April 5, 2012

Publishing News

NOTE: IPDA Daily will not publish tomorrow. Back Monday.

ASME’s ‘Best Cover’ Contest Launches on Amazon
The American Society of Magazine Editors has launched this year’s “Best Cover” contest. For the third year, contest is hosted on Amazon, where visitors can vote for their favorites from among nearly 300 magazine covers submitted.   

Q1 Media M&A’s Up
Media, informaton, marketing services and tech M&A transactions up by 51% in quarter, to 333. Total value of $10.3B is down slightly vs. Q1 2011′s $11.1B (on 22 transactions). Among consumer magazines, deals mainly on single titles, rather than large group or full-company M&As. 

Hearst Digital Focuses on Social, Mobile, E-Commerce
Grant Whitmore, Hearst Magazines’s new VP of digital, hopes to see at least a 300% increase in social activity over the next 12 months–brand engagement beyond just “likes.” Using iCrossing digital marketing agency and data management company Red Aril to develop capability to target specific site content at readers based on their interests, personal info. Aiming for all brands to be mobile-optimized by middle of Q2. Still determining which e-commerce models work best for its brands.  

Haute Media Group Intros Media Network
Launching a group of niche sites focused on the luxury consumer demographic. The move to launch these initial five media products came after HauteLiving.com, the national luxury lifestyle website forHaute Living magazine, began generating at least 20,000 unique visitors per day. 

RR Donnelley Invests in Catalog Shopping App 
Reportedly invested $2.5M in CoffeeTable app that lets tablet users browse and purchase from multiple retailers’ catalogs directly within the application. Printer also reports that it now has more than 300 clients (incliuding magazines like Robb Report, and large newspapers) using its Press+ program, which lets them offer a variety of paid and metered content plans based on usage, plus mobile/tablet access, enhanced site functionality and out-of-market access. Acquired Press+ last March.  

More on NIM Initiative
Titles available to Android 3.0 and above users; not available to Kindle Fire (as well as iPad) users at present. NIM expects current 32 titles to grow to about 75 over time.

Report: Obstacles to Leveraging Audience Data
Council for Research Excellence finds relatively few digital publishers having developed techniques for using data for audience measurement, advertising targeting, content refinement or “other meaningful purposes.” One core reason” Lack of a “data owner,” meaning a single department, individual or function charged with overseeing audience data. 

Pew Survey: One-Fifth of U.S Adults Have Read E-Books
Finds one in five adults read a digital book in the last year, and four times more adults (15%) reading e-books on a typical day as compared to less than two years ago. In regard to reading in bed, 45% of respondents prefer e-books, 43% prefer print books.


Retail News

Economy: Jobless Claims Declined Again Last Week
Initial jobless claims decreased by 6K to seasonally adjusted 357K, lowest level in nearly four years. Weekly claims have been declining steadily since last fall, indicating fewer layoffs and more jobs added. 

March Retail Sales Mixed
Costco’s 5% same-store gain was lower than expected 5.7%, perhaps indicating it’s being undercut by competitors. Limited Brands’ 8% gain beat expected 4.4% gain. Teen retailers’ performance mixed. 

Albertsons LLC Raising Funds for Tornado Relief
All stores collecting donations through April 27 to assist Salvation Army’s disaster-relief efforts in Dallas-Fort Worth area. 

McGeorge Joins Acosta Board
Don McGeorge, retired president/COO of Kroger Co., has joined Acosta’s board of directors. 

Guilty Plea in Gift-Card Fraud
One of the three men accused of using counterfeit credit cards to purchase gift cards at Giant Eagle and Walmart stores pleaded guilty to federal charges on Wednesday.  

Metro Acquires Pharmacy Business of 7 Zellers Stores
Metro Ontario Inc. has acquired the pharmacy business, including prescription files, of seven Zellers pharmacies in Ontario. Promises seamless continuation of care for Zellers pharmacy customers. 

Food, Drug Risks Rising Along with Imports
Imported food and drugs in the U.S. have tripled in the past decade, making it tougher on regulators to police the safety of products that Americans consumers, reports Institute of Medicine. 

Online Retailers Embrace Direct Mobile Billing
Hundreds of businesses, including Facebook and Zynga, now accept direct-phone-billing payment, using services such as BilltoMobile, Boku and PayPal-owned Zong. Billing companies charge retailers 10% to 20% commission on transactions. 

Rite Aid, Target Report Strong Results
Rite Aid’s March same-store sales +3.6%, after strong February (+3%) and gains in all but one month in 2011. Front of store comps +4.6%, pharmacy comps +3.2%. Benefitting from Walgreen’s split with Express Scripts. Separately, Target’s March same-store sales +7.3%; raised its Q1 earnings guidance as a result. 
WSJ  (Rite Aid)
WSJ  (Target)

Status Report: Government, Publisher Talks Re E-Book Pricing
Sources say three international publishers (Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, Hachette Book Group) currently are inclined to settle the U.S. and European price-fixing probes, while Penguin, Macmillan and Apple are not. Stances could change. Article summarizes potential ramifications for publishers, retailers.

Opinion: Does Agency Pricing Lead to Higher Book Prices?
Smashwords founder Mark Coker offers the site’s data relevant to this question, and a list of reasons why he supports the agency model (including that it “puts authors and publishers in control ove rtheir retail price and promotions,” gives independent authors the ability to compete more effectively with “big 6″ publisher titles, and “creates a level playing field for all ebook retailers.”

B&N Makes Policy Exception
The Authors Guild has brokered a one-time truce in Barnes & Noble’s battle with Amazon that resulted in the bookstore chain’s policy to not carry print books in its stores without the ability to sell e-book editions. B&N has agreed to bring Marshall Cavendish children’s books back to its stores’ shelves. Amazon Publishing purchased Marshall Cavendish’s children’s book list in December 2011; a month later, B&N announced that it would not stock any Amazon-published titles in its stores. 

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