Saturday, November 01, 1997

11/1/97: Harpercollins, KnightRidder, SimonShuster,, Readers Digest,

New Head Of Harpercollins Publishers
A.H. Belo Corp.: Net Income Declines 21% But Beats Analyst Forecast
Apple Begins Program To Support Position In Education Market
Reader's Digest Posts $56.4 Million Loss, Citing Weak Mailings
Knight Ridder Sells Newspapers
Harpercollins Signs Jewel
Bookwire Offers Redesign
Bookpages - Another Internet Bookstore
Harpercollins Gets Mystery Web Site
Simon & Schuster Recognized For Having Best Commercial Web Site
Amazon Marches On


News Corp. named Jane Friedman, one of the publishing industry's best-regarded executives, to lead HarperCollins Publishers, its troubled book publishing unit.

Ms. Friedman, currently a senior executive at Advance Publications Inc.'s Random House unit, will assume her new position next month. She will succeed Anthea Disney, who last month was elevated to the post of chairman of News America Publishing Group, a newly formed News Corp. unit that includes both HarperCollins and TV Guide magazine. Ms. Friedman will report to Ms. Disney.

HarperCollins has had a variety of problems in recent months. In August, the company said it would take a $270 million charge -- the biggest in the history of book publishing -- to cover write-downs for losses on author advances and unsold books as well as other restructuring costs. Some of News Corp.'s major investors have encouraged Rupert Murdoch to unload the unit, and there have been repeated rumors that he might do so, unsettling the publisher's employees. Ms. Friedman went to Los Angeles to meet with Mr. Murdoch in late September, and she says she came away believing that "he is in it for the long term." She also said HarperCollins's difficulties didn't cause her to hesitate joining the publisher. "They have had some tough knocks," Ms. Friedman said. "But I believe the company has turned the corner, and it now has a pretty clean slate."

The Wall Street Journal via Dow Jones
Copyright (c) 1997 Dow Jones and Company, Inc.

A.H. Belo Corp. said third-quarter net income decreased 21% to $15 million, or 24 cents a share, from $18.9 million, or 42 cents a share, in the year-earlier period. Earnings per-share were affected by the issuance of about 25 million common shares, related to an acquisition. The Dallas television and newspaper concern said sales increased 58% to $319.1 million. The company also said a 51% revenue increase in its newspaper publishing division, combined with strong advertising demand in all of its broadcasting markets, contributed to the earnings results. A survey of analysts by First Call had estimated Belo would report net of 18 cents a share.

Copyright (c) 1997 Dow Jones and Company, Inc.
Received via NewsEDGE from Desktop Data, Inc.: 10/29/97 02:22:31

Apple Computer Inc., seeking to shore up its sagging U.S. education stronghold, has launched a special promotion to credit schools with 10% of the purchase price of computers bought by students' parents.

Under the "Power of 10" program, which began Oct. 15 and is to run through Jan. 31, the schools will be able to use those credits towards purchase of their new Apple computers. The program was conceived by Apple interim Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs, and is designed to strengthen the company's presence in a market that has been beset by competitors allied around the industry's dominant standard of Microsoft Corp. software and Intel Corp. microprocessors.
Under the promotion's terms, parents can buy directly from Apple any of 10 computer models, including some which previously had been offered only to schools. They can then designate the 10% credit to the K-12 school of their choice. If a school receives 10 of those credits, it can apply those to a free computer.

The Wall Street Journal via Dow Jones
Copyright (c) 1997 Dow Jones and Company, Inc.

Reader's Digest Association Inc. reported a loss of $56.4 million, or 53 cents a share, for the fiscal first quarter, reflecting weak customer response to mailings and costs related to a corporate realignment of operations.

The loss for the quarter ended Sept. 30 compares with year-earlier net income of $34.6 million, or 32 cents a share. Revenue fell 13% to $561 million from $644 million. The latest results included a pretax charge of $70 million, or 49 cents a share, reflecting severance costs for staff reductions in Europe, the U.S. and at the corporate level, as well as a discontinuation of certain businesses.

The results reflected increased spending in product development and direct-marketing operations, the company said. George V. Grune, chairman and chief executive, said revenue in the quarter reflected lower customer response to company mailings and fewer mail solicitations sent out in major markets.

Revenue from the U.S.-based special-interest magazines and Reader's Digest magazine were higher than last year, reflecting gains in both circulation and advertising.

Copyright (c) 1997 Dow Jones and Company, Inc.

MIAMI -- Knight-Ridder Inc. said it agreed to sell three newspapers that it had previously put on the block -- the Boca Raton News, Florida; the Union-Recorder, in Milledgeville, Ga.; and the suburban Newberry Observer, in South Carolina -- to Community Newspaper Holdings Inc., Louisville, Ky. Terms weren't disclosed, but media giant Knight-Ridder said the transaction includes the transfer to Knight-Ridder of the Daily Sun in Warner Robins, Ga.; the Byron Gazette, a Georgia weekly, and a shopper, also in Georgia. The transaction is expected to close by Thanksgiving.

Copyright (c) 1997 Dow Jones and Company, Inc.

HarperCollins was very busy this week and they topped off their activity by contributing to one of the major problems in the publishing industry. HarperCollins bid and won -for $2MM- a book of poetry and a memoir from Jewel, the 23-year-old photogenic folk singer whose debut album Pieces of You has been on the charts for two years and sold six million copies to date. Regardless, many analysts have bemoaned the tendency by publishers for overpaying for book rights for ‘media stars’ who’s celebrity it turns out is fleeting.

Jewel's poetry book, which had been shopped around last year and was rumored to have received offers at that time of up to $1.5 million, is now expected to be published in June, followed by a memoir (she’s 23!) in fall 1998.


BookWire -- -- Wednesday offered a redesign featuring daily news, original reviews and features, and a new "behind-the-scenes" column from industry insiders. FLAP, a daily column covering insider news and behind the scenes intrigue about the book business is part of the redesign. Other new original BookWire content includes Soapbox, a place where people in and around the book business can talk about everything from their favorite books to hot trends in book selling, and Publisher's Spotlight, a sponsored feature where publishers and authors put their titles in the spotlight, and readers can see the cover, read flap copy, excerpts, testimonials, and more.

For busy executives, preparing for Christmas can often be a nightmare. New U.K. Internet bookstore Bookpages, however, is hoping to lend a helping hand. A recent addition to the bloody Internet book wars, Bookpages is looking to capture an audience by offering snazzy new services to its site. Top of the list are new features for hurried Christmas shoppers.

First, swing by Bookpages' gift-selector service. The Bookpages staff have sifted through their 1.2 million titles and put together a list of books for specific friends and relations. Need something quick for a nine-year-old niece? Bookpages suggests the Roald Dahl Treasury or the Dorling Kindersley World Atlas. Prices are reasonable: Because it can cut out overhead costs, Bookpages manages to offer most wares at a discount below traditional bookstores.

Buyers, for their part, also get a present. Hoping to attract more customers, Bookpages offers a loyalty program. Once registered, buyers receive one Bookpoint for every 20 pence spent. Members with more than 500 points can redeem them against Bookpages books. Christmas gift recommendations however, earn buyers 50 points a shot.

Copyright (c) 1997 Dow Jones and Company, Inc.

Following a trend that is becoming increasingly familiar, HarperCollins has entered a co-marketing agreement with online mystery publisher Newfront of San Francisco to have advertising and HarperCollins content featured on The Online Mystery Network ( “The HarperCollins Mystery Corner” will be incorporated into the Newfront site, and will highlight popular novelists Tony Hillerman, Virginia Lanier and others by providing exclusive peeks at first chapters. will also host banner advertising for the book publisher and run special book promotions.

Newfront believes this alliance will be just the first of many as publishers realize how powerful Internet distribution can be for niche markets.

Cowles/Simba Media Daily 10/31/97
Copyright 1997 Cowles Business Media. All rights reserved.

Technology Managers Forum has named Simon & Schuster's College NewsLink Web Site the "Best Vehicle For Conducting Commerce."

College NewsLink is a unique educational service that brings the leading newspapers of the world to the college campus via the World Wide Web. For the first time, these stories are organized by academic discipline and linked to other Web sites as well as to print information in textbooks. These links make Simon & Schuster's textbooks are current as today's newspaper. Topics in the news are linked to relevant university Web sites, textbooks, government sites,
political organizations, world leaders and more.

College Newslink is the first time a publisher has created an electronic product sold directly to colleges, and not through bookstores to students.

Recognition for the site was part of The Best Practice Awards, co-sponsored by PC Week and Technology Managers Forum International, a professional organization comprised of IT executives from large organizations. Technology Managers Forum is the only organization in the industry that has an awards program that is designed to establish Best Practices for IT Management

AMAZON MARCHES ON reports another quarterly sales increase. For the third quarter that ended Sept. 30, 1997, sales were $37.9 million, a 36% increase over second-quarter sales and an 808% gain over the $4.2 million reported in the 1996 third quarter. For the first nine months of the year, Amazon reported sales of $81.7 million, it appears likely going into the Christmas buying season they could achieve full year sales of $120MM. For the first nine months of 1996, Amazon had sales of $7.3 million.

Net (Loss) income was higher than prior year periods reflecting increased marketing and sales expenses. For the quarter Amazon had a net loss of $8.5 million, compared to a loss of $2.4 million in the same quarter last year. The loss for the first nine months was $18.2 million, up from $3.5 million.

Amazon noted that cumulative customer accounts increased to over 940,000 by the end of September, compared to 610,000 at the close of June. Repeat customers represented 55% of sales in the period.


There Are More Than 7 Million North American Children With Internet Accounts.

According to Teenage Research Unlimited (TRU), the percentage of teens who say that it is ``in'' to be on-line has jumped from 50 percent in 1994 to 74 percent in 1996 to 88 percent in 1997. It's now on par with dating and partying!

65%of all Book printing jobs are for less than 5,000 units.

18% all of New Yorkers are on line.

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