Sunday, December 05, 2010

Media Week (Vol 3) No 48: World Book Night, Obit Purushottama Lal, M/A: Reed & WoltersKluwer, Cengage Declines

World Book Night in the UK: One million books to be given away (Telegraph):

The idea was dreamed up by Canongate MD Jamie Byng, who has a knack for discovering talent (the young unknowns Barack Obama and Philip Pullman have long been part of his stable), and whose entire life appears to be an attempt to prove that nothing is as infectious as enthusiasm. World Book Night is a wildly ambitious extension of that theory.

Here’s how it works: Between now and January 4, members of the public are being asked to choose one book they love from a list of 25 pre-selected titles (see the full list below). They – you! – fill in a form saying, in 100 words, why they would like to give this book to others. The recommendation must be personal, and passionate. Each of 20,000 “givers” will then be sent 48 copies of that book to hand out on the night of March 5 at the venue they have chosen, resulting in what promises to be a national, simultaneous frenzy of book-loving.

Monsoon Systems has signed a contract with REDGroup Australia:

"This strategic alliance with Monsoon Commerce Solutions enables Borders.com.au to integrate with the leading marketplace and offer our Australian customers a massive selection of products. In doing this, we become Australia's largest online bookstore, and possibly even Australia's largest online store. Providing the broadest range of media and entertainment products is at the core of our strategy, together with offering unbeatable value to our customers, which this marketplace offer enables us to do. This is key to helping us grow in this competitive and rapidly growing market," said James Webber, managing director of REDgroup Online Pty Ltd. "This offer allows our customers to re-sell their used books on our web site, as well as purchase used and rare books not readily available elsewhere."

Continued Webber, "This is an important addition to the Borders.com.au web site and strengthens its position as one of this region's strongest e-tailers. With an unparalleled range of books and eBooks available, a price guarantee that ensures we are more than competitive with Amazon.com, and the recent extension of our offer into CDs, DVDs, and general gifts, Borders.com.au is uniquely positioned to capitalize on the massive growth in online spending by Australian consumers."

"Monsoon Commerce Solutions is committed to helping sellers and retailers grow their businesses online. Adding marketplace functionality with REDgroup's Australian and New Zealand retail operations dramatically extends their selection and increases customer loyalty. Broadening our reach in this way is another step forward in our commitment to helping sellers grow their business," stated Brian Elliott, CEO of Monsoon Commerce Solutions.
Obit of Purushottama Lal, poet and publisher of Calcutta in the Economist:

Professor Lal’s business was publishing Indian writers in English. Of the great old works he made masterly translations; new writers he encouraged. When he began, ten years after independence, the practice was controversial. Although English was one of India’s official languages, writers in it were often mocked as colonial remnants, “caged chaffinches and polyglot parrots”. He passionately disagreed. His love of English had begun in boyhood and was crowned with his long tenure at St Xavier’s College in Calcutta, to which his landowning family had come from the Punjab. Mention an English poet—Donne, Swinburne, Keats—and “Profsky”, as all his friends called him, would launch into reciting. Give him a word, and he would burrow joyously into its etymology. He was determined to keep the best English writing alive and well in India. And that meant making space for new creative writers, too.

Each of the 3,500 titles he published contained, at the back, his “credo”. English book publishing in India, he complained, was governed by a “nexus” of “high-profile PR-conscious book publishers, semi-literate booksellers, moribund public and state libraries, poorly informed and nepotistic underlings in charge of book review pages…and biased bulk purchases of near worthless books by bureaucratic institutions”. He, on the other hand, survived “without plush foundations”, publishing then-unknown authors purely for the love of it. Letters were always answered promptly, in the beautiful hand and with the Sheaffer pen. Manuscripts were accepted, as often as not, just to try their luck in the “loving clutches” of the free market. He made no money at it, and the authors might not either, because they were required to buy 100 copies of their work in advance. Some grumbled, but Writers Workshop was a beacon, not a charity.

Reed Elsevier continues to carve off pieces of its business. This time the Congressional Information Service and University Publications (PR):

Among the acquired product lines' best known works is the Congressional Collection, a one-of-a-kind resource that enables simple access to the full text of the breadth of governmental output -- congressional publications, bills, laws and other research materials – and award-winning Statistical Insight, which captures data produced by U.S. Federal agencies, States, private organizations, and major intergovernmental organizations. The microfilm vault of government documents encompasses text of congressional hearings dating from 1789, providing rich content for ProQuest’s continuously expanding digital archives.

“As LexisNexis continues to transform its portfolio of products and services, we are very pleased to place this business unit with ProQuest as it is an excellent fit for them and their customers,” said Mike Simmons, senior vice president of Specialty Businesses at LexisNexis. “We look forward to working with ProQuest – including licensing back certain legislative content sets from ProQuest for our legal professional customers.”

On the other hand, LexisNexis acquired State Net to add to their collection of government database products and applications (Marketwatch):

LexisNexis, a leading global provider of content-enabled workflow solutions, today announced that it has acquired State Net(R) -- the premier provider of legislative and regulatory content and tools in the United States. Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

"Through the acquisition of State Net, LexisNexis has secured critical content and tools needed by legal and business professionals to rapidly monitor and analyze the policy decisions being made by Federal and State governments and regulatory agencies across the US on a daily basis," said Bob Romeo, senior vice president of Research and Litigation Solutions at LexisNexis. "Access to this critical information means our customers are at an advantage when assisting their clients in finding, analyzing and planning for those decisions."

State Net collects, normalizes and editorially enhances all bills introduced in the 50 U.S. state legislatures, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Congress, as well as all agency regulations from every state. The service also provides timely delivery of data, legislative intelligence and in-depth content and tools reporting on the actions of government institutions.

SkyRiver (competitor to OCLC) was granted the right to deliver subject headings for adoption and approval to the Library of Congress (LJ)


Wolters Kluwer Health has entered into an agreement to acquire Pharmacy OneSource (CMIO)
Pharmacy OneSource is a healthcare software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider that helps hospitals manage patient safety, compliance and efficiency.

Pharmacy OneSource, of Bellevue, Wash., currently works with more than 1,200 hospitals globally, and assists with medication tracking, pediatric dosing, drug interaction checking, managing formularies, documenting and monitoring clinical interventions, and avoiding medication errors and adverse drug reactions via the web or handheld computer, as well as managing checklists to facilitate accurate and consistent compliance reporting.
Cengage Learning reported their first quarter a few weeks ago which saw a $52mm (7%) decline versus 2009. Here is their management summary for the three months ended September 30 (Cengage):
  • Revenues decreased by $52.0, or 7.5%, to $641.8 for the three months ended September 30, 2010, including a $3.0 favorable impact from acquisitions and a $0.6 unfavorable impact from foreign currency translation. The revenue decline was driven by gross sales decreases in the higher education and career channels due to changes in customer ordering patterns that accelerated certain orders into the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010 from the first quarter of fiscal 2011, as well as our Research business within our Domestic segment, partially offset by higher sales in our International segment.

  • Operating income from continuing operations decreased by $33.3, or 13.1%, for the three months ended September 30, 2010, due to lower revenues and restructuring charges, partially offset by lower variable costs, amortization of pre-publication costs and employee and consulting services cost.

  • Adjusted EBITDA decreased by $37.2, or 10.4%, for the three months ended September 30, 2010, due to lower revenues partially offset by lower direct product and other variable costs, as well as lower employee and consulting services cost.
From the twitter this week (@personanondata):

Why the Library of Congress Is Blocking Wikileaks « Library of Congress Blog

JoongAng Daily: U.S. publisher @ views Korea as trendsetter in e-book growth

Google Editions: Faster Forward - Google readies Google Editions e-book store

Onnesha Roychoudhuri: Books After Amazon

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