Weak Nook Sales
With sales of its Nook digital devices falling short of expectations for the holiday season, Barnes & Noble reported sales for the nine--week period ended December 29 fell at both its retail stores and in its Nook segment. In the retail trade segment, sales declined 10.9%, to $1.2 billion, which the company attributed to an 8.2% decline in comparable store sales, to store closures, and lower online sales. In the Nook segment, sales fell 12.6%, to $311 million, as a 13.1% increase in sales of digital content was offset by weaker than expected sales of Nook devices.
AudioGO Buys BlackStone Audio
AudioGO has acquired Blackstone Audio from the Black family for an undisclosed price, giving the U.K.-based AudioGO a major American presence to complement its existing operations in Rhode Island and New York City. AudioGO CEO Mike Bowen will serve as CEO of the combined group in England. Josh Stanton will continue as president of Blackstone and serve as CEO of the combined operations in North America.
Cooper Launches Consultancy
Roger Cooper, former publisher of Perseus Books’ Vanguard Press, is launching a publishing consulting firm, Roger Cooper Associates. He will be working with publishers and literary agents with e-book programs to acquire digital content, and with business authors and companies to develop print and digital properties.
Pearson Takes Stake in Nook
Barnes & Noble announced an $89.5 million investment in its Nook Media subsidiary by Pearson. Pearson’s investment will give the company a 5% stake in Nook Media, making it the third investor in the company; B&N’s stake will slip to 78.2% and Microsoft’s stake will become 16.8%. Pearson also receives warrants to acquire another 5% of the company based on a valuation of $1.789 billion and subject to certain conditions.
Crown Debuts Extra Libris
Crown Publishers has announced the launch of Extra Libris, a new program under which select paperbacks released by its Broadway Books and Hogarth imprints will provide readers with a blend of additional content beyond the original text. Beginning in spring 2013, all paperbacks issued under the program will include a full 16-page signature of new material, such as author essays, q&as, and Readers’ Guides. Extra Libris content will also be simultaneously available in digital editions of all titles released and also in a free section of Crown’s online reading community, ReadItForward.com.
Capstone Acquires Maupin House
Capstone Publishing Group has acquired Maupin House Publishers, a house specializing in literacy resources for teachers and other educational professionals. Maupin House founder and CEO Julie Graddy will remain in place as a consultant for the next year to facilitate a smooth transition. One Maupin House editor will be retained during the transition period; the other two employees will be laid off. Capstone Publishing is hiring an acquisitions editor to work in its suburban Minneapolis office. Approximately 200 Maupin House titles in print and in e-book formats will be distributed by Capstone Publishing Group, effective immediately.
NAACP Image Awards
The annual NAACP Image Awards, honoring works by, for, and relevant to people of color, include 40 nominees for outstanding literary works and represent titles published by major houses, indie presses, and self-publishers. Winners are selected by the members of the NAACP and will be announced during a two-hour live televised presentation on Friday, Feb. 1, on NBC.