People, Etc.

Deborah Aaronson has joined Phaidon as vp, group publisher, reporting to recently-hired ceo Keith Fox. Aaronson, most recently vp, publisher for the adult trade group at Abrams, where she spent the past 14 years, will work out of the company's New York office. "I am thrilled that Deb has joined Phaidon," said Fox in the announcement. "Her extensive publishing experience, intelligence and creativity will continue to drive Phaidon's growth as the preeminent visual arts publisher in the world." Aaronson added: "I look forward to building the company's future publishing strategy while breaking into new categories and aggressively expanding existing ones, while honoring the company's incredible, often ground-breaking aesthetic."

At Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, Tina McIntyre has been promoted to the newly created role of executive director, strategic planning and digital publisher.

Steve Kleckner, vp of merchandise sales at Macmillan, is leaving the company after 8 years to relocate to South Carolina.

Candlewick announced that combined print sales of Jon Klassen's picture books I WANT MY HAT BACK and THIS IS NOT MY HAT have reached more than 1 million sales worldwide.

Publishers Group UK will handle sales for all Hal Leonard trade imprints throughout Europe and the UK.

In a letter to the editor, Philip Roth takes issue with Dwight Garner repeating "a claim about the author would have seemed to me unlikely enough on its surface not to bear gratuitous repeating in The Times." In Garner's review of Adam Begley's Updike biography, he wrote that: "Claire Bloom, after her divorce from Philip Roth, said Updike's negative review of Mr. Roth's 'Operation Shylock' so distressed Mr. Roth that he checked himself into a psychiatric hospital." Roth does not simply deny the post-divorce allegation; he gives an account of his days and months following Updike's March 15, 1993 review -- starting with his 60th birthday celebration on March 19, followed by documented teaching at Hunter College, public readings, and acceptance of an honorary degree from Amherst. (Nonetheless, the Times quips in its head, "Philip Roth, Still Writing (Letters, at Least)."

Further to our story from earlier in the week, a real estate agent handling the listing for the space currently occupied by Shakespeare & Co. on lower Broadway in New York near NYU confirms that "their lease has expired and they're staying on briefly until the landlord acquires a new tenant. The fact of the matter is that along with many bookstores, they are having trouble paying rents that were affordable 10 years ago when they signed these leases."

Also, New York's Landmarks Preservation Commission has determined that the interior of the Rizzoli Bookstore on 57th Street does not qualify for protection. (They found that little of the building's interior from 1919 remained intact.) The store was set to close today regardless of the decision.

Novelist Sue Townsend, 68, died at home on Thursday following a short illness. She lost her sight to long-term diabetes (she dictated her more recent books), and suffered a stroke in late 2012. Townsend is best known for her Adrian Mole series. Penguin Random UK ceo Tom Weldon called her "one in a handful of this country's great comic writers."