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Jack Lynch Named CEO of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) has appointed John (Jack) J. Lynch, Jr. as the publishing company’s president, CEO, and a member of the Board of Directors.

Lynch succeeds former CEO Linda Zecher, who resigned in September 2016 after five years with the company. HMH Board of Directors member L. Gordon Crovitz will continue to serve as interim CEO until Lynch joins the company in the coming weeks.

Lynch has more than 25 years of management experience in the software and information industry and most recently served as CEO of Renaissance Learning, a K-12 learning analytics company.

Prior to his positon as CEO of Renaissance Learning, Lynch served as founding CEO of, where he created an education network serving 40,000 schools. He has also served as president and CEO of the Pearson Technology Group and as a member of the executive board of Wolters Kluwer. Lynch, who holds a bachelor of arts from Boston University, was recently recognized with the award of the 2016 EY Entrepreneur of the Year.

Consortium Adds Five Publishers

Consortium Book Sales & Distribution has signed distribution agreements with five publishers, beginning with the spring 2017 season: Animal Media Group LLC, Cassava Republic Press, Hoxton Mini Press, Transit Books, and Iron Circus Comics.

All presses began distribution with Consortium on January 1, 2017, except for Animal Media Group, which began September 1, 2016.

Amazon to Open Brick-and-Mortar Bookstore in San Francisco

Amazon is opening a new physical location in the Bay Area city of Walnut Creek, according to San Francisco Gate. The brick-and-mortar store will be located at Broadway Plaza, an open-air shopping center, an Amazon spokeswoman told the Gate. While the spokeswoman would not comment on when the store will open or how big it will be, she did say that the company is currently hiring store managers and associates.

Laurelle Swan, owner of Swan’s Fine Books, Walnut Creek’s only independent bookstore, told the Gate in an e-mail that she was sorry no independent bookstores had opened to fill the neighborhood’s need for a store that sells new books. Running an independent business is difficult in an area with high rents, wrote Swan, but she hopes that “the community continues to support the independent bookstores in the general area, such as Rakestraw Books in Danville and Berkshire Books in Concord.”

2017 Spoken Word Grammys Awarded

On Sunday, February 12, comedian Carol Burnett took home the Grammy for Best Spoken Word Album, which includes poetry, audiobooks, and storytelling.

Burnett was honored at the 59th Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles for In Such Good Company: Eleven Years of Laughter, Mayhem, and Fun in the Sandbox (Random House Audio), a collection of behind-the-scenes anecdotes from her iconic The Carol Burnett Show.

Comedian Patton Oswalt’s recorded stand-up special Talking for Clapping, produced by ASpecialThing Records, received the Best Comedy Album Grammy.

James B. Conroy Wins Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize

Author James B. Conroy has been awarded the Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize for his latest book, Lincoln’s White House: The People’s House in Wartime, published by Rodman & Littlefield in October 2016.

The $50,000 prize, sponsored by the Gilder Lehrman Institute and Gettysburg College, is awarded annually for the finest scholarly work in English on Abraham Lincoln, the American Civil War solider, or the American Civil War era.

Conroy was a trial lawyer in Boston for more than 30 years before writing his first book, Our One Common Country: Abraham Lincoln and the Hampton Roads Peace Conference of 1865 (Lyons Press, 2014). Our One Common Country was a finalist for the Gilder Lehrman Prize in 2015.

Winners of Little Free Library Design Competition Announced

Chronicle Books has announced the winners of its inaugural design competition to invent a Little Free Library box that would be durable in all weather, usable at night, accommodate the height difference between adult and child readers, and suit the community where it is located.

The inaugural competition was sponsored by Chronicle in partnership with the Little Free Library organization and the American Institute of Architects San Francisco.

The judging panel chose the winners from a pool of 300 submissions from 40 countries, including the U.S., U.K., India, China, Iran, Germany, Italy, and Japan.

The Judges’ Choice Award, for the design that inspired the most consensus among the judges and scored highest for style, function, and responsiveness to the needs of the stewards, went to Owlie by Bartosz Bochynski, FUTUMATA/London, England.

Learn more about Owlie and the other winners here.

2017 Audie Award Finalists Announced

The Audio Publishers Association (APA) has announced the finalists for the 22nd annual Audie Awards, which recognize distinction in audiobooks and spoken word entertainment.  

Finalists are selected from publisher entries by a diverse group of judges, and one winner is awarded the Audie in each of 26 categories. The winners will be announced at the Audie Awards Gala on June 1, at the French Institute Alliance Française in New York City. Comedian Paula Poundstone will emcee the event for the second year in a row.

Visit the Audies website for more information and to see the list of the nominees.