Issue 3   January 27, 2009
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LETTERS

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In The News

Ben Archer Joins A1Overstock as CEO

A1Overstock, a remainder wholesaler and bargain book company located in Netcong, NJ recently announced that Ben Archer is joined them as CEO of the company.  Ben brings a wealth of experience in the bargain area and has held various positions in sales management, product acquisition, and business development in remainder companies such as Book Country Clearing House and Book Club of America.

A1 Overstock

Domnitz to Leave ABA in July

ABA President Gayle Shanks recently e-mailed ABA bookstore members the news that ABA CEO Avin Mark Domnitz will be stepping down when his contract ends this July. Domnitz, has been the CEO of the American Booksellers Association since 1997. Shanks said that he ‘has ably led an amazing staff over these past 12 years--an era of many accomplishments, of dramatic litigation, and of creative initiatives. Most importantly, I think, Avin has created an organization that is open and responsive to its members, breaking down barriers to communication while encouraging interaction on all levels among booksellers, publishers, wholesalers, the ABA Board, association staff, and the book-loving world.’ In addition, her letter provided important details on the search process for a new ABA CEO and announced the members of a CEO Search Committee.

ABA

OUP Cuts 60 Positions

The nation’s largest university press, Oxford University Press, has laid off 60 people between its two offices in New York and Cary, N.C. Officials are calling this a “cost-cutting exercise”. OUP president Tim Barton said the cuts were “a result of the difficult economic environment impacting the publishing industry.” OUP employs roughly 700 people in the U.S., and publishes approximately 500 new titles a year, approximately half of which are monographs. OUP spokesperson Christian Purdy said besides shedding jobs, the press was not planning any dramatic cuts to its publishing program or to any other strategic initiatives. Purdy said the cut was made in anticipation of a reduction in state and library budgets for next year.

Publisher Weekly

Indie Bookstores Open Across the Country

The American Booksellers Association welcomed the openings of 69 indie bookstores and two online-only booksellers in 2008- which may be surprising in such economic times. The bookstores launched in 28 states, ranging from Florida to Alaska, and the District of Columbia. New York and Texas had the most openings with seven each, and Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Utah each had five.

Bookselling This Week

J.R Trading Co. Welcomes New Team Member

Jerry Rosenbaum, President and CEO, of J.R. Trading Co, is pleased to announce that Paul Small has joined the company on January 26th. "Paul brings 30 years of experience in every facet of the remainder business, and will be a valuable help for our traditional sales outlets, as well as our growing Internet business". JR Trading has been selling remainders, hurts, and overstocks since 1990.

J.R Trading Co.

Harper Offers Early Retirement

HarperCollins is offering early retirement packages to employees over age 55 and with at least five years experience. Spokesperson Erin Crum wouldn't disclose how many positions HC is looking to cut, but a large number of packages are reported to have been prepared. Employees in the New York headquarters, Los Angeles and San Francisco are eligible for the packages as well as employees in the Scranton warehouse. Crumb wouldn't rule out the possibility of layoffs down the line, noting that "given the uncertainty of the times we're looking at all options to control costs."

Publishers Weekly

Amazon To Drop Microsoft, Adobe e-Book Formats

Amazon.com has notified its publisher and author clients that it plans to cease offering e-books in the Microsoft Reader and Adobe e-book formats. In the future, the online retailer says it plans to offer only e-books in the Kindle format (for wireless download to its Kindle reading device) and the Mobipocket format, both of which are owned by Amazon. The online retailer’s note asks publishers and authors to make sure that Amazon has written permission to offer their books for sale in the Mobipocket format.

Publishers Weekly

Education Media & Publishing Group Struggles

The Irish owner of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Education Media & Publishing Group, accounts for about 30% of the U.S. textbook market and is struggling with $7 billion in debt and falling textbook sales. As a result, Education Media "has been firing staff, outsourcing functions, buying fewer new books, and phasing out some textbooks for the past year." In some cases, the company is eliminating textbooks that duplicate material. Education Media also remains "open" to selling its well-regarded trade publishing operation.

Shelf Awareness

CEOs Loose Jobs Twice as Much in Economic Crisis

The ever weakening American economy has cost 524,000 Americans their jobs in December alone. But it isn’t just hurting the common work force, this economy is even swelling the jobless rate for chief executives. William Watkins, recently laid off at Seagate Technology LLC, was the sixth CEO of a publicly held company to be replaced in just a matter of eight days. His exit follows the departures last week of CEOs at Tyson Foods Inc., Borders Group Inc., Orbitz Worldwide Inc., Chico's FAS Inc. and Bebe Stores Inc. CEO turnover "doubles in bad times," said Dirk Jenter, an assistant finance professor at Stanford University's business school, who recently analyzed 1,627 CEO changes between 1993 and 2001. Jenter found that CEOs are most vulnerable in a downturn when their employers' shareholder returns lag rivals.

The Wall Street Journal

McGuire Named Head of the Board for Borders

Shortly after Borders named Ron Marshall its new CEO, the company has tapped Richard “Mick” McGuire to be chairman of its board. The 32-year-old former hedge fund exec is replacing Larry Pollock, who's held the non-executive post since July 2006; Pollock is keeping a seat on the board.

Publishers Weekly

Trade Store Experiment Ends for Follett

Intellectual Property, after nearly three years in business as a stand-alone trade bookstore operated by Follett in Austin, Texas, will close in March. The 6,000, sq-ft. bookstore opened in 2006 across from the campus of the University of Texas and exclusively sold trade books, academic titles, and sidelines, but no textbooks. Follett was recruited by the University to open the store after a Barnes & Noble on the same street closed the previous year. The University paid Intellectual Property an annual subsidy of $75,000 for it to host events for UT professors and sell books on campus. The decision to close comes as the store’s lease comes up for renewal. “Unfortunately, foot traffic wasn’t what we expected it to be and we were never able to sell enough volume in that location,” said Follett spokesperson Elio DiStaola. “We struggled to make our sales goals.”

Publishers Weekly

Publishers Weekly Cuts Staff

Publishers Weekly has laid off at least five more staff members, including editor-in-chief Sara Nelson, executive editor Daisy Maryles, bookselling editor Kevin Howell, children's reviews editor Elizabeth Devereaux and director of business development Rachel Dicker. School Library Journal editor-in-chief Brian Kenney is becoming editorial director of PW, SLJ and Library Journal, the New York Times reported.

Publishers Weekly

ALA Announces Awards for the Best in Children's Books

The American Library Association recently announced the winners of its Caldecott and Newbery medals and other awards for the best children's and young adult literature at its Midwinter Meeting in Denver. Among this year's winners were: For the most outstanding contribution to children's literature The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman; The Underneath by Kathi Appelt, illustrated by David Small; The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba's Struggle for Freedom by Margarita Engle; Savvy by Ingrid Law; After Tupac and D Foster by Jacqueline Woodson. For the most distinguished American picture book for children: The House in the Night, illustrated by Beth Krommes and written by Susan Marie Swanson. CALDECOTT HONOR BOOKS: A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever by Marla Frazee; How I Learned Geography by Uri Shulevitz; A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams, illustrated by Melissa Sweet and written by Jen Bryant. Recognizing African-American authors and illustrators of outstanding books for children and young adults that demonstrate sensitivity to "the true worth and value of all beings": For Author: We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball, written and illustrated by Kadir Nelson. For Illustrator: The Blacker the Berry, illustrated by Floyd Cooper, written by Joyce Carol Thomas, Amistad. KING AUTHOR HONOR BOOKS: The Blacker the Berry, by Joyce Carol Thomas, illustrated by Floyd Cooper; Keeping the Night Watch, by Hope Anita Smith, illustrated by E.B. Lewis; Becoming Billie Holiday, by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Floyd Cooper. KING HONOR BOOKS FOR ILLUSTRATOR: We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball, written and illustrated by Kadir Nelson; Before John Was a Jazz Giant, by Carole Boston Weatherford;The Moon Over Star by Dianna Hutts Aston, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney. CORETTA SCOTT KING/JOHN STEPTOE NEW TALENT AWARD: Shadra Strickland, illustrator of Bird, written by Zetta Elliott.

Bookselling This Week


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