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    Pearson to Sell 22 Percent of Stake in Penguin Random House

    Pearson is selling 22 percent of its stake in Penguin Random House to PRH majority owner Bertelsmann, The Bookseller reported. This gives Bertelsmann a 75 percent interest in the company and PRH an enterprise value of $3.55 billion.

    Once the deal goes through, the agreement will generate proceeds of $1 billion for Pearson, which will own the remaining 25 percent interest in PRH. Earlier this year, Pearson, which owned a 47 percent share of PRH while Bertelsmann had 53 percent, sent Bertelsmann an official “exit notice”; at the time, Bertelsmann said it would seek to increase its stake to between 70 and 75 percent. Pearson will now be subject to an 18-month lock-in period, during which it cannot sell any more of its stake.

    The deal also stipulates that Bertelsmann has the right to appoint the chairman of PRH and will now control four seats on the board, while Pearson’s representation on the board will drop from three seats to two. Markus Dohle will remain PRH CEO.

    The sale is expected to close at the end of September.

    Footnotes Author Pens Pro-Indies Op-Ed in New York Daily News

    Longtime New Yorker cartoonist Bob Eckstein extolled the virtues of independent bookstores versus Amazon in his op-ed piece “Bookstores, the Amazon resistance,” which appeared in the July 10 issue of the New York Daily News.

    Eckstein, author of Footnotes From the World’s Greatest Bookstores (Clarkson Potter), explained that independent bookstores are holding on to their place in the bookselling industry, despite Amazon’s creeping domination of the market, in part because they can deliver services the online retailer cannot.

    “There’s a lesson here for all retailers, whether selling merchandise, or food, or services. There’s no substitute for human contact. You can’t build a community of drones,” he writes.

    Eckstein has written approximately 10 op-eds and features on indie bookstores this year. His next piece will appear on the back page of Publishers Weekly the first week of August, he told Bookselling This Week.

    Senate Healthcare Bill Will Likely Fail: McCain

    Opposition from a number of GOP senators has likely sounded the death knell for the Republican healthcare bill in its current form, Reuters reported. On CBS’s Face the Nation, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) stated that the GOP healthcare bill is “probably going to be dead,” and added that Republicans will have to work with Democrats on any healthcare bill. The current bill is opposed by all Democratic senators, the article noted.

    The Senate bill repeals most Affordable Care Act taxes, ends tax credits to small businesses as of 2020, and ends Medicaid expansion. It also cuts funding for Medicaid beginning in 2025, the Reuters article reported. At present, at least 10 GOP senators oppose the bill as it is currently written, though many more GOP senators have criticized the legislation. Republican Senator Bill Cassidy told Reuters that the draft bill was undergoing a “serious rewrite.”

    However, Reince Priebus, the White House chief of staff, told Fox News that President Trump expected a GOP healthcare bill to be passed before the August recess. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell plans to hold a vote on the legislation before July 29. And, according to the New York Times, GOP leaders announced that they would introduce a new version of their healthcare bill on July 13 and would vote on it the following week.

    WNDB Internship Grant Committee Announces Winners

    The We Need Diverse Books Internship Grant Committee has announced the winners of the 2017 WNDB Internship Grants. This year, the committee had nine $2,500 grants to award, along with a metro stipend for each intern, thanks to a recurring donation from the LJTJ Family Fund and a gift facilitated by fundraising by Inkluded.

    The following diverse publishing interns were selected for the 2017 WNDB Internship Grants:

    • Parrish Turner – Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
    • Rohini Verma – Simon & Schuster
    • Elizabeth Lee – Simon & Schuster
    • Rosie Ahmed – Charlotte Sheedy Literary Agency
    • Olivia Funderburg – HarperCollins Children’s Books and Greenwillow Books
    • Mercedes Padro – HarperCollins
    • Natassja Haught – Writers House
    • Tanu Srivastava – Puffin Penguin Random House
    • Santiago Montoya – Lee & Low

    In the program’s first two years, grants of $2,500 were awarded to 16 interns, with 11 eligible interns going on to full-time work in the publishing industry.

    IPG Names Frank Autunnale Chief Financial Officer

    Independent Publishers Group (IPG) and its subsidiaries have named Frank Autunnale as the company’s new chief financial officer, IPG reported Tuesday. He replaces Cara Sample, who left the company to pursue other opportunities.

    Autunnale brings years of publishing, digital media, and distribution experience to support IPG’s continued expansion. According to IPG, Autunnale’s experience will also help strengthen the company’s position as a partner for independent presses seeking extensive distribution in print and digital.

    Earlier in his publishing career, Autunnale served as the director of financial planning and analysis for HarperCollins. He was appointed the vice president of finance at Penguin Group (USA) in 2009 and at Hachette Book Group in 2015.

    Carl Hauch Joins Barnes & Noble as Vice President of Stores

    Carl Hauch has joined Barnes & Noble as vice president of stores, Business Wire reported.

    In his new role at the bookstore chain, Hauch will be responsible for “the entire retail store organization and profitable growth of the business, driving sales, training, developing talent, and recruitment.”

    Hauch formerly served as COO of urgent-care company CityMD. Prior to that, he worked at Starbucks, where he rose to CEO, managing director, of Starbucks Switzerland and Austria. He has also held senior executive positions at Advance Auto Parts.

    New Hires at HarperCollins Japan and HarperCollins Holland

    Shigenori Hamaguchi has joined HarperCollins Japan in the newly created position of publishing director. Hamaguchi, who previously served as editor-in-chief at Elle Décor Japan, will lead the publishing strategy for HarperCollins Japan and report to Frank Foley.

    Starting September 1, Jacqueline de Jong will join HarperCollins Holland as publisher. Prior to joining the company, de Jong served as interim publisher and freelance project manager at several publishing houses. She succeeds Heleen Buth as publisher.

    HarperCollins to Publish New Sendak Book in Fall 2018

    HarperCollins has announced the forthcoming publication of Presto and Zesto in Limboland, a previously undiscovered title by the late beloved children’s author and illustrator Maurice Sendak. The new picture book, with a story by Arthur Yorinks and Sendak and pictures by Sendak, will be published by HarperCollins imprint Michael di Capua Books in fall 2018.

    Yorinks and Sendak have collaborated on three other books, including The Miami Giant (1995) and Mommy? (2006), all of them edited by Michael di Capua.

    Sendak, who is best known for the children’s classic Where the Wild Things Are, worked for more than 60 years, while Yorinks, with other illustrators, has published 36 children’s books, including Hey, Al, a Caldecott Medal winner. Over their 40-year friendship, Yorinks and Sendak also collaborated on The Night Kitchen Theater and the dance piece “A Selection.”

    In the coming months and years, HarperCollins will also publish new editions of a number of Sendak’s previous classics. The first will be The Big Green Book, with a story by Robert Graves and pictures by Sendak, to publish in May 2018.

    Library of Congress to Posthumously Honor Denis Johnson

    The Library of Congress will posthumously award the late author Denis Johnson its Prize for American Fiction, the Washington Post reported.

    Johnson was the author of the bestselling, critically acclaimed works of literary fiction Jesus’s Son, a short story collection, and the novel Tree of Smoke, which received the 2017 National Book Award for Fiction. This is the first time the prize, which honors an author whose body of work “is distinguished not only for its mastery of the art but also for its originality of thought and imagination,” will be given posthumously.

    Johnson, who died of cancer on May 24 at the age of 67, found out about the award in March, the Post reported. Johnson’s widow, Cindy Johnson, will accept the prize on his behalf during the National Book Festival in Washington on September 2.