Hamilton will have more than 160 employees with revenues approaching $30 million.

Jewish E-bookstore From Lerner

Lerner Digital, Lerner Publishing Group’s digital publishing division, has launched the Kar-Ben eBookstore to sell e-books for children with Jewish themes. The store launched with 170 fiction and nonfiction titles that have been published in digital formats under Lerner’s Kar-Ben imprint. Children’s e-books with Jewish themes from other houses will be added.