BTW News Briefs

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Here’s what’s happening this week in the book industry:

Françoise Dubruille
Françoise Dubruille, director of EIBF

The European and International Booksellers Federation (EIBF) announced on Monday, September 10, that the organization’s director, Françoise Dubruille, will step down from her position on April 18, 2019, to dedicate more time to personal projects. Dubruille has worked with EIBF for 18 years in total. In response to this news, ABA CEO Oren Teicher said, “Françoise Dubruille’s skilled and dedicated leadership of the European and International Booksellers Federation has strengthened the state of bookselling for literally tens of thousands of bookstores throughout the world. While most of her work has been centered in Europe, she has been an untiring advocate for the international community of booksellers, bringing us together to the enormous benefit of booksellers everywhere. Personally, I will greatly miss working with her, and wish her all best in her new endeavors.”

On Wednesday, September 5, MVB US went live with the new Pubnet application for publishers and booksellers. Over the past 20 years, Pubnet has enabled efficient electronic ordering for the North American book trade via a single, secure network using a standard set of documents. Now, after a full year of development, the company has fully rebuilt the platform. The new version of Pubnet has been improved with significant new features and enhancements, including a streamlined modern interface, better search and document management, and strengthened security. According to the company, which also owns PubEasy, the first wave of early customers is now being migrated to the new system; the transitional period will be completed in December.

In the U.K., Waterstones is buying the Foyles’ chain of seven independent bookstores, including the 115-year-old, family-owned company’s famous Charing Cross Road store in central London. James Daunt, chief executive of Waterstones, which owns 283 bookstores across the U.K. and northern Europe, said the deal will help booksellers to “champion the pleasures of real bookshops in the face of Amazon’s siren call,” according to the BBC. The transaction is expected to be completed by the end of the year; terms were not disclosed.

Today, the National Book Foundation announced the National Book Awards longlist for the Young People’s Literature category, which included The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo (HarperTeen), a Spring 2018 Kids’ Indie Next List selection. Acevedo was also a featured author on the Thacker Mountain Radio Hour at last year’s Winter Institute in Memphis. Longlists for the other National Book Award categories will be announced as the week continues.

Building on its 2017 acquisition of Severn House, Canongate will launch a new paperback crime fiction imprint, Black Thorn, in May 2019. According to the publisher, the imprint will release two paperbacks per month, and this will be the first time many of these Severn House titles have been available to the trade.

In a letter to colleagues this week, Penguin Random House CEO Markus Dohle announced that James Johnston had been named global chief financial officer of Penguin Random House, reporting to him. Johnston, who has 28 years of experience at PRH, will play a dual global and U.S. role as CFO, in which he will be responsible for strategic and operational finance, including analysis, planning, and reporting, said Dohle.

Barnes and Noble’s stock jumped 20 percent on Friday, September 7, after investor Richard Schottenfeld disclosed that he had a higher stake in the company than previously reported (6.9 percent, up from a reported 5.68 percent in July) and he had discussed a possible sale of the company with founder Len Riggio.

On a conference call with analysts on Thursday, September 6, Barnes & Noble chairman and founder Len Riggio said that the search for a new CEO will not begin for at least another month. Riggio has been serving as interim CEO since Demos Parneros was abruptly fired in July; Parneros has since sued the company for breach of contract and defamation.

Algonquin Books and Algonquin Young Readers have announced two promotions: Brittani Hilles and Carla Bruce-Eddings both joined the company as senior publicists. Previously, Hilles was a publicist at St. Martin’s Press and Bruce-Eddings at Riverhead Books.

The Italian-language HBO drama series based on Elena Ferrante’s international hit novel My Brilliant Friend (Europa Editions) will premiere in November as the network’s first non-English language series. The series, produced in partnership with Italian film company RAI, was first announced in March 2017.

The National Book Foundation has announced its inaugural season of NBF Presents, which features a fall lineup of 13 events at libraries; colleges; book festivals in Brooklyn, Texas, Miami, and more; conferences; schools; and performance venues, to run until the end of the year. NBF Presents, which helps expand the Foundation’s programming, is supported by new grant funding as well as a three-year, $900,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

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