Former Little, Brown editorial director Geoff Shandler joins William Morrow tomorrow as vp, editorial director for the nonfiction portion of “a new line of eminent nonfiction and literary fiction” that the division is launching. Liate Stehlik says in a memo the new line “will seek to investigate, inform, entertain, and inspire conversation, highlighting both established bestselling authors as well as introducing talented new voices.”
Facebook ceo Mark Zuckerberg made a very public resolution to read a new book every two weeks throughout 2015, “with an emphasis on learning about different cultures, beliefs, histories and technologies.” Under the banner of A Year in Books, he will conduct moderated discussions of the books he is reading on Facebook. That year of reading starts with Moisés Naím‘s THE END OF POWER, from Basic Books. (The flurry of interest quickly drove the paperback out of stock at Amazon and BN.com.)
Hilary Rubin Teeman joins Crown today as a senior editor. She was at St. Martin’s.
McFarland founder Robert Franklin is stepping down as president and taking the new titles of founder and editor-in-chief. EVP Rhonda Herman takes over as president of academic and nonfiction books. She first joined the company in 1982 as business manager.
Hachette Book Group has issued a 2013-14 environmental progress report, linked to pledges first made in 2009 to reduce their carbon footprint and protect endangered forests. In 2014, thanks to new offices in New York and Boston, the company says they reduced their energy usage 15 percent in those facilities. FSC (Forest Stewardship Certified) paper has grown to comprise 90 percent of their usage — though recycled fiber stayed flat at 9 percent of overall paper usage. “Given sourcing difficulties, including scarcity, low quality, and high price of recycled fiber,” improvement in this area has been harder, though the company says “we will continue to explore alternate sources of supply to meet the challenge of securing adequate recycled fiber for our books.” HBG has reduced their carbon footprint ahead of targets, bringing it down by 53 percent over the past 4 years.
In funding news, Scribd raised another $22 million in Series D funding, led by Khosla Ventures, with that company’s partner Keith Rabois joining Scribd’s board as an observer. The money will be used to “accelerate hiring, content acquisition efforts and international expansion” as Scribd builds its ebook subscription service. They have raised almost $48 million since their founding in 2007. And open-source textbook and learning platform operator Flat World Knowledge raised another $4.65 million from their existing backers, adding to the $9.5 million they raised in January 2014 — with about $40 million in investment capital raised since their founding. (Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments and Penguin Random House are both investors in the company.)
In digital self-publishing, distributor Smashwords announced statistics for the year showing their business grew less in 2014 than in previous years. Their title count rose by 60,000 ebooks (versus gains of 86,000 in 2013; 98,000 in 2012; and 58,500 in 2011, when their business first took off). They added fewer new authors to their ranks than in the past 3 years, with the author count growing by 17,600.