Oyster, the $9.95 all-you-can-read monthly ebook subscription service that came on the scene in 2013, quietly announced on its blog that it “will be taking steps to sunset the existing Oyster service over the next several months,” according to tech news site Re/Code. Perseus Books Group, home to publishers including Basic Books, Da Capo Press, Running Press, Public Affairs, and Avalon Travel, as well as one of the leading providers of distribution and client services to 600-plus independent publishers through PGW, Consortium, Legato, et al., announced in early September that it is once again up for sale.
When the adult coloring craze jumped across the pond in 2013 with the intricate designs of Johanna Basford’s UK best seller Secret Garden (Laurence King), Dover Publications was ready. The company had been publishing coloring books for 45 years, not just for kids but for experienced artists as well, said Ken Katzman, VP, marketing. In 2012, encouraged by major craft chain Michaels, Dover launched Creative Haven, with images on only one side of a page, on good stock, with perforated pages for easy removal and display.
When David Talbot, founder and former editor in chief of Salon, told a writer friend about an idea he had for investigative books on critical issues that would fill a gap left by the devastating cuts at newspapers and magazines, his friend introduced him to a like-minded publisher, Skyhorse founder Tony Lyons. The result: a new investigative book imprint, Hot Books, aimed at “ignit[ing] national debate.” Launched in late May by Skyhorse, the imprint will have a cobranded digital platform created with Salon.
In a press release from the London Book Fair dated April 14, HarperCollins announced the expansion of its foreign-language publishing with the formation of HarperCollins Holland, HarperCollins Japan, HarperCollins Nordic (Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Denmark), and HarperCollins Polska (Poland, Czech Republic, and Slovakia). The move, which builds on the Harlequin acquisition last year, gives the company a broader global reach by extending existing Harlequin publishing programs in those markets. It had been signaled April 10 with the appointment of Chantal Restivo-Alessi, HarperCollins (HC) chief digital officer, as executive VP, international.
In three post–Labor Day memos to Penguin Random House (PRH) staff, CEO Markus Dohle detailed the formation of the Penguin Publishing Group, consolidating all Penguin adult trade publishing (Penguin Adult and Berkley/NAL) under one roof. He named Madeline McIntosh, U.S. president and COO of PRH, to head the new entity and said that longtime Penguin president Susan Petersen Kennedy would be leaving at the end of the year.
As SAGE Publications’ CEO and president Blaise Simqu celebrated his tenth year in the job this August, he was also gearing up for SAGE’s anniversary: the company, founded in 1965 by Sara Miller McCune, turns 50 in 2015. It retains its deep connections to the library and higher education world, both through its journals, which comprise 50 percent of the business, and its textbooks, reference works, and databases, which make up the rest.
Say you’re a professional or businessperson who relocated to the United States. Or you’re a student who came to the this country to study. Or you live outside the United States but deal with Americans. You’re reasonably fluent in English, but you want to improve your skills. A new tool, PenguinStacks, is for you. Launched in beta this spring in the United States and Brazil, it takes aim at nonnative readers of English. The 120 titles on the site were assessed by New York University (NYU) PhD linguistics’ candidates and grouped into three levels.
On April 30, Scribd, which launched its “all you can read” $8.99 per month ebook subscription with HarperCollins as the first (and still only) Big Five publisher last fall, announced a deal that brought 1,000 Wiley titles to its subscription service, including all those in the “For Dummies” series.
Mission Bell Media (MBM), a new publisher with a laser-like focus on leadership, took one step further into the public eye, debuting its official website on April 22. MBM is the brainchild of veteran academic publisher Rolf Janke, who founded SAGE Reference, an imprint of SAGE Publications, in 2001 and led it from three titles to nearly 300 over the course of a dozen years. Mission Bell Media combines Janke’s two passions: his own longtime study of what creates compelling leaders and his 30-plus years in academic publishing, which, he said, gave him a unique perspective on librarians leading change in academic libraries and paving the way for the next generation.