By multiple second-hand accounts from publishers who do business with Disney, evp of Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media’s (DCPI) Publishing and Digital Media business unit Andrew Sugerman has left the company. He had oversight for “all global licensed and vertical publishing across books, e-books, mobile apps, magazines, and comics under Disney Publishing Worldwide and Disney Book Group” and worked at Disney since 2007. The company has not issued an official announcement about new leadership for the group but is expected to do so after Book Expo (where reportedly, the new executives are in attendance today). Update: That public announcement was never made, but Tonya Agurto was promoted following Sugerman’s departure and her portfolio includes serving as Disney Publishing Worldwide senior vice president and global publisher.
Stephanie Smith was promoted to associate publisher at Zondervan, and Andy Rogers has joined the company as acquisitions editor for their nonfiction division. He fills the role held by now-retired executive editor John Sloan. Rogers was an acquisitions editor at Our Daily Bread.
Katie Boland has joined Catapult/Counterpoint Press/Soft Skull as events coordinator.
Owner of bookseller Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza Susan Novotny and her son Alexander Novotny have formed the Novotny Literary Agency. They want to “bridge the relationship between promising authors, successful publishers, knowledgeable and inspired booksellers and, most especially, readers.”
Bonnier Publishing group chief operating officer Sharon Parker has decided to leave her position on October 1, after 20 years with the company.
The NYT has posted an obituary for literary agent Elaine Markson. They quote her as having said, “If you took a poll among your friends, I doubt that any of them would know a literary agent or want to be one. And yet it is a most wonderful profession: Next to his dog, you are the writer’s best friend.”
The Audio Publishers Association presented their 30 Audie Awards on Thursday night, with the large-cast production of George Saunders’ Lincoln in the Bardo named audiobook of the year.
Consultant Thad McIlroy challenges Len Riggio’s contention that the average price of a paperback book has become out of reach on a relative basis over time, now costing “two and half times the minimum wage,” compared to “one half the minimum wage when [he] got started.” (That would be $18.12 — perhaps in range for trade paperbacks, but not close for mass market paperbacks.)
The underlying problem is the lack of adjustment over time to the minimum wage — now a major political issue — rather than the cost of books. “The real minimum wage (in current dollars) is at levels last seen in the 1950s,” as McIlroy shows from the data. On a relative (inflation adjusted) basis, “book prices are lower today than they were twenty years ago, not higher.” He cites Federal Reserve data showing “book prices are 2.5 percent lower today than they were [in 1998], 4 percent lower than at their peak in the late 2000s.” He adds, “recreational books kept getting cheaper in relation to many other things that we purchase.”
At the same time, McIlroy underscores that “by published [online at Glassdoor] accounts, the minimum wage is where you start when you accept a job at Barnes & Noble.”