Sunday, May 21, 2006

The News:

Attorney General: Jail the Reporters!
Our Attorney General believes the courts have the right to prosecute reporters for publishing secret material and information. Speaking on This Week he indicated that it was a possibility but further stated that it was up to Congress - which is a bit of a cop-out since he's the one doing the indicting. This story is covered extensively.

VNU: Under new Ownership.
It is no doubt a relief to the management and employees of VNU that the venture capital backed acquisition of the company has been completed. As the dust settles, it will become clearer how much of a distraction this has been to management over the past 12 months reflected in potential asset sales, management changes and potentially more acqusitions down the line. Having completed this very large buyout, it also raises a question whether other venture capital deals will be struck with some of the other large information and content business.

Bertelsmann in Public Offering:
The date by which Bertelsmann will have to decide whether to proceed with the offering forced on them by their Belgium partner is approaching. My money is on it not happening.,,1780128,00.html

China and Electronic Content
An interesting although short story in the Shanghai Daily speaks of a rapid rise in the comfort level with online books and articles. Perhaps this is no real story; however, like the generation jumping that took place with mobile phones versus land line phones in developing nations like China could we be witness to a similar trend for publishing. Admittedly there has been a lot of traditional publishing in China for hundreds of years but it is the US and European content the population craves and this material may be available only in digital form thereby forgoing the print format. Link:

Duggan moving on From Disney:
Disney has appointed R. Russell Hampton as President of Disney Publishing. This is the licensing arm of Disney Publishing and doesn't impact Hyperion.

BISG Annual Sales:
There are too many reports attempting to document the size of the US publishing marketplace. Last year, under the guidance of Jeff Abraham, BISG set out to take a new look at the manner in which data was compiled and the constituency represented in the sales data reported. The BISG reports had remained static for many years and it was about time that this revision was done. The results were extraordinary in that the surveys BISG compiled resulted in the addition of $8.0 billion to the generally accepted market value of the US publishing industry. The methodology stands up although there is some debate as to whether there is any double counting if the 'under the radar' numbers are added to the traditional sales numbers. This year BISG has combined what were essentially two reports last year into one. I believe BISG will continue to make progess in the next few subsequent reports that will address the remaining veracity issues and that we will end up with vastly more accurate data versus what has been available over the past several years.

Starling Laurence
Interesting article about the editor in chief of W W Norton.

AMS hires Gary Rautenstrauch.
I recall a personal call from Philip Blackwell to tell me he had hired Gary to run their US operation based in Oregon - that was in November and things change fast. Gary is now the 'safe pair' of hands to get AMS back on the right track.

Starbucks and Books:
Author tours and promotions, in store sales and events and of course coffee. What could be better? Will thier own publishing program be far behind?

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