DoJ Reviews Comments, Will Proceed

After receiving 868 comments regarding its proposed settlement with Simon & Schuster, Hachette, and HarperCollins in its e-book price-fixing lawsuit, the Department of Justice has determined that the proposed “final judgment” provides “an appropriate and effective remedy” for the antitrust violations alleged in its complaint “and therefore is in the public interest.” It dismissed critical comments to the settlement as largely being submitted “by those who have an interest in seeing consumers pay more for e-books, and hobbling retailers that might want to sell e-books at lower prices.”

Penguin’s Profits Fall 48%

After several years of steady growth, Penguin Group had a 4% decline in sales, to £441 million, and a 48% drop in adjusted operating profit, to £22 million, in the first six months of 2012. The declines were attributed primarily to softness at Penguin Group USA, which the company said was due to a “lighter” publishing schedule”; big sales of the Fifty Shades and Hunger Games trilogies, which siphoned sales from other titles; and continued pressure on physical book publishing and retailing.

Amazon’s Sales Soar, Earnings Fall

Total sales at Amazon rose 29% in the second quarter ended June 30, rising to $12.83 billion, while operating income fell to $107 million, from $201 million in last year’s second quarter. Both figures were hurt by foreign exchange, while the sales figure was at the high end of its forecast with income exceeding its earlier predictions. North America media sales increased 18% in the quarter, to $1.87 billion, while electronics and other general merchandise jumped 41%, to $4.94 billion.

MHE Sales Down, Earnings Up

McGraw-Hill Education reported that for the second quarter ended June 30 sales at MHE declined 12%, to $474 million, although operating profit, benefiting from “restructuring actions and ongoing tight expense management,” rose 36%, to $57 million. The biggest decline in the quarter came in the school education group, where revenue fell 20%.

Courier Corp. Third-Quarter Sales Off

Declines in both its publishing and manufacturing segments led to a 5% drop in total sales, to $58.9 million, at Courier Corp. in the third quarter ended June 23. Net income was $1.6 million, including severance costs of $235,000 in conjunction with the consolidation of one-color printing operations, compared to a loss of $3.1 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2011, which included a pretax charge of $8.6 million.

RH Launches TV Division

After several years working in the film business, with its Random House Films unit, Random House is getting into television. The publisher is partnering with FremantleMedia, a TV production/distribution company, to develop scripted programs based on its books. Both companies are owned by Bertelsmann. Random House Television will be housed in the newly created Random House Studio group, which also includes the film division. RH Studio and the film unit will be run by Peter Gethers, but Jeffrey Levine will be the point person at RH TV.

Seven Stories Launches Kids Imprint

Seven Stories Press will start Triangle Square Editions, its first children’s imprint. Dan Simon, founder and publisher at Seven Stories, plans to release titles only in the fall. The first list includes two works of nonfiction: a multicultural history, A Different Mirror for Young People by Ronald Takaki, and a memoir by mezzo-soprano Laurie Rubin, Do You Dream in Color? Insights from a Girl Without Sight.