Notes: Oprah Picks; AMS/PGW Shifts; Graphic Arts 'Emerges'
Oprah Winfrey has picked another book club title, which she'll
unveil this Friday, January 26, according to the AP. This is her first
pick in more than a year; she may have been gun shy after the James
Frey disaster, which occurred just a year ago.
Despite the million little Frey problems, Oprah has not lost her touch. Her last pick, Elie Wiesel's Night, reportedly has sold 1.5 million copies because of the O endorsement.
Perseus Books and AMS have confirmed that
Perseus is offering PGW publishers 70 cents for every dollar of their
claims against bankrupt AMS if the publishers drop claims against AMS
and sign distribution agreements with Perseus, according to today's Wall Street Journal. The deal must also be approved by the bankruptcy court.
PGW's largest publisher, Avalon, has been acquired by Perseus--and is more than in on this deal. Grove/Atlantic, PGW's second-largest publisher, has also agreed to go along. Perseus president and CEO David Steinberger estimated that the deal will cost his company about $20 million.
The article also looked at the economics of the AMS bankruptcy for one typical PGW publisher, Soft Skull Press, Brooklyn, N.Y. Publisher Richard Nash estimated that he is owed $110,000 by PGW and has $250,000 in debt, including $40,000 from family members that he considers a personal loan. He called the Perseus offer fair but said he will likely need to find new investors. "The landscape is changing, and the kind of informal cash-flow assistance that independents got from distributors is over," he told the paper.
In a related item, the most striking news heard on the floor at the ALA Midwinter meeting (and confirmed by several people) is that Levy Home Entertainment, whose main business is supplying mass market outlets with books, has opened an office in San Diego, where bankrupt Advanced Marketing Services is located, and hired several former AMS staffers.
happier bankruptcy story concerns Graphic Arts Center Publishing,
Portland, Ore., whose reorganization plan has been accepted by the
court and creditors, allowing the company to emerge from Chapter 11 on
February 1. The publisher and distributor had filed for bankruptcy last
spring (Shelf Awareness, April 7, 2006). Graphic Arts Center inked a deal with Ingram last fall to be distributed by Ingram Publisher Services (Shelf Awareness, October 22, 2006). Ingram has a minority stake in the company.
The Mystery Writers Association has made nominations for this year's Edgar Awards; winners will be honored Thursday, April 26, in New York City. To unravel the best mysteries of the past year, go to the association's Web site.
The National Book Critics Circle has also announced finalists for its 2006 awards; winners will be chosen and honored March 8.
Borders Group is looking to rent out a space in Minneapolis, Minn., where it opened less than four years ago, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune
reported. The Borders is in Block E, a downtown mall that is "battling
the perception that it is unsafe," as the paper put it. Borders will
not close the store until it finds a new tenant. The Downtown Journal reported that a local real estate broker is advertising the 24,121-sq.-ft. space and indicated that the lease runs until 2023.
Only last year Borders closed its Uptown store in Calhoun Square in Minneapolis, because, it said, it had trouble renewing the lease. That store was one of two unionized Borders in the country.
The Port Jefferson Free Library, Port Jefferson, N.Y., has taken over the space across the street that used to house the Good Times Bookshop, the used bookstore that closed last July after 34 years of good times, the Daily News reported. In June, the library is opening a "library-run, library funded bookstore and young adult information station" in Good Times's old space. The store will sell used books, offer "a cozy reading room" and house the library's entire YA collection.
The Mystery Company, Carmel, Ind., has finished the move to a location more than three times larger than its previous site, the Indianapolis Star
reported. The 6,000-sq.-ft. store will use some of the extra space for
new programs, workshops and parties for children. Co-owner Jim Huang,
who is also publisher of Crum Creek Press, called the new neighborhood
"a mix of industrial and arts. People refer to this as Carmel's SoHo."
Effective today, Mary Beth Thomas joins
HarperCollins as v-p, director of client services, reporting to Josh
Marwell, president of sales. In the newly created position, she will oversee the day-to-day
sales relationship with the company's distribution clients.
Thomas formerly worked at Simon & Schuster for 10 years, most recently as director of distribution client services.
Follett's Intellectual Property store, which opened last fall in Austin, Tex., is using a $75,000 subsidy from the University of Texas to promote books by university professors, the Daily Texan reported. Already the store has held a range of events centered on UT professors' books. The subsidy was part of a University package intended to lure an academic bookstore to town to complement the University Co-op.
Who Wine and Book Club Mamas are several of the clever names of book
groups registered at Kepler's, Menlo Park, Calif., and A Great Good
Place for Books, Oakland, mentioned in a long article about book groups
on the Inside Bay Area site.
Speaking of book groups, Little Shop of Stories, the children's
bookstore in Decatur, Ga., that opened in July 2005, has five book
groups--Kids and Companions (children 8-11 with a parent or adult
friend), Glamour Girls (preteen girls), Boys Adventure Club (boys 6-9),
Mommies Who Read and Guys Who Read. For the last, it's "paper bag
optional," as co-owner Diane Capriola put it. Next month the store is
starting another book group that might resonate: it's the Remedial
Harry Potter Book Group "for those of us who have read all of the books
but have forgotten nearly all we've read."
Capriola said that the groups have been strong draws and have given the store "the chance to show parents what we are all about at Little Shop--getting great children's lit into the hands of our youngest customers and instilling in them an enthusiasm and interest in reading that will become life long."