Tuesday, March 17, 2009

News Briefs from PW Daily

Sale of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Trade Moving Ahead
by Jim Milliot & Judith Rosen
The sale of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s trade and reference group is steadily moving forward with the one remaining stumbling block price. HMH had no comment on the report, but sources said there are four serious bidders for the group, including Hachette--widely thought to have been the early favorite--Random House, a group led by a former HM executive Wendy Strothman who has the backing of private equity firm, and an independent publishing house.

Drummound Talks Google Settlement at AAP Meeting
by Jim Milliot
When the authors and publishers filed their lawsuits against Google more than three years ago, “not in my wildest dreams did I think we’d end up where we did,” said Google senior v-p for corporate development & chief legal officer David Drummound, who was invited to talk about the settlement between the parties at Wednesday’s AAP annual meeting. Drummound said Google resisted the idea of “pushing a legal point to a conclusion,” and rather than see fair use vindicated in court, decided it was more important to take advantage of the opportunity to find an agreement that could benefit the world. According to Drummound, Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin had always thought it would be necessary to scan books if the search engine they were creating was to be truly world class, and said that the agreement moves Google toward that goal quickly.

Filkins, Bolaño Among 2009 National Book Critics Circle Award Winners
By Craig Morgan Teicher
The National Book Critics Circle gave out its annual awards at a well-attended ceremony at The New School in New York City on March 12. Despite much commentary from the presenters and winners about folding stand-alone book reviews and the uncertain shift from print to digital for both books and book reviews, the NBCC celebrated books, reading and the art of book criticism.

Ron Charles, of the Washington Post (which recently announced the closure of its stand-alone book review), winner of the NBCC’s Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing, made particularly pointed comments in his alternately hilarious and earnest acceptance speech. He noted that the New York Times Book Review is the last stand-alone review left, though, he said, its editors "won't return my calls." Giving shrinking space for book review, Charles also urged reviewers to pick the books they review carefully and to pick books they can celebrate. There were no major upsets among the winners, though there was an unprecedented tie for the poetry award, which NBCC board member Rigoberto Gonzales said "has never happened before and will never happen again."

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