Sunday, August 06, 2006

News Update: Random House, Bertelsman, Smithsonian, Indigo Books

Random House purchased Multnomah an evangelical Christian publishing company located in Oregon. The US Christian publishing market is a growing market despite the fact that the Christian book retail market has been struggling for a number of years. Driving the growth is the increasing distribution of Christian titles through big box retail and traditional B&N, Borders and Books A Million stores. Titles such as the Left Behind series and The Purpose Driven Life have also drawn Christian titles into the mainstream. Random House now joins Harpercollins with the strongest stable of Christian imprints. Look for more acquisitions over the next few years.

Bertelsmann have said this week that they are closer to selling their music publishing business which they need to do to enable them to pay for the 25% equity stake owned by Groupe Bruxelles. It doesn't hurt that they will get a great price for the publishing catalog.

Smithsonian announced that it is consolidating and expanding their web presence.

Indigo Books And Music of Canadian fame reported this week. Characterize these results (and that stock chart) with the results from Borders recently. Indigo have some great looking stores - great open layouts, coffee bars - which makes the experience fun. OK, they also have the benefit of being the only large chain book retailer in Canada but in all Canadian cities there are many great independent booksellers for competition. For many years, there have been rumors that Indigo was being prepared for sale to a big book retailer across the border. In the case of Borders, perhaps the acquisition should be the other way. Heather Riesman is now a successful book retailer and perhaps she could do a lot more with Borders than their new inexperienced management.

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