Zagat Survey, the privately-held firm owned by Nina and Tim Zagat with minority investors, "is considering a number of methods--including a possible sale of the company--to accelerate growth," Newsday reported.
"The range of possibilities include, for example, a partnership or
joint venture of some kind, among other things--whatever turns out to
be the best way to optimize the company's growth," a Zagat spokeswoman
Zagat publishes consumer-based reviews of restaurants, hotels, airlines, retailers and spas in distinctive maroon books as well as online and in digital formats. According to Newsday, "Zagat now covers 47 of the 50 largest U.S. markets and 100 countries, with guides translated into languages including Japanese, French, Hebrew and Korean. The company distributed more than 5.5 million print guides in 2006."
Becky Saletan has been named publisher of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Adult Trade Books, according to the New York Times, which reported that Saletan, who had been publisher of the trade division of Harcourt, will now oversee "a combined unit that resulted from Houghton Mifflin Riverdeep’s recent $4 billion takeover of Harcourt."
"Best Books for Babies" may be the most appropriate top-10 book list for a new year. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette noted that the list, which "recommends titles for the very young," was started eight years ago, when the literacy group Beginning with Books "invited some experts--including the late Fred Rogers of 'Mister Rogers' Neighborhood' TV fame--to choose the best books for babies and toddlers published the previous year."
Bonanza Street Books, Walnut Creek, Calif., will close in late March, according to the San Jose Mercury News.
"It's a long-term trend that rent and other expenses have been going up while sales have been flat or going down," said owner Peter Guadagni. "Reading is going down." The bookstore, which he purchased eight years ago, has been in business downtown since 1987.
Dzanc Books plans to publish a collection of stories by Laura van den Berg called What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us in late 2009. Van den Berg won the first Dzanc Prize worth $5,000 last month for "the quality of her fiction sample and her proposal to teach writing to prisoners in the Boston area" (Shelf Awareness, December 2, 2007).
"Tales to Take Your Breath Away," abridged classic books packaged like cigarettes, debuted in England last summer in the wake of smoking bans in pubs and restaurants. According to the Guardian, the books, which were created by publisher and design company Tank, "were well received by the design press and have made popular Christmas presents."
Now, however, "British American Tobacco (BAT) claims that one of the packs, containing Hemingway's The Snows of Kilimanjaro and The Undefeated, resembles its own Lucky Strike pack. Claiming that such an association could seriously damage the health of the brand, BAT is trying to have the works pulped."
Masoud Golsorkhi, co-founder and creative director of Tank, said he "had been toying with the idea of using the cigarette packs for some time. . . . I am appalled that these great and beautiful books should be destroyed. [BAT's] contention is that we are damaging their business. I suggest that the opposite is true and that they should lighten up."
Never haggle with a bookseller. At the Seattle Post Intelligencer's Reader Blog, bookseller Michael Lieberman shared his discovery of "Twelve Maxims for Book Collectors," which appeared in Volume 1 of The Bibliophile: A Magazine and Review for the Collector, Student and General Reader, published in 1909.
Rule #6 in its entirety: "Never haggle with a bookseller. He is sure to have a reason for his price, and even if it is a bad reason he will be loth to abandon it. Moreover, should he give way, now and again, in order to effect a sale, the Collector who always beats him down will certainly be the last person to whom he will offer a good book. N.B.--If you mean to haggle, don't telegraph for a book first and dispute the price afterwards, unless you can show serious misdescription."
The Guardian's book blog revisited Fahrenheit 451: "On a broader scale, I'd hope that it wouldn't take Ray Bradbury to tell me that the proscription of books is alarming. Even so this is probably a good place to be reminded of the various works that are currently banned in different parts of the USA . . . There's a full list available at the excellent Pelham Public library. Yes, Fahrenheit 451 is on it."