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Posts Tagged ‘Don Weise’

Former Alyson Books Editor Don Weise Launches Magnus Books

One month after leaving Alyson Books, editor Don Weise has launched Magnus Books– “an independently owned publisher of LGBT literature.”

The new press will publish 15 to 20 books a year, and will be based in New York City. The first titles will arrive in fall 2011.  Weise had this statement: “As owner and publisher of Magnus I have complete freedom for the first time in my career, working entirely on my own and independent of parent companies or affiliations. I’m tremendously excited by this long-awaited opportunity. With 18 years in the business, the majority of that devoted to LGBT books, the path has been pointed in this direction for quite some time.”

After struggling financially the last few years, the gay and lesbian publisher Alyson Books switched to an eBook-only model in October.

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Alyson Books Switches to eBook-Only Model

After struggling financially the last few years, the gay and lesbian publisher Alyson Books will be switching to an eBook-only model.

Publishers Weekly reports that parent company Here Media will handle the switch and publisher Don Weise will depart.  As the company restructures, Here Media’s consumer marketing VP John Knoebel will serve as interim publisher. Earlier this year, author Michael Musto exposed the company’s problems in an essay about the publisher’s delays on publishing his new book.

UPDATE: Weise has issued his own statement about the negotiations with Here Media (complete release embedded below): “I worked for months to get a deal done—not just for myself, but especially for the many authors whose work has defined Alyson for the past 30 years. After shopping the press around to several publishers, it became clear that the only way to preserve Alyson was for me to assemble financing to purchase the company myself. But even after offering a price that I believe to be twice the fair market value, we were unable to come to an agreement.”

Here’s more from Publishers Weekly: “Over the next few days Alyson will be reaching out to the authors it has under contract and whose books they have not published to give them the option of getting their rights back or moving ahead with Alyson’s digital program … Alyson has about 24 authors under contract whose books have not yet been released.”

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Alyson Books Publisher on Amazon Error

don-sm.jpgAs the dust settles after a “ham-fisted cataloging error” that resulted in 57,310 titles being de-ranked on Amazon, GalleyCat caught up with Don Weise, the publisher of Alyson Books–”the world’s oldest and largest publisher of LGBT literature.”

Despite the resolution, Weise had words of caution for the bookseller: “In spite of Amazon issuing a formal statement about the computer glitch (which I believe was actually the case more or less), I’m still curious about what would motivate them to want to filter out adult content in the first place. Whether that content is gay or straight is irrelevant. It concerns me when lines of permissible content get drawn because so often they’re arbitrary and reflect social prejudices, usually against gay people and women,” he explained in a statement.

Nevertheless, Weise added that he would “welcome the opportunity to work with Amazon toward making more gay books available to more readers. Perhaps the error and the resulting outcry can be put to good use. From my 15 years experience Amazon has been great about offering a wide array of gay literature, and for many people who live in rural places or who aren’t out and are afraid to be seen going into a gay store or even the gay section at the chains, they can offer a lifeline to readers.”

BREAKING: Massive Reorganization for Perseus

PW Daily serves up the news (plus Perseus CEO David Steinberger‘s memo to colleagues) which includes the following:

  • Perseus Books Group has formed six publishing divisions built around Avalon Travel, Basic Books, Da Capo, Public Affairs, Running Press and Vanguard imprints.
  • 24 positions eliminated, with as many as 21 other employees could lose their jobs if they are not willing to relocate or take on new roles
  • Carroll & Graf and Thunder’s Mouth will cease to exist as imprints after this fall, with William Strachan, editor-in-chief of Thunder’s Mouth and Carroll & Graf, and C&G senior editor Don Weise among the editors being let go.
  • Avalon’s New York office will be closed sometime this summer and employees will be moved to Perseus’s headquarters on Park Avenue.

Will there be more news? There has to be, because the fate of former PGW employees and publishers hasn’t even been addressed yet, and one must believe they will be at some point.

More tellingly, the impending shutdown of C&G and Thunder’s Mouth should call into question whether Perseus has any longterm plans to publish fiction. Will Balliett, former executive editor of both imprints, now moves to Da Capo in a similar position. But that imprint is not known for publishing fiction. Basic Books is absorbing Nation Books (which sometimes does fiction) and Vanguard, already established as a place for formerly bestselling novelists to go for a career refresher, will likely continue what it’s doing, but what of C&G’s extensive mystery fiction publishing program, or the backlist reissues that Thunder’s Mouth does? Steinberger might say that “[e]ach of our imprints needs to have a distinct identity, and we didn’t feel that was the case with Carroll & Graf and Thunder’s Mouth,” but without any concrete evidence in place, one really has to wonder.