Kobo has promoted Michael Tamblyn to chief executive officer, effective January 2016, as well as vice executive manager of the Rakuten Global eBook Business (which includes Overdrive and Aquafadas). He succeeds Takahito Aiki, who remains with the company as chairman of Kobo and managing executive officer of the global ebook business. Tamblyn said in the announcement: “I am looking forward to my role in ensuring our parent company, Rakuten, achieves its vision of enriching every stage of a reader’s life. Together with OverDrive and Aquafadas, we want the best possible reading experiences for schools, libraries, institutions, corporations and consumers, enabling readers to buy or borrow digital content anywhere in the world.”
Penguin Random House Canada has appointed Robert Wheaton to chief operating officer, continuing to report to Brad Martin. Wheaton, who succeeds Barry Gallant (appointed to cfo last week) will assume responsibility for sales for the company’s Canadian publishing lists, core distribution lists and special markets sales. This is in addition to Wheaton’s existing responsibilities which include: digital and online sales, digital product development and strategy, as well as development of consumer insights and analytics resources. Newly reporting to Wheaton are James Young, Cathy Boonen, Linda Chisholm, Valerie Gow, Jennifer Herman, Scott Loomer, Bonnie Maitland, Liza Morrison, Matthew Sibiga, Robin Thomas, Lahring Tribe and Jordan Fenn. Jordan Ginsberg, Meghan MacDonald, Brent Richard and their teams will continue to report to Robert, as will Justin Sorbara-Hosker.
“In assuming these responsibilities, I have tasked Robert with bringing together our digital, sales, and business development teams under a single collective mandate: getting the right book into the hands of each reader via the channel that reader prefers, in a manner which is most profitable for our customers, our authors and our company,” Martin said in the announcement. “Robert and his team will be thoroughly reviewing all our sales processes to ensure that our experienced sales teams have the tools they need to most effectively represent our titles to all markets. Our goal is to bring a heightened level of strategic and operational discipline to our key account management across all our print and digital channels, thereby empowering our sales teams to make strategic choices driven by data-based insights that will allow us maximize sales and profitability in all channels.”
Penguin Random House Australia will undergo a restructuring resulting in the loss of 15 jobs across a number of departments, including marketing and publicity, publishing, production and sales. Among those slated to leave include Andrew Davis, deputy ceo, Penguin Random House Asia Pacific (the role will also be discontinued); Sally Bateman, digital, marketing & publicity director, Penguin Random House Asia Pacific, and Ian Posthumus, hr director, Penguin Random House Asia Pacific. Davis will remain with the company through the end of the year.
Newly-appointed ceo of PRH Australia and New Zealand Julie Burland (longtime ceo Gabrielle Coyne left abruptly early in November) called the job losses a “difficult decision, but it was the right one for the company, its colleagues, authors and their readers.” She added: “2015 has been a challenging year for Penguin Random House in Australia. We need to put our company on a clear path to future growth. We must have a more sustainable and realistic cost base to best enable us to re-invest more in our authors and in publishing their books ever more creatively and successfully.”
On Wednesday, HarperCollins announced that release of 500 signed, special edition copies of Harper Lee’s Go Set A Watchman, selling for $1,500. For “cyber Monday,” the plain old ebook edition is on sale for $4.99.
As for other Monday offers, today is the last day to take advantage of our Publishers Marketplace anniversary deal, and try the first month of service for just $15 when you enroll using the discount code First15.
Lunch readers can still get good early pricing on next March’s big Digital Book World conference (until mid-December), with the best-available discount at this link, which provides the best deal anywhere on individual tickets. See the program-in-formation here.