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Posts Tagged ‘Brown’

Eliot Fremont-Smith Dies at Age 78

Eliot Fremont-Smith, the former New York Times and Village Voice book critic, National Book Critics Circle President and editor-in-chief of Little, Brown when it was still based in Boston, died Wednesday in Mount Pleasant, S.C., where he lived. He was 78. The cause was heart failure, his wife, Leda Fremont-Smith, said to the NYT’s Motoko Rich, who wrote the obituary that ran in the paper this morning.

In his years at The Times, from 1961 to 1968, first at the Book Review and then as a daily book critic, Fremont-Smith helped usher in an era of modern criticism by tackling the types of books that his predecessors had largely shied away from. He was no stranger to controversy – a Village Voice piece purporting that Jerzy Kozinski had ghost-written much of his work set off a literary firestorm – but also cared chiefly about the books he wrote about. In addition to his wife, Fremont-Smith is survived by his son, Andrew Eliot Fremont-Smith, of New York City.

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UK Booksellers Missing Out on Manga, Publishers Warn

The Bookseller’s Caroline Horn reports that UK publishers are warning booksellers that they are missing out on sales by failing to acknowledge consumer demand for manga. Publishers have been piling into the manga market for the past two years, with Little, Brown‘s Orbit the latest entrant through US list Yen Press this autumn. Random House launched its Tanoshimi imprint last year, while Orion‘s Gollancz started publishing manga in 2005, and Pan Macmillan signed an exclusive sales and distribution deal with manga publisher Tokyopop last summer.

“There is a lot of stock out there, but perhaps the growth in retail space allocated to manga is not keeping step with the amount of titles being published,” said Orbit business manager George Walkley. “In any of the major chains, manga is being under-cooked in terms of space.” Tokyopop UK sales director Dennis McGuirk added: “The issue is about the amount of space dedicated to this sector by high street retailers—manga is not given a huge amount of space so fans are given a limited offering and need to seek out specialists or go online for purchases.”

Hachette Continues to Mark European Territory

Continuing its bid to make sure that only its titles are distributed through mainland Europe – and not those pesky American editions – Hachette Livre UK hosted its first ever European Seminar this past week, paying for nearly 40 leading European booksellers and distributors to attend. Publishing News reports that guests stayed at the Savoy on Monday night – where the guest speaker was Ian Rankin – and were taken by boat to the Globe Theatre for the seminar on Tuesday, where divisional presentations were made by Hachette’s UK companies, and Little, Brown CEO Ursula Mackenzie outlined why making Europe exclusive would be to their mutual benefit.

In essence, PN says, Hachette maintains that European booksellers will sell more copies of a single edition of a name author, than the combined sales of a UK and US edition. To help achieve this, it is prepared to provide marketing spend for European campaigns, just as if it was the domestic market, and intends to tour more authors in Europe. Monica Richter of The Bookshop in Zurich welcomed the marketing spend and said that English editions “tend to be more popular, closer to European taste. However, having both editions does give the shop a more international atmosphere which our customers enjoy. And we have to stock both at present because we never know which edition will arrive first.”

If the WSJ Says Stephenie Meyer is the Next Big Thing, It Must Be True

And for once, a headline is both cheeky and sincere; every message board I lurk on and nearly every bookstore I frequent seems to have someone swooning over the romantic adventures of Bella and Edward, starcrossed lovers because he’s a vampire and she isn’t. So no wonder Stephenie Meyer – whose books were originally bought by Little, Brown for $750,000 in a world rights deal- has more than earned out the publisher’s investment. And now, with ECLIPSE selling more than 150,000 copies in its opening day of sales, it is safe to say that “life after Harry” might not be so bad after all.

“We were anticipating the book would be very big, but it has exceeded our expectations,” Steve Riggio, chief executive of Barnes & Noble, told Jeff Trachtenberg. “As booksellers, we’re thrilled.” Little, Brown, too, thought ECLIPSE might sell 40,000 copies in its first week based on past success of TWILIGHT and NEW MOON. “I’ve been in this business for 20 years, and I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Megan Tingley, the imprint’s publisher. So they’ve gone back to press, Meyer continues to pack in thousands at signings and it should be interesting to see what the reception will be when the fourth and final volume comes out next year.

Another “Unexpected” Publishing Success Story

The New York Times’ Motoko Rich reports on the bestseller status of former Navy Seal Marcus Luttrell‘s LONE SURVIVOR, a dramatic memoir of his time in Afghanistan. Luttrell’s book, with 275,000 copies in print, describes how was the only one of four men on the mission to survive after a violent clash with dozens of Taliban fighters. Eight members of the Seals and eight Army special operations soldiers who came by helicopter to rescue the original four were shot down, and all aboard were killed.

So no wonder the book (which was co-authored with Patrick Robinson and bought by Little, Brown in an auction for a seven-figure advance) been doing well, but the surprise is that so far, LONE SURVIVOR has outsold books about Pat Tillman or Jessica Lynch, and that it’s crawled up to the top of the NYT Bestseller list. Less surprising is how this happened: strong support from military blogs and right-wing pundits like Michelle Malkin as well as appearances with Matt Lauer on the TODAY Show with Glenn Beck on the radio and on CNN Headline News. But the media exposure helped regular readers like to find, and then buy, the book. “It’s obvious that there are some people reading it who aren’t traditional military readers,” said Mary McCarthy, director of merchandising at wholesaler Ingram Book Group.

Luttrell said that his main goal was to tell the story of his comrades who did not make it out alive. “Now I think the American public knows who they are, and now they are forever immortalized,” said Luttrell, who added that he has set up a trust with all the proceeds from the book to help the families of the dead and to donate to military charities. “Their memory will never die out, and that’s what I wanted.”

Hillary Books: What’s the Rush?

For those keeping score, last month Knopf announced that it was publishing Carl Bernstein‘s 640-page book A WOMAN IN CHARGE: THE LIFE OF HILLARY CLINTON, originally planned for the fall, on June 19, surprising Little, Brown, which was scheduled to publish its own Hillary book by Jeff Nerth and Don Van Natta Jr., HER WAY: THE HOPES AND AMBITIONS OF HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, on Aug. 28. Then, this month, Little, Brown said it had also decided to move its publication date to June 19, making the rivalry abundantly clear.

Now the release date wars have really heated up, reports the New York Times’ Motoko Rich. Bernstein’s book will now publish on June 5, with Nerth and Van Natta’s to follow only three days later. Knopf spokesman Paul Bogaards said the push-up correlates to the Democratic primary debate in New Hampshire on June 3 which “presented a significant coverage event for our book.” Little, Brown publisher Michael Pietsch explained HER WAY would be excerpted in The New York Times Magazine on June 3, which prompted the move of its on-sale date to June 8. “It’s not Belmont, mind you,” Bogaards said, “but I like the fact that our horse is already saddled up and in the paddock, ready to run, shall we say.” Thankfully, Pietsch did not engage in any horse metaphors, and the books can’t be moved up any further lest booksellers’ headaches worsen..

The Perils of the Misblurb

Though we at GalleyCat have taken issue from time to time – okay, often – with Henry Alford‘s contributions at the New York Times Book Review, I must say up front that I quite enjoyed his recent piece on how publishers take a perfectly neutral or negative review and mine it for any and all positive words in order to fashion a blurb out of it. Take what happened to Time Magazine book critic Lev Grossman, who was “quite taken aback” when he saw a full-page newspaper advertisement for Charles Frazier‘s novel THIRTEEN MOONS that included a one-word quotation – “Genius” – attributed to Time. Grossman was confused, Alford reports, because his review “certainly didn’t have that word.” Eventually, he found it in a preview item he had written a few months earlier, which included the sentence “Frazier works on an epic scale, but his genius is in the details.” As Grossman put it, “They plucked out the G-word.”

Alford continues with many more examples (including one from his own reviewing past, when Little, Brown transformed his “tour-de-farce” about David Sedaris‘s NAKED into “tour-de-force) and explanations from the publishing world. “We get tempted and we get desperate,” Morgan Entrekin, the publisher of Grove/Atlantic, said. “We publish over 100 books a year. I know we make mistakes. But we try to obey the rules.” To him, that means not changing the wording or the meaning of reviews. Paul Slovak, the publisher of Viking, says part of what keeps the house honest is the desire to maintain “good relationships” with book reviewers. “Michiko Kakutani wouldn’t be happy if we pulled two words of praise out of a negative review,” he said, referring to the chief book critic of The New York Times.

And as for what happened to Grossman, I am sooooo not buying Random House associate publisher Tom Perry‘s denial of any misblurbing. “We were being very short and punchy,” he said. “We have limited space.” Sure, see that pig overhead? Its flight patterns don’t like misappropriated blurbs, either…

Petition Circulating to Save AJC Books Section

In the wake of this week’s shocker announcement that the Atlanta Journal-Constitution had let go its books editor, Teresa Weaver, in a cost-cutting measure, the literary community in Atlanta is mobilizing in full force. Wordsmith Bookstore owner Zachary Steele expressed his dismay at the move. “the AJC is depriving us all of that literate touch and in the process, I believe, showing how completely little they understand their readers and what it is that they want out of their paper.” In the comments section of that post, Little, Brown publicity manager Shannon Byrne (who works remotely from her Atlanta home) has posted a petition (which is reprinted after the jump) which she emailed to AJC editor Julia Wallace.

According to PW Daily, Byrne received an automated response stating “We are not killing our book coverage or book pages…. We will be using freelancers, established news services and our staff to provide stories about books of interest to our readers and the local literary community.” Byrne’s response to Wallace’s message? “I don’t buy it for one minute.”

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Not Giving Up the Ghost

Aside from making my debut LA Times Book Review column, “Dark Passages”, on ghostwriters going solo, the Arizona Republic’s Kerry Lengel tackled the same subject, interviewing a slew of mystery & suspense staples (like yours truly) as well as Little, Brown publisher Michael Pietsch. But if that isn’t enough, the Women’s National Book Association will host a discussion on the same topic Wednesday evening at the Small Press Center. Join panelists Meg Leder (editor at Perigee Books), ghostwriter-centric agent Madeline Morel, Emily Heckman and Stephanie Gunning as they discuss, as moderator Janet Reid terms it, “the business of ghost writing, co-writing, ‘as told to’ and other forms of ‘invisible writing’ from the authors who write it, an agent who sells it and an editor who acquires it.”

Little, Brown UK Going Open Plan?

And if that is the case, as Publishing News reports, Little, Brown would be the second UK publisher (after Penguin, which adopted the process kicking and screaming as it moved to its current digs in Brick Lane) to move into an open-plan office space. The company has signed a ten-year lease on the second floor of Unilever House on Victoria Embankment, near Blackfriars Bridge, and when it moves in, nobody, from CEO Ursula Mackenzie down, will have their own private office.

Little, Brown hopes to make the move in October and Marketing Director Roger Cazalet told PN that the decision to go open plan was influence by a number of factors. It gives you a greater sense of freedom and it’s a more egalitarian way of working. Communication will be a lot better too. When you have separate offices you email a lot, rather than leaving your desk. It also means we can cut down on the number of printers we have, which is more environmentally friendly. At the moment there are something like 60 printers. In the new offices, we’ll have print areas where groups of people will share printers. We’ll actually have the same amount of space in the new offices, but because it’s open plan you end up with a lot more room. We will have meeting rooms too, of course, but also more informal meeting space. Where we are currently is quite cramped.”

But hey, with the move not being planned till October, that leaves Little, Brown executives plenty of time to protest!

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