The Bin Laden book rush is on. The Wall Street Journal
reported that publishers are scrambling "to fill the Osama bin Laden
book pipeline, hatching plans for digital titles they could publish
almost instantly," including an essay collection, Beyond Bin Laden: America and the Future of Terror,
from Jon Meacham, an executive editor at Random House. The publisher
expects to release the work, which "will have about half-a-dozen contributors, plus an introduction written by Mr. Meacham," as an e-book next week. Free Press publisher
Martha Levin said the imprint was eager to publish a digital work by
journalist Peter Bergen, author of The Longest War: The Enduring Conflict between America and Al-Qaeda.
are also being accelerated for print books. St. Martin's Press "is
rushing up the publication date of a book by a former member of the
counterterrorism unit credited with killing bin Laden." SEAL Team Six: Memoirs of an Elite Navy SEAL Sniper
by Howard Wasdin and Stephen Templin was scheduled to be published May
24, but John Murphy, a spokesman for St. Martin's, told the Journal that the house hopes to have it distributed by the middle of next week.
Bui Chat, who was awarded the International Publishers Association Freedom to Publish Prize (Shelf Awareness, April 28, 2011), was arrested by Vietnamese authorities on his return home. Radio Free Asia reported that the founder of Giay Vun Publishing--which is devoted to the printing and publishing of his country's "pavement poets"--was issued a "preliminary detention order" after authorities searched his home, and could face up to nine months in prison. The award and prize certificate were confiscated
"We were really hoping that nothing would happen," said Alexis Krikorian, director of IPA's Freedom to Publish panel. "I mean we have given Freedom To Publish Prize for many years and this is the first time the government arrests the prize winner upon his return to his country."
The IPA called on governments and human rights advocates to join publishers in pushing for Bui Chat's immediate release, saying the arrest appeared to be "directly linked" to his winning the prize, RFA wrote.
In February and March, Borders Group had sales of $330.7 million and lost $52.6 million, according to bankruptcy court filings. The company declared bankruptcy on February 16 and is nearing the end of the process of closing 226 superstores.
In the fiscal year ended January 21, sales fell 15.9% to $2.25 billion and the company had a loss of $299 million. Sales at stores open at least a year fell 10.5%. The only bright spots were "the children's toys and games and digital devices categories." The amount of money customers spent per transaction fell 6.1% and traffic decreased.
Borders has said it expects annual
revenue to level out at $1.5 billion a year--if it is able to emerge
from bankruptcy and continue at its present size.
Barnes & Noble has amended its $1-billion revolving credit agreement on what it said are more favorable terms and extended the debt's maturity date. The amended credit facility "takes advantage of conditions in the financial markets that are more favorable than when the original facility was established," B&N said. The amendment also extends the previous maturity date from September 29, 2013 to April 29, 2016.
"Amending our revolving credit facility enables us to lower our anticipated cost of capital and enhance our financial flexibility as we continue to transform the company and execute our strategic plan," said Joseph Lombardi, B&N's CFO.
The company will write off $6.4 million in deferred financing fees from the previous facility in fiscal 2011. But beginning in fiscal 2012, lower interest costs and reduced amortization of deferred financing fees should reduce interest expense by $10.6 million annually. B&N ended fiscal year 2011 on April 30 with $313 million of outstanding borrowings under the facility.
Are e-reading devices destroying the book world as we know it? That would seem to be the conclusion of a statement released last week that suggested Kindles, Nooks, Kobos and their e-kin "might dangle the prospect of convenience for millions of bibliophiles around the world, with their light weight and instant access to whole libraries of e-books, but a new analyst report suggests the devices could eventually prove bad news for the publishing industry as a whole," eWeek.com wrote.
"The book publishing industry has entered a period of long-term decline because of the rising sales of e-book readers," according to a research note from IHS iSuppli, which "predicted a decrease in book revenue at a compound annual rate of 3% through 2014--a reversal from the period between 2005 and 2010, when revenue rose," eWeek.com reported.
Steve Mather, IHS iSuppli's principal analyst for wireless, predicted that "while e-book sales will rise during that same period, the increase won't cover the revenue gap created by the decline in the physical book market. By 2014, the research note predicts, e-books will occupy some 13% of U.S. book publishing revenue, more than twice its current level." Competition from tablets will also have an impact, according to the statement.
Obituary note: Bill Kohler, founder of Vantage Sales and Marketing,
died on April 30. Kohler worked in the book industry for 35 years as a
sales director for Western Publishing and Grosset and Dunlap before
founding Vantage in 1982. He retired in 2001 and served as a consultant
to several publishers until earlier this year.
service will be held on Thursday, May 5, at the Godfrey Funeral Home,
809 Central Avenue, Ocean City, N.J.. There will be a viewing for family
and friends at 1 p.m., immediately followed by a memorial service at 2
p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested contributions be made
in his name to the American Legion Morvay-Miley Post 524, P.O. Box 363
Ocean City, N.J. 08226. To e-mail condolences, visit godfreyfuneralhome.com.
The New York Times offered a peek inside Norman Mailer's Brooklyn Heights fourth-floor co-op, which the late author's children have put on the market for $2.5 million. They may also consider selling some of Mailer's "furniture, books and tchotchkes, but will probably divide them up." Michael Mailer, however, said they might "be open to offers for some belongings from, say, someone planning a Norman Mailer Museum."
Poet as frequent flier. David Kirby shared some of his experiences as a flying poet in the New York Times: "I travel quite a bit, which raises the question, Why does a poet have to travel? Here’s how it works. You write a poem and you make zero dollars. You write a book of poems, and you make slightly more than zero dollars. But if someone calls you to give a poetry reading, all of a sudden you actually make some money. I bet people didn’t know poetry involved such high stakes."
Handselling on the road. In the Wall Street Journal's "Dear Book Lover" section, a reader from Washington, D.C., shared the story of discovering an "unknown" writer: "I was on a business trip in Manhattan, eating alone at a bar and chatting with a nice man in the same boat. He was a middleman for independent booksellers and was attending a convention. We talked books all night, and he asked if I had ever read anything by Barbara Pym. I said I'd never heard of her. He recommended Excellent Women, which I read, and I was hooked."
For NPR, Alan Heathcock recommended three books to take to a fistfight that "follow winners who endure the slaps and stomps and gouges of a hard life fought well."
Flavorwire showcased Covering Lolita, "an online collection of cover designs for the classic novel that spans 33 countries and over 50 years."
On NPR's You Must Read This series, Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman, author of Broken Promises: A Novel of the Civil War, shared her lifelong passion for Louis L'Amour, whose novels she discovered when she was about 12 at her uncle's house: "L'Amour made me wish I had been born on the Great Plains in the 19th century, and turned me into a historian."
Book trailer of the day: The Forgotten Locket by Lisa Mangum (Shadow Mountain Publishing), the third in the Hourglass Door trilogy.
Jennifer Hunt was appointed v-p, acquisition and development,
and editor-at-large for Dial Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Penguin Young
Readers Group, effective May 9. Hunt was most recently
editorial director at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. In her new role,
she will be responsible for acquiring and developing projects from picture
books to YA fiction, and will act as liaison with the film, television and
gaming community on the West Coast. Hunt was the editor of the National Book
Awardwinning The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman
Alexie; Printz Award winner and National Book Award finalist Ship Breaker
by Paolo Bacigalupi; and National Book Award finalist Story of a Girl by
Sara Zarr, among many others.
Caitlyn Dlouhy has been promoted from editorial director to
v-p, editorial director of Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. She first joined Atheneum in July
1998, and, as Justin Chanda, v-p and publisher of the S&S Books for Young
Readers Group put it, "In her 13 years at Simon & Schuster she has
proven herself to be an inspired and meticulous editor, a tireless advocate for
her books and, as our editorial director, the very backbone of the Atheneum
editorial team." While at S&S, Dlouhy edited the Newbery Medal–winning
Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata; Kathi Appelt's The Underneath, a
Newbery Honor book; and has worked with, among others, Andrew Clements,
Laurie Halse Anderson, Sharon Draper, Alison McGhee and Peter Reynolds.