Notes: General Retail Sales So Far; Regan Redux
After a particularly frenzied Black Friday weekend, general retail
sales have dropped "deeper than in previous years, with sales growth
only about half the rate of last year," according to Spending Plus, a
part of MasterCard, as quoted in today's Wall Street Journal.
Still, there is plenty of time for procrastinators to make their move,
several observers said. A Spending Plus executive predicted that
overall holiday sales will be up 4%-6%, and ShopperTrak co-founder Bill
Martin told the paper, "The season so far is fine. There's no need for
panic at this point."
Online sales have been an unambiguous bright spot this holiday season. From November 1 through last Friday, total online sales rose 25% to $19.48 billion from the same period last year, according to comScore Networks. Moreover, the rate of growth rose during the period. (In past years, online sales tailed off in December because of time needed to ship products. Now online retailers are combating that phenomenon by offering free shipping and letting customers pick up purchases in stores.)
Wow. No "pursuit of new opportunities" or
"now is the right time for new challenges" . . . This was the full text
of a release that was sent out Friday evening:
"Jane Friedman, President and CEO of HarperCollins Worldwide, today announced that Judith Regan’s employment with HarperCollins has been terminated effective immediately.
"The REGAN publishing program and staff will continue as part of the HarperCollins General Books Group."
On Saturday, the publisher added that the Regan Books imprint will continue operations "under the able leadership of Editorial Director, Cal Morgan, reporting to Michael Morrison, President and Group Publisher Harper/Morrow." Any changes in the name of the imprint and publication of unpublished books "will be addressed at the appropriate time."
the possible explanations for the firing, beyond the obvious O.J.
fiasco, were comments Regan made Thursday about "backstabbers at
HarperCollins" during an as-yet-unaired segment of her Sirius Radio
show recounted by guest Ron Hogan of Media Bistro's Galley Cat. (The show should be broadcast this coming Wednesday.)
Then on Friday, in a conversation with a HarperCollins lawyer, Regan apparently made "comments that were deemed anti-Semitic," the New York Times reported. The slurs, the Times continued, were considered "the final straw after other episodes of what were deemed improper behavior."
Regan is apparently not taking that deeming lying down. According to the Wall Street Journal,
she has hired "well-known Hollywood litigator Bert Fields," who told
the paper. "They've chosen war and they will get exactly that."
For amusing comment on the prospect of Judith Regan publishing unleashed, read James Pinkerton on the Huffington Post.
ISBN-10 is also being terminated, effective January 1, when the
International Standard Book Number becomes a 13-digit number. For more
information about the change, go to the Book Industry Study Group's Web site.
On her blog, SIBA executive director Wanda Jewell recounts her Excellent Book Giving Back Adventure tour (Shelf Awareness, December 11, 2006), and lists the titles she bought for customers in the 10 stores she visited.