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Posts Tagged ‘Perseus Books Group’

This Week on the mediabistro.com Job Board: Macmillan, Perseus Books, BenBella Books

This week, Macmillian is hiring a director for its Quick and Dirty Tips series, while Perseus is hiring a designer for its Basic Books Group. BenBella Books needs a production manager/production editor, and Random House is searching for a designer in its advertising and promotions department. Get the details on these gigs and more below, and find additional just-posted jobs on mediabistro.com.

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Perseus Phases Out Marlowe & Co. Imprint

PW Daily reported yesterday that Marlowe & Company will soon be no more at the Perseus Books Group – the latest in a series of major changes for Perseus. The imprint, part of the former Avalon Group, will be folded into Da Capo Press‘s wellness imprint, Lifelong Books. Marlowe, which had a list similar to Lifelong’s, was, according to Da Capo vp and publisher John Radziewicz, not as well known in the category. “Lifelong speaks more to the nature of a wellness imprint than does Marlowe,” he said, adding that the company thought Lifelong would “be the more embracing name.” Originally, as part of the integration of Avalon and Perseus, Marlowe was to complement the Lifelong series under the Da Capo umbrella.

In related news, Marnie Cochran, executive editor at Da Capo for the last nine years, has taken an executive editor position at Ballantine Books where she will report directly to senior vp and publisher Libby McGuire. Cochran will continue to work out of Boston and start with Ballantine on July 23.

Soft Skull Purchased by Winton, Shoemaker LLC

After last week’s announcement of the massive restructuring of Perseus – leading in part to layoffs, imprint cancellations and the formation of a new venture by Charlie Winton – now comes a new announcement that Winton, Shoemaker & Co., LLC has acquired Soft Skull Press. This is their third acquisition this year. In February of 2007, they acquired Shoemaker & Hoard from the Avalon Publishing Group, and earlier in May they acquired Counterpoint from The Perseus Books Group.

As with the Counterpoint transaction, the Soft Skull transaction is expected to close in June. As announced last week, when the transactions close the company will be renamed Counterpoint, LLC. Soft Skull will remain as an imprint of Counterpoint. Soft Skull’s Publisher Richard Nash will join the company as an Executive Editor and will also maintain the title of Editorial Director of the imprint. Nash will acquire for both the Counterpoint imprint as well as continuing to acquire for the Soft Skull imprint. In the fall 2007 season, titles acquired by Soft Skull will be published under the Soft Skull imprint and will be distributed by PGW. Beginning in winter 2008, all Counterpoint and Soft Skill titles will be distributed by PGW.

Winton says, “Richard is a tremendous addition to our team. He brings with him a number of authors and relationships that will fit within the Counterpoint list and that compliment Jack Shoemaker‘s editorial sensibilities. At the same time, by maintaining the Soft Skull imprint we will be able to extend the range of what we are able to publish.”

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.

Today in AMS: Court Date Set for February 7, Perseus Court Filing Details

PW Daily reported yesterday that anyone who has any objection to Perseus Books Group‘s 70 cents on the dollar offer for Publisher Group West clients have until February 7 to file motions with the bankruptcy court, according to a notice issued by the Delaware court on Wednesday. If no objections are filed, the court has the right to approve Perseus’s offer without further notice or hearing. A court hearing on the offer is set for February 12.

On what grounds could there be objections? Radio Free PGW spells out one in particular after looking at recent court filings by Perseus, which comes down to this: “Perseus will file an administrative claim for all of the pre-bankruptcy booty that PGW publishers sign over to them. This means that Perseus will be paid ahead of all other unsecured creditors, including Random House and Simon & Schuster. We can’t quite understand why the other creditors would go for this.”

Publishers Lunch also discovered in the recent court filings that although AMS indicated in its original bankruptcy announcement that its international subsidiaries would not be affected, turns out that “AMS has pledged 66& of its ownership interest” in those subsidiaries as collateral — which, Michael Cader points out, will likely get turned into cash at some point.

Today in AMS: PGW Conference Calls, Bankruptcy Court Hearings

Publishers Lunch reports that Publishers Group West clients were explained in a conference call yesterday he details of the offer being formulated by Perseus Books Group, which has already secured distribution rights for Avalon Publishing Group and its imprints. The rough plan is for Perseus to pay 70 cents on the dollar of what clients are owed up to the date of the bankruptcy filing. PGW would continue operating as is for the next six months before clients accepting the Perseus offer would move over to their distribution facility. Though other offers could still be tendered, 70 cents on the dollar is a lot higher than what PGW clients were expecting.

So on the face of it, this looks like Perseus could well be PGW’s savior – or is it? Never mind that already the company is responsible for CDS and Consortium clients, and adding the full roster of PGW clients would give it a gigantic stake in independent publishing, with the ramifications and consequences still very much up in the air. Never mind that there’s no word on which of PGW’s clients were included in the conference call, as grumblings have reached GalleyCat‘s ears of “musical chairs”-like prioritization, potentially leaving some struggling independent publishers out in the cold, with little recourse but to shut up shop. In other words, the news sounds good – but optimism is far from guaranteed.

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Today in AMS: Avalon Signs with Perseus

Publishers Lunch reported late yesterday that the Avalon Publishing Group, which includes Carroll & Graf, Shoemaker & Hoard, Seal Press, Thunder’s Mouth Press, Nation Books, Marlowe & Company and Avalon Travel Publishing, has signed a letter of intent to be acquired by the Perseus Books Group. (AP picked up the story this morning.) Terms were not available, but Avalon is said to have been generating about $32 million annually. Charlie Winton, Avalon’s president (and former PGW founder) will stay in place during a “transition period” and then will serve as a consultant to Perseus, including advising on “how to further develop Perseus’ client services business through which Perseus provides sales and distribution services to independent publishers.”

Since Avalon was one of the most high-profile clients of Publishers Group West, this is big news -and it remains to be seen, as Michael Cader pointed out, what this news means for the rest of PGW’s 150-odd publisher clients. Make what you will of Perseus CEO David Steinberger‘s comments in his statement about the new deal: “Charlie and I are already working together on a proposal to AMS, PGW and PGW clients, all of whom are facing a very challenging situation. We have talked to a number of clients and we are in discussions with AMS.” Winton says, “We think a path can be found that would benefit all parties. Because of its two distribution lines – Consortium and Perseus Distribution – Perseus is ideally positioned to lead this initiative.”

For Winton, the sale to Perseus marks the end of a five-year odyssey with AMS that began in 2002 (and included his replacement as PGW’s head by current CEO Rich Freese in 2003.) And as Pat Holt (of Holt Uncensored fame) predicted back when AMS bought PGW, “this marriage between distributors with conflicting philosophies is going to hit some purty stormy patches.” Did it ever – and Winton’s necessary defection may well signal even more defections, whether to Perseus or to different distribution waters. This morning, the anonymous Radio Free PGW blog added its own take on the story with a part history, part obituary of PGW as it once was.