Finance

How Mergermania Is Destroying Book Publishing
November 29, 2012

The recently announced merger of Penguin and Random House, which is owned by Bertelsmann in Germany, sent shock waves throughout Western publishing circles. This new leviathan will publish a quarter of all books appearing in English, with annual sales of close to $4 billion, yet it is being treated by The New York Times and other media as a routine and perhaps even beneficial development.

Cyber Monday E-Commerce Spend Was $1.465B, Biggest Day Ever In U.S.; Home Clickers Bought The Most: ComScore
November 28, 2012

Led by sales on sites from Apple to Zappos and back to Amazon again, consumers put any questions they may have had about the state of the economy to one side, and they spent like crazy.

This past weekend, the first of the holiday shopping season, has already been breaking records for consumer online spend. Today comScore announced one more: Cyber Monday raked in $1.465 billion in online sales, making it the heaviest-spending day in U.S. e-commerce history. It was second only to this year’s Black Friday sales, which topped $1 billion.

 

The Digital Edge in Retail
November 26, 2012

Today is Cyber Monday, the day when experts suggest that more than a billion dollars will be spent online as people purchase gifts for the holiday season.  This fact coupled with an interesting but not particularly revealing article “Death by a Billion Clicks”  by Michael Copland on Best Buy in Wired Magazine raises the question:

What are the digital edges available to incumbent retailers?

A digital edge is the combination of digital technology with the physical world to create new sources of customer value and company revenue.

Scholastic Slumps 20% on Gloomier 2013 View
November 23, 2012

Shares of Scholastic (SCHL) plummeted more than 20% Wednesday morning as the children’s book publisher’s sharply dimmed 2013 earnings outlook spooked Wall Street.

Citing shrinking sales of higher-margin products and uncertainty caused by the fiscal cliff, Scholastic warned late Tuesday it now anticipates posting EPS from continuing operations of $1.40 to $1.60 for 2013, well off its earlier projection of $2.20 to $2.50.

Even the optimistic end of the new range would badly miss expectations on Wall Street for full-year EPS of $2.27.

First We Had Random Penguin. Could HarperSchuster be next?
November 20, 2012

On the heels of the announced Penguin/Random House merger, Laura Hazard Owen at PaidContent has a piece about preliminary talks between HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster. HC parent company News Corp,  was reportedly ready to make a cash bid to acquire Penguin once its talks with Random House became public.

While Random Penguin was a meme goldmine, HarperSchuster doesn't seem quite as hashtag friendly.

With the vaunted "Big 6" set to become a "Big 5" and possibly a "Big 4", we expect someone, somewhere to report rumors of talks between Hachette and Macmillan in 3…2…1…

—Brian Howard

Barnes & Noble Is Shutting Down E-Book Pioneers Fictionwise.com, eReader.com and eBookwise
November 16, 2012

Barnes & Noble is shutting down Fictionwise, a company running several eBook websites, including Fictionwise.com, eReader.com, and eBookwise.com. Although the move shouldn’t be all that surprising in a world of Amazon Kindles, iBookstores, and of course, B&N’s own Nook library, it’s worth a tip of our hat to these sites that laid the groundwork for the digital e-reading revolution.


Fictionwise, launched in 2000 and was acquired by B&N in March 2009 for $15.7 million, as the company planned its move into the ebooks space with the Nook tablet and accompanying bookstore. B

Barnes & Noble's Lynch on Nook Sales, Outlook [VIDEO]
November 13, 2012

William Lynch, chief executive officer at Barnes & Noble Inc., talks about the company's performance, outlook for the industry and the Nook tablet. Lynch speaks with Nicole Lapin on Bloomberg Television's "In the Loop."

Click through for the video.

Digital Sales Up 3% At Hachette
November 13, 2012

Digital book sales were up 3 percent during Q3 2012 at the Hachette Book Group as compared to Q3 2011, according to financial results released today from HBG’s parent company The Lagardère Group.

According to the financial report, Lagardère’s net sales were approximately $795 million, up 4.2 percent on a reported basis during Q3.

Publishers' task to unlock ebook market
November 12, 2012

As we mentioned yesterday, the marketplace of ideas around what the Random House/Penguin merger all means is heating up. The Financial Times' Robert Cookson looks at bigness vs. smallness and might vs. agility as competing strategies for success in an increasingly digital world. In smallness' corner is indie house Salt Publishing's Christopher Hamilton-Emery:

“I don’t think big necessarily means better." The rise of digital publishing, he argues, is likely to lead to an “explosion” of smaller, more focused publishers that can harness technology to establish relationships directly with consumers. —Brian Howard

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Gets Culinary Program, Webster's New World Reference and CliffsNotes from John Wiley & Sons
November 8, 2012

Big news out of Hoboken and D.C. today as Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Wiley announce that HMH has acquired several assets from Wiley, namely it's culinary program, Webster's New World Reference and CliffsNotes:

Quoth the press release: “This strategic acquisition reflects HMH’s continued commitment to consumer publishing, and represents an exciting growth opportunity within the culinary market. Even as digital sales increase, the print cookbook segment shows particular strength, both at HMH and within the market in general,” said Gary Gentel, President of HMH’s Trade & Reference division. “The combination of Wiley’s culinary, reference, and CliffsNotes lines with our existing business will significantly strengthen HMH’s market position in both the culinary and reference categories.”

Also heading HMH-ward is Wiley VP and publisher Natalie Chapman, who will head up HMH's culinary program (reporting to General Interest Group Senior Vice President and Publisher Bruce Nichols) as well as a number of Wiley editorial, marketing, publicity, and production staff.

In another development related to the move, HMH Senior Executive Editor Rux Martin will launch Rux Martin Books.