BTW News Briefs

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

Penguin Random House is launching Book the Vote, a company-wide effort to encourage voter registration and turnout in connection with appearances by popular authors, including John and Hank Green, Jodi Picoult, DeRay Mckesson, Brad Meltzer, and Ransom Riggs. The campaign, which will partner with voter registration organization HeadCount, will also provide bookstores with tools for displays and help facilitate community nights and other related initiatives.

On September 3, The New York Times published Michael Corkery’s article “Hard Lessons (Thanks, Amazon) Breathe New Life Into Retail Stores,” about how retail stores have had to innovate to succeed as Amazon continues to grow its dominance over multiple markets.

The Academy of American Poets is asking students in the U.S. who are in grades nine through 12 to enter artwork to be considered for the official 2019 National Poetry Month poster. The poster with the winning artwork will be sent to 100,000 libraries, schools, bookstores, and community centers nationwide to celebrate the event next April.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has announced that Blue Rider Press founder David Rosenthal will become the company’s new editor-at-large. PRH closed the Blue Rider Press imprint last year.

In January, Rebecca Smart will take over as managing director at DK Publishing. Smart, whose new role focuses on overseeing design, U.K. marketing and PR, publishing operations, and Alpha Books, will also join the DK executive board. She previously served for the past four years as managing director at Ebury Publishing in the U.K.

At Simon & Schuster, Paula Amendolara was promoted to vice president and director of national accounts; Wendy Sheanin was named the new vice president of independent retail sales, a newly created position; Nicole Vines Verlin joined the company as vice president of special sales; and Eileen Gentillo was promoted to vice president and director of sales operations. In addition, Jisoo Leones was promoted to manager of sales operations and client publisher services; Andrés Feliciano was promoted to coordinator of client publisher services; and Lis Kingren-Hawkins is leaving the children’s department to become sales operations coordinator.

Claire Payne has joined Sourcebooks as director of sales – mass and special markets. She was most recently senior director of sales at Parragon.

Jordan Bascom has been promoted to publicist and Joanna Demkiewicz has been promoted to marketing director at Milkweed Editions.

IPG has acquired Midpoint Trade Books, a New York City-based book distribution company founded in 1996 by CEO Eric Kampmann to service small and indie presses and which now has 230 publisher clients. The sale makes Midpoint Trade IPG’s seventh distribution program. 

Neil Gaiman and Haruki Murakami have been shortlisted for the New Academy Prize, an alternative Nobel literature prize. Cultural figures in Sweden created the prize as a substitute after the Academy had to postpone the awarding of 2018’s prize due to a sexual assault scandal. According to the organizers, the prize was created “to warrant that an international literary prize will be awarded in 2018, but also as a reminder that literature should be associated with democracy, openness, empathy and respect.”

The nomination period has opened for the Reading the West Book Awards, which exemplify the best in fiction and nonfiction writing, culinary writing, and illustration whose subject matter is set in the Mountains and Plains Independent Booksellers Association (MPIBA) region. Nominations close December 31, 2018, and the shortlist will be announced April 30, 2019.

HarperCollins rep Kate McCune has won the Voice of the Heartland Award, which is given by the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association (GLIBA) and the Midwest Independent Booksellers Association (MIBA). The award honors “outstanding individuals who uphold the value of independent bookselling and who have made a significant contribution to bookselling in the Midwest.”

The Center for Fiction has announced the shortlist for its First Novel prize, which includes There There by Tommy Orange (Knopf), the number-one pick on the June 2018 Indie Next List. The prize winner will be announced on December 11.

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