Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The News:

Bonnier on Shopping Spree:
Swedish publishing company Bonnier has announced it is working with Admediapartners to acquire media assets in the US. The company is a $2.5 billion dollar family owned company operating in 22 countries. In the US they are using as their base World Publications LLC a publisher of niche specialty magazine titles in which they have purchased a "major interest" from Boston Ventures. http://www.bonnier.com/8856.asp?newsid=40101&year=2006

ABE Books Buys a Library:
ABE books have purchased TheLibraryThing.com a web site devoted to book lovers who want to actively manage their book collection. Since the site launched last year they have signed up over 35,000 members. There are two tiers of membership (free and not free) and there is some functionality at the free level but only for a maximum of 200 titles. It is not clear if all the members are paying; nevertheless, the site does represent a cheap way to catalog your book collection, match it against other collections and mingle with other book lovers. I plan to give it a go (luckily I have a bar code scanner). What is also useful about sites like these is that they can serve as a digital archive of your collection if something catastrophic occurs (Fire, Water, both). http://www.abebooks.com/docs/CompanyInformation/PressRoom/library-thing.shtml

Also of note is the announcement that ABE purchased Fillz a book order and inventory management site earlier this month and the acquisition of Alibris by a private equity firm (Oak Hill Partners) which they say will enable them to contine to actively investment in the company. http://www.alibris.com/about/press_releases/050806.cfm

Will it read like a Press Conference?
Senator Chuck Schumer and Rodale announced he will publish a book about democratic policies and strategies for publication in early 2007. http://www.rodale.com/1,6597,5-106,00.html

New York's Village Voice on book retailing.
In May 22rd edition of the VV, they report on the state of US book retailing. http://www.villagevoice.com/books/0621,collins,73282,10.html

Steve McQueen:
Long missed Steve McQueen may soon have his dream movie production hit the big screen as noted in the New York Times earlier this month. The article centers around a collection of diaries and albums that the actor created to document and detail the movie he wanted to make in the dunes of Mexico. What is not mentioned in the article is whether there are any plans to publish the albums which are apparently very detailed. I suspect someone reading the article had the same thought I had. The article written by Paul Callum (May 15, 2006) is now archived on the NY Times site. http://www.nytimes.com

Ottakar's Looking for the Exit:
I didn't think Ottakar's would disappear and perhaps if the market in the UK for retailing had been stronger perhaps they would have remained independent; however, it looks like HMV will absorb Ottakars at a much reduced price to the one they agreed last year. http://www.forbes.com/2006/05/12/hmv-ottakars-giles-cx_cn_0512autofacescan06.html HMV are being cagey about when they might bid and there is some speculation that WH Smith may also jump in. Smith's may do this but it would only be to muddy the waters; there would be limited synergy between WH Smiths and Ottakars and Smiths' have more than enough problems as it is.

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