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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in Deal With Amazon’s East Coast Publishing

On Tuesday, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) and Amazon.com announced a new licensing agreement between Amazon Publishing’s East Coast Group and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s newly named New Harvest imprint. Under the agreement, New Harvest will publish all of the adult titles from Amazon’s New York-based imprint in print and distribute them in North America outside of the Amazon.com platform.

Amazon Publishing’s East Coast Group will publish narrative nonfiction, select literary fiction, business books, and children’s/YA. Its first list will debut in Fall 2012.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt said it will also continue to work with Amazon Publishing’s West Coast Group, under the Mariner banner.  Since April 2011, HMH has sub-licensed a number of books from Amazon’s Seattle-based imprints, including AmazonEncore, AmazonCrossing, Thomas & Mercer, Montlake Romance and 47North.

NBC News Creates E-Book Publishing Unit

NBC News is forming a new unit, NBC Publishing, to create e-books and e-single formats out of content from NBC News franchises and other divisions within the conglomerate, ranging from sports to entertainment, according to the Chicago Tribune, which noted that “the new effort will intermingle video, audio and text to support new title releases.”

The publishing unit will be headed by Cheryl Gould, senior vice president of NBC News. She will be backed by Creative Director Peter Costanzo, previously with F+W Media, and Director of Digital Development Brian Perrin from Rodale. They will report to Michael Fabiano, general manager of NBC Publishing.

NBC has published e-books before in partnership with the Perseus Books Group and with Penguin.

Reaction Mixed to President’s Plan for SBA

The New York Times’ You’re the Boss blog reported on the mixed reactions among advocates for small business to President Obama’s proposal, announced on Friday, January 13, to temporarily elevate the Small Business Administration to a cabinet agency that would then be folded into a super trade and commerce department.  Under the plan, SBA would be folded with the Commerce Department and four trade-related agencies into “one department, with one website, one phone number, one mission: helping American businesses succeed,” the president said.

Most small business advocates were in favor of making SBA part of the cabinet but they expressed caution about the consolidation proposal, said You’re the Boss. Leaders of the small-business committees in Congress also said that while they supported streamlining government, they would review the president’s plans carefully.

Opposition to the plan has been voiced by Sen. Max Baucus, the Democratic chair of the Finance Committee, and Dave Camp, the Republican chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, who rejected any effort to relocate the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, an agency under their purview.