Friday, December 01, 2017

Publishers Lunch

Today's Meal

Barnes & Noble reported earnings for their fiscal second quarter ending October 28, once again reporting mediocre results: Sales and store comps declined, and the loss grew, with both sales and earnings missing analysts' modest expectations. Shares fell approximately 10 percent in the first hour of trading, back to about $7 a share, on the disappointing results.

But there is a glimmer of encouragement. After years of touting everything but books (digital devices, educational toys & games, vinyl records, maker fairs, collectibles, etc.), with limited effect, Barnes & Noble has decided to be a bookseller: In the new release, ceo Demos Parneros says, "As a result of the improving trends, we will continue to place a greater emphasis on books, while further narrowing our non-book assortment."

During the investor call, Parneros more clearly declared, "We want to be the best at selling books." He also noted they made the "fairly aggressive decision to clear through a lot of unproductive [non-book] inventory" as they "reduced our over-assortment of slower-moving nonreturnable merchandise." For the quarter "that hurts sales, hurts margin, hurts expenses, but we feel it's the right long-term move."

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The New York Times Book Review editors announced their top ten books of 2017, with the individual critics' lists still to come. In fiction, Jesmyn Ward's National Book Award-winning Sing, Unburied, Sing makes the list, along with NBA shortlisted Pachinko by Min Jin Lee, plus:

Autumn, by Ali Smith
Exit West, by Mohsin Hamid
The Power, by Naomi Alderman

The nonfiction list:

The Evolution of Beauty, by Richard O. Prum
Grant, by Ron Chernow
Locking Up Our Own, by James Forman Jr.
Prairie Fires, by Caroline Fraser
Priestdaddy, by Patricia Lockwood


At Workman Publishing, Caitlin Kleinschmidt has been promoted to national accounts manager; Liz Davis has been promoted to editor for the Workman imprint; and Evan Griffith has been promoted to editor for Workman Children's.

In the UK, Hachette
has acquired Jessica Kingsley Publishers for an undisclosed sum. The publisher, which specializes in mental health and social sciences, will be folded into the John Murray imprint, and the company's 45 employees in the US and UK will remain employed by Hachette. Founder Jessica Kingsley will work with the company on a consultancy basis until her retirement in mid-2018.

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