Jennifer Barth has been promoted to senior vice president, Harper.
At Simon & Schuster Children’s Rebecca Vitkus has been promoted to production editor. Lisa Lauria has joined as editor for Simon Spotlight; she was most recently in the marketing and advertising department at Toys ‘R Us. Cassie Malmo has joined as publicity manager; she was most recently senior publicist at Disney Publishing Worldwide. Lauren Carr will join as publicist; she was most recently publicist at Bonnier Publishing. Annika Voss has joined as digital and social marketing coordinator; she was most recently marketing operations assistant at Scholastic.
John Butman is joining Kneerim & Williams as an affiliated agent. He “has been involved in the creation of more than fifty titles” and specializes in idea-driven, nonfiction books about business, the social sciences, and current affairs.
UK trade publishing veterans Jason Bartholomew, Jessica Killingley, and James Spackman have joined together to form the BKS Agency in London, while continuing their other jobs and projects. They call it “a purposely small agency” specializing in nonfiction. (We recorded the first deal for Bartholomew recently.)
The Half King pub in Manhattan’s now-hot Chelsea/Highline neighborhood will close at the end of January after 18 years in business. Co-owned by journalists Scott Anderson and Sebastian Junger and film director Nanette Burstein, they write on their site: “Times have changed and we can no longer avoid financial reality.”
A recent NYT By the Book interview column with Alice Walker “stoked outrage,” according to the paper’s own coverage, and other accounts as well. Readers complained about allowing Walker to recommend with enthusiasm conspiracy theorist David Icke’s anti-Semitic And the Truth Shall Set You Free (“a curious person’s dream come true”). The NYT says, “Readers were upset that we didn’t add context to Ms. Walker’s endorsement.”
NYT Book Review editor Pamela Paul answers “questions drawn from reader feedback” in explaining their approach to the column, which is designed “to represent the person’s written answers in full.” Learning something distasteful about a well-known author can be part of the point: “If people espouse beliefs that anyone at The Times finds to be dangerous or immoral, it’s important for readers to be aware that they hold those beliefs. The public deserves to know. That’s news.” Paul underscores: “The Times isn’t saying that we approve of the person’s views and actions. We’re saying we think the subject is worthy of interviewing.” About Walker specifically, she said she would not have done anything differently: “Readers have certainly learned something about the author and her tastes and opinions.”
On the occasion of Knopf Doubleday chairman and editor-in-chief Sonny Mehta receiving the Center for Fiction’s Maxwell E. Perkins Award earlier this month, Penguin Random House has shared written testimonials from John Banville, Peter Cary, Robert Caro, Bill Clinton, Joan Didion, Omar El Akkad, Bret Easton Ellis, James Ellroy, Kazuo Ishiguro, Haruki Murakami, Jo Nesbo, Graham Swift, and Anne Tyler. (“When you ask him what he thinks he could do for you that your current publisher hasn’t already done, he shrugs. And utters three sentences—low-key, unremarkable sentences—that express everything he thinks you need to hear,” Nesbo writes.)
Additionally, there is posted video of the full awards dinner presentations, starting with Oprah Winfrey honoring Toni Morrison.
Gallery Books will publish Olivia Newton-John‘s memoir, DON’T STOP BELIEVIN’ on March 12, 2019. Newton-John says, “I hope this story of my life from my early years up to today will bring some inspiration and positivity to the reader.”
The San Francisco Chronicle posted its 10 best books of the year, as well as a list of 100 recommended titles. Fiction picks include Lake Success by Gary Shteyngart, The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner, and There There by Tommy Orange, while nonfiction picks include American Prison by Shane Bauer, Dopesick by Beth Macy, and Frederick Douglass by David W. Blight.
Noted with Caution
24/7 Wall St. reviewed annual employment data from 2008 to 2017 from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, to create a list of “the fastest dying industries.” Or less sensationally, businesses that have shed jobs as tracked by the government.
No 24. on their list was “Book and periodical merchant wholesalers,” where they estimate recent employment of 36,184, 38 percent lower than 10 years ago. “Bookstores and news dealers” — not that those are in any way the same thing, but these are government categories — ranked No. 13, as their estimated employment of 81,000 people is down 43 percent; “Support activities for printing” comes in at No. 12. On the bright side, while categories called “other publishers,” “newspaper publishers” and “directory and mailing list publishers” all appear on the list, book publishers are not included in any of those declining segments.
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