Barry O'Callaghan, CEO of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt since 2009, resigned yesterday, just over a year after the company underwent major debt restructuring (Shelf Awareness, February 23, 2010). The Wall Street Journal reported that CFO Michael Muldowney will serve as interim chief executive until the board selects a permanent successor. O'Callaghan will remain a senior advisor to the company.
"He’s just pursuing other ventures," HMH spokesman Joseph Blumenfeld told the New York Times. "It’s been a year since our financial restructuring, which he led, and he made the determination that it was time to do something different."
Borders Group has an additional
three months--until mid-September--to negotiate new store leases, according to
Reuters, which reported on proceedings yesterday in bankruptcy court.
Borders lawyer David Friedman
expressed satisfaction with the ruling by the judge, saying in court, "We
hope to emerge [from bankruptcy] either through a sale or a plan well before
this date." The timing is similar to that mentioned late last week by
Borders CEO Mike Edwards.
The judge also approved in large
part Borders's bankruptcy financing terms. The $505 million bankruptcy package
led by General Electric mostly represents debt from before the bankruptcy
filing, but also $30 million to $60 million in new financing.
Recent speculation about free Kindles in the future (Shelf Awareness,
March 8, 2011) ramped up again with Amazon's announcement that its
e-reader will be sold in the United Kingdom by Best Buy U.K. as well as
Carphone Warehouse, which "will be offering the Kindle with a twist,
too: people taking out two-year contracts on selected handsets will be
able to get the wi-fi Kindle free of charge, with the 3G model costing
£15 [US$24]," paidContent.org reported.
bundling move "also plays on another Kindle theme we’ve been seeing of
late. There has been speculation over how and whether Amazon would use
its hefty distribution machine to get the Kindle into more hands at big
discounts, potentially even giving it away free to people as a way of
getting them to buy other Amazon services," paidContent.org added. "One
observer, John Walkenbach--perhaps channeling Edgar Cayce--has even gone
so far as to predict the month when it will go free: November 2011."
Last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved legislation barring the FBI from using the Patriot Act to search bookstore and library records unless they relate to a suspected terrorist or someone known to the suspect. Now the bill, USA Patriot Act Sunset Extension Act of 2011 (S. 193), moves to the Senate floor where it will be brought to a vote sometime before the end of May, when several provisions of the Patriot Act will expire. The Campaign for Reader Privacy--representing librarians, booksellers, authors and publishers--is urging its supporters to ask their senators to support S. 193.
The House also considered Patriot re-authorization last week at the Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee hearing on Crime. On February 18, the House defeated a floor amendment offered by Representative John Conyers (D-Mich.) that banned the use of the Patriot Act to search bookstore and library records. The vote, 196-231, was closer than many expected. Thirty-two Republicans voted for the measure. When Bernie Sanders introduced the same amendment in 2005, it attracted only 27 Republican votes.
Congratulations to Anderson's Bookshop, Naperville and Downers Grove, Ill., and John Eklund, who have won Publishers Weekly's Bookseller of the Year and Rep of the Year awards, respectively.
which includes ABCFairs and Two Doors East, dates back to 1875, when
the current owners' great great grandfather opened a pharmacy that also
sold books. Current co-owner Becky Anderson is v-p of the American
Booksellers Association and has been nominated to be president for a
term starting at BookExpo America--pending her likely election by
John Eklund is a rep for Harvard, Yale and MIT presses
and lives in Milwaukee, Wis. He earlier was a bookseller and buyer for
Harry W. Schwartz Bookshops and blogs at Paper Over Board.
The winners will be subject of stories in PW's April 25 pre-BEA issue and will be honored at a ceremony during BEA.
Modern Times Bookstore,
San Francisco, Calif., is moving at the end of April and aims to find
another space that it will occupy temporarily. Then, after Busboys &
Poets, which has several combined restaurants, event spaces and
community gathering spots in Washington, D.C., (Shelf Awareness,
November 2, 2010) opens a San Francisco branch, Modern Times will move
there and sublease space and hold events. In one of its capital sites,
Busboys & Poets hosts Teaching for Change's Busboys & Poets
Bookstore. Busboys & Poets will open a San Francisco branch in a
year at the earliest.
In an e-mail, Modern Times said that
"sharing event programming and costs [with Busboys & Poets] would
allow us to help host bigger authors on the radical and progressive left
while still being able to support local authors, open mics and
community events. We believe that this partnership offers us our best
chance to grow in a more sustainable direction and remain a community
space and resource in the Mission."
Nearly 40 years old, Modern
Times has been in its current location 20 years. When it last moved, it
expanded and became a full service new bookstore, a model that "is no
longer workable as the book industry changes and smaller, more focused
independent stores survive," the store said. "Modern Times is committed
to being a place where the radical and progressive communities of San
Francisco and particularly the Mission can find the books, space and
events that interest them."
Nantucket Bookworks' owner Wendy Morton Hudson has a big announcement on her shop's Facebook page: "Check it out! Bookworks is going to be the proud owner of a one-of-a-kind, signed-by-many-authors, bright orange Mini Cooper! [Shelf Awareness, July 27, 2010]. I'm buying it from Penguin Putnam to be our new Bookworks-a-GoGo mobile."
Early score on Twitter for Mendham Books, Mendham, N.J.!
e-mail, Twitter and its website, the bookstore has begun promoting
signed copies of books in advance of author events. Already on one of
its first plays, it's gained a lot of yardage: the store has sold more
than 100 copies of Play Like You Mean It by New York Jets coach Rex
Ryan, who will sign them when he makes an appearance at the store May 5.
Many of the sales were from a tweet that was retweeted on several Jets
Mendham Books lists such possibilities for signed books on its Indie Commerce website thanks to Sean Concannon who helped owner Tom Williams. The site now has an "autographed books" page and is also offering signed books from past events.
Judging a cover by its book. In the Atlantic, Charlotte Strick, art director of Faber & Faber and the paperback line at FSG, shared a few trade secrets about the creative process behind those enticing covers.
"Every three months or so, we gather together," she wrote. "In our hands, launch meeting packets still hot off the copy machine. Our editor-in-chief sits at the head of the double-long conference table, and introduces us, the weary and largely bespectacled, to the newest crop of books. Over the years I've found that most editors describe their hopes and dreams for their future covers in the same ways. Please make them look 'hip,' 'sexy,' and--oh yes!--'fresh, too'! Our job as jacket designers is to keep reinterpreting these well-worn requests.... We cross our fingers and toes and say silent prayers to the design gods in the hopes that our babies don't end up in the recycling bin--or, worse, that the chosen design is the one we like the least."
Writerscast.com's David Wilk speaks with Phil Ollila, chief content
officer of Ingram Content Group, about what Ollila called an "exciting
time in the book industry." Ingram's goal: "No matter the form of the
book, whether it be printed or digital or a digital file that turns into
a print file on demand, we're in position to help publishers push all
their content through all the new distribution networks."
For an interesting conversation about getting books, er content, from writers to readers in the digital age, click here.
Adventure Journal profiled Paul Winer, owner of Reader's Oasis Bookstore, Quartzite, Ariz., noting that "visitors to the bookstore immediately notice the wide selection of cool, used books, magazine, ephemera, local memorabilia, and the attire of the manager. Paul is a nudist who wears footwear, a hat, glasses, necklaces, and specially-made covers for his... well... see the photo. He's a hell of a nice guy with a welcoming attitude and great stories to tell. If you're ever driving on I-10 to Los Angeles, stop by and meet him. Just keep those eyes high."
For Jacket Copy's feature "9 ways of looking at earthquakes through literature," David Ulin noted: "For as long as we have experienced seismicity, we have written about it, going back to the Book of Acts. Below are nine works (one for each of this most recent earthquake's points of magnitude) that channel both our terror and our awe."
Two signings were canceled this week at Borders bookstores in Chicago for Frank Calabrese Jr., author Operation Family Secrets: How a Mobster's Son and the FBI Brought Down Chicago's Murderous Crime Family, after a man left a threatening voicemail message warning about "rats" signing books, the Sun-Times reported.
Spokeswoman Mary Davis said Borders "felt the threat was legitimate given the controversial nature of the content of Mr. Calabrese's book."
Instead, Calabrese made his first public appearance after the death threat at Elmhurst College, accompanied by "a stone-faced security guard Tuesday, and a pair of campus cops were also on hand," according to WLS-TV.
"It could be somebody that just wants to do something to me just to prove something," he said. "I don't believe it's anybody left in organized crime because that's not how we were taught to do things."
Obituary note: Biographer Hazel Rowley, "whose subjects ranged from a neglected Australian writer to a famous African-American one, and from a distinguished pair of French philosophers and their romantic entanglements to a distinguished American presidential couple and their (possible) romantic entanglements," died earlier this month, the New York Times reported. She was 59.
Jonathan Evison, author of West of Here, recommended "Wilderness Tales to Awaken Your Natural Spirit" for NPR's Three Books series, including The Call of the Wild by Jack London, The Wilding by Benjamin Percy and McTeague: A Story of San Francisco by Frank Norris.
The Parlor Mob's "Can't Keep No Good Boy Down" is just one of the songs that Pip, Charles Dickens's "classic social climbing orphan... would pine, preen, and suffer to," according to Flavorwire's literary mixtape for the protagonist of Great Expectations.
Here's a reading tool that hasn't been digitally replicated yet: the home library ladder. Modern Residential Design showcased various options, observing: "The rise of the e-book reader is bound to lead to a counter wave of bibliophilia. As digital music lent an aura of authenticity and desirability to vinyl records, so digital books will fuel a contrasting passion for books and libraries, driven partly by nostalgia and partly by new awareness of the things libraries can offer that e-readers and digital archives can't. The accessory du jour will be the home library ladder."
Book trailer of the day: Green Is the New Red: An Insider's Account of a Social Movement Under Siege
by Will Potter (City Lights Publishers), about the FBI using
anti-terrorism resources to target environmentalists and animal rights