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Pearson to Sell its 47 Percent Stake in Penguin Random House

Pearson has announced that it intends to sell its 47 percent stake in Penguin Random House and will be issuing an “exit notice” to its joint venture partner Bertelsmann, The Bookseller reported.

Bertelsmann, which has held a majority stake in PRH since 2013, when Penguin and Random House merged, responded that the company is open to increasing its share in PRH if the “financial terms are fair.” According to Pearson’s January trading statement, the company’s stake in Penguin Random House “will be sold or recapitalized with a view to extracting a dividend to maintain a strong balance sheet, invest in the business, and return excess capital to shareholders while retaining an investment grade credit rating,” The Bookseller reported.

The process is expected to take a number of months. Pearson Chief Financial Officer Coram Williams said that one reason it was the right time to sell the company’s stake in PRH was because the impact of newly negotiated e-book contracts is “now clear.”

Maria Pallante Named President and CEO of Association of American Publishers

Former United States Register of Copyrights Maria A. Pallante has been named the new head of the Association of American Publishers (AAP). She succeeds Tom Allen, who is retiring as president and CEO.

Prior to joining AAP on January 17, Pallante headed the U.S. Copyright Office from June 1, 2011 to October 29, 2016, where she “administered an increasingly complex legal system of programs, practices, and regulations, and assisted executive branch agencies with trade, treaties, and litigation,” according to an AAP press release. Pallante was a key advisor to the U.S. Congress during her time at the Copyright Office, and, with her staff, produced numerous policy studies, legislative recommendations, and strategic plans.

Prior to her appointment as Register of Copyrights, Pallante served as the agency’s deputy general counsel (2007–2008) and associate register and director of policy and international affairs (2008–2010). From 1999 to 2007, she served as the intellectual property counsel and director of licensing and branding for Guggenheim Museums worldwide. Earlier in her career, she worked for the Authors Guild and National Writers Union and was in private practice in Washington, D.C.

Eric Nelson Heads to Broadside Books

Eric Nelson has been appointed vice president and editorial director of Broadside Books, HarperCollins’ conservative nonfiction imprint formed in 2010. Starting January 25, Nelson will report to Jonathan Burnham, senior vice president and publisher at Harper.

Nelson joins HarperCollins from Penguin Random House, where he is currently the executive editor of Portfolio & Sentinel at Penguin Group USA. Previously, Nelson was an agent at The Susan Rabiner Literary Agency. 

Broadside publishes a variety of right-of-center politicians, thinkers, and journalists.

Children’s Book Council Releases “Best STEM Books” List

The Children’s Book Council (CBC) has released the first-ever educator-vetted Best STEM Books List, which provides recommendations to educators, librarians, parents, and guardians for exceptional trade books with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) content. 

The list is a joint project of the American Society for Engineering Education, the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association (ITEEA), the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), the Society of Elementary Presidential Awardees, and CBC.

The Best STEM Books List of 31 titles was compiled by a team of reviewers from a pool of 328 submissions. Each title was evaluated for its presentation of the STEM approach to problem-solving, with an emphasis on innovation and divergent thinking.

The fully annotated 2017 list is now available on the CBC website and will also be published in NSTA Reports and ITEEA’s Children’s Technology and Engineering magazine. 

Publishers Lunch Launches Spring/Summer Buzz Books

In anticipation of Winter Institute 12 and the upcoming spring publishing season, Publishers Lunch has launched two new free Buzz Books filled with excerpts from upcoming titles: Buzz Books 2017: Spring/Summer and Buzz Books 2017 Young Adult: Spring/Summer.

The full “trade editions” include marketing and publicity information on all featured titles, along with click-throughs to read or request full digital galleys on most titles. A protected EPUB file of Buzz Books 2017 and Buzz Books 2017 YA can be downloaded from Publishers Lunch, NetGalley, or Edelweiss, while “consumers editions” can be found at any e-bookstore.

Ingram CoreSource, Buzz Books’ e-book distribution partner, has also created limited-edition printed copies of Buzz Books 2017; copies will be available at Wi12 and in ABA’s White Box mailing.

Applications Open for NBF’s 2017 Innovations in Reading Prize

Applications opened on Tuesday, January 17, for the National Book Foundation’s 2017 Innovations in Reading Prize, which recognizes visionary literature programs that promote reading.

A $10,000 prize will be awarded to one winner for “developing innovative means of creating and sustaining a lifelong love of reading on the local, national, or international level.” Four organizations or individuals will receive honorable mentions, and NBF will highlight their efforts.

Applications, which can be accessed by visiting, will be accepted from January 17 until midnight PST on February 28, 2017. Founded in 2009, the Innovations in Reading Prize is made possible through the generous support of The Levenger Foundation.

A complete list of past winners and honorable mentions is available here.

USPS Announces Price Changes for 2017

The United States Postal Service (USPS) has received approval from the Postal Regulatory Commission to enact price changes for its mailing and shipping services.

Starting January 22, the postage price for one-ounce metered first-class letters will drop from 46.5 cents to 46 cents, while the postage rate for a one-ounce stamped letter is growing from 47 cents to 49 cents, which means that small businesses will have a three-cent savings on metered letters over stamped letters.

In a letter to customers, USPS stated that the changes were made since “competition in the marketplace remains fierce.” USPS also noted that although some of their prices will increase, in some cases 2017 prices will be lower than the new prices major competitors will charge in 2017 for similar services.

National Book Critics Circle Names 2016 Award Finalists

On Tuesday, January 17, the National Book Critics Circle (NBCC) announced its 30 finalists in six categories for outstanding books of 2016.

The NBCC awards are presented in the categories of autobiography, biography, criticism, fiction, nonfiction, and poetry and are chosen by a jury of working critics and book-review editors. All 30 finalists are listed on the NBCC’s website.

Also on Tuesday, Margaret Atwood was named the recipient of NBCC’s Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award, and Yaa Gyasi’s debut novel, Homegoing (Alfred A. Knopf), was named the recipient of the fourth annual John Leonard Prize, which recognizes an outstanding first book. Journalist and critic Michelle Dean, author of the forthcoming Sharp: The Women Who Made an Art of Having an Opinion (Grove Atlantic), was named the recipient of the 2016 Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing.

The NBCC awards will be presented on March 16 at the New School in New York City in a ceremony that is free and open to the public.

2017 PEN Literary Awards Shortlists Announced

PEN America has announced the shortlists for the 2017 PEN America Literary Awards, which will bestow a total of $315,000 in prizes.

This year’s list of finalists is comprised of 50 literary works by writers and translators of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, biography, essay, translation, and other categories.

The winners of the 2017 awards will be announced on February 22 with four exceptions: the $75,000 PEN/Jean Stein Book Award, the $25,000 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction, the $10,000 PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay, and the $50,000 PEN/Nabokov Award for Achievement in International Literature. These awards will be announced live at the 2017 PEN America Literary Awards Ceremony on March 27 at The New School’s John L. Tishman Auditorium in New York City.  

All of the 2017 PEN Literary Award shortlists are on the PEN website.