Interim director of English PEN since August 2017 Antonia Byatt has been made the organization’s standing director.
Lena Moses-Schmitt was promoted to publicity manager for Catapult, Counterpoint and Soft Skull.
Kate Hutchison has joined LSC Communications as director of business development and strategy, publisher services, focusing on creating digital solutions within the publishing industry. She was most recently at BookShout.
On Twitter, Ginger Clark at Curtis Brown offers “an incomplete list of  literary agent nightmares.”
Ibrahim Nasrallah won the International Prize for Arabic Fiction for his second novel, The Second War of the Dog (Arab Scientific Publishers. The $50,000 prize also provides funding for an English translation of winning work.
Just like real bookstores, the small footprint Amazon Books outlets are apparently in line to start stocking more non-book merchandise. A recent job listing seeks a senior product manager “to lead categories in our growing general merchandise businesses (all non-books, non-Amazon devices in the stores including toys, home, kitchen, electronics, and more).
Following yesterday’s announcement about opening week sales for James Comey‘s A HIGHER TRUTH from Flatiron Books, today’s update of Bookscan data shows hardcover sales of approximately 360,000 copies in the first week on sale, ending April 22.
Separately, NPD Bookscan released their first quarter 2018 executive summary of industry sales data. For all of 2017, their PubTrack Digital service tabulated sales of 162 million ebooks from reporting publishers, down 10 percent for 180 million units in 2016. eBooks comprised 19 percent of all book units counted for 2017 by Bookscan and PubTrack Digital combined. Adult fiction ebook sales of 108 million units were down 14 percent versus 2016.
For the first quarter of 2018, print unit sales counted by Bookscan are said to be up 6 percent, but that should carry an asterisk. Easter is a big book-buying occasion and when it falls on the calendar has a big effect on comparisons. Easter was early this year (April 1) so that sales bump fell in the first quarter, but usually — as was the case in 2017 — Easter falls later in April, and those sales are counted in the second quarter. So first quarter print sales of 165 million units were up 10 million units, or 6.5 percent, from 155 million a year ago — but two weeks later, for the week ending April 15 (right after Easter 2017), the gain is a more modest 3.4 percent, or just over 6 million units. (Our standing reminder: Agents and other approved independent industry professionals can subscribe to Bookscan data through PublishersMarketplace.com, and now you can purchase sales reports on individual ISBNs at a very affordable price as well.)