Up to now the studio licensed books based on its characters to different publishers with Simon & Schuster serving as the master licensee. But now it’s taking charge with DreamWorks Press, described as “an in-house operation which will publish digital and print books inspired by the studio’s vast [intellectual property] library.” The unit’s works will be sold and distributed by The Perseus Books Group and will “give fans a meaningful way to interact with us on a year-round basis,” DreamWorks Animation‘s Head of Franchise Shawn Dennis says. The first DreamWorks Press books will be ready by this year’s holiday shopping season. Franchises initially targeted for digital and print books and book apps include Kung Fu Panda, Madagascar, Shrek, and 2015′s B.O.O.: Bureau Of Otherworldly Operations along with properties from DreamWorks Classics — the Classic Media library bought in 2012 and that includes Little Golden Books — and AwesomenessTV. DWA says that it will “build an international team within the publishing arm to ensure that content is produced and enjoyed around the world.” Publishing vet Emma Whittard will run DreamWorks Press. “With all of the proper pieces now in place, we are perfectly positioned to grow the publishing business in a significant way for years to come,” she says.
Shonda Rhimes will write a “part memoir, part inspiration, part prescription” book about navigating her family life with three daughters and a red-hot career, which includes creating Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice and Scandal. Publication is eyed for 2015 after Simon & Schuster announced a deal today for world English-language rights with ICM Partners’ Jennifer Joel. The publishing house is owned by CBS Corp, whose CBS is a broadcast rival of ABC, where Rhimes’ series live. “Shonda Rhimes is bar none in the storytelling realm,” said Simon & Schuster VP and Editor-in-Chief Marysue Rucci. “Now fans of her phenomenal shows can read Shonda’s story in her own words — and marvel at how Shonda built a phenomenal career through her unforgettable television characters and a beautiful family, simultaneously.” Apart from her TV career that includes running production shingle Shondaland, Rhimes got her start as a movie writer (The Princess Diaries 2), has made Time magazine’s list of the most influential people twice, is on Fortune‘s list of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Business, and was just appointed by President Obama to serve as Trustee for the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. We’ve seen Queens of All Media before — Oprah Winfrey and Martha Stewart come to mind — and a self-anointed King of All Media in Howard Stern. So does Rhimes now belong on the good side of those castle walls?
EXCLUSIVE: It took Shane Salerno eight years and $2 million of his own cash to make his JD Salinger documentary and book. It’s paid off quickly: The Weinstein Company landed worldwide rights to the movie and will release it during Oscar season September 6, it will air on PBS’ American Masters in 2014, and Simon & Schuster scooped up the 700-page Salinger biography from Salerno and David Shields. All three deals were for seven figures, making it one of the richest-ever pacts for a feature docu. Now comes foreign book sales: I’m hearing the London Book Fair is hot over The Private War Of J.D. Salinger, which is not a companion to the movie but an oral biography featuring more than 100 never-before-seen photos and material not found in the two-hour film. Multiple six-figure advances are on the table in London, I’m told, and Simon & Schuster has already concluded at least one major overseas rights deal for the UK and Commonwealth — with Simon & Schuster UK — before rivals even arrived at the sales confab. The plan is to publish the book in the UK simultaneously with its September release in the U.S. Salerno will speak directly with other foreign publishers next week, and other deals could come from magazine serialization as well as a secondary push following the film’s big- and small-screen debuts. Overall, it’s possible global sales could reach into the several …
The News Corp publishing unit has expressed interest in acquiring CBS Corp‘s Simon & Schuster book unit, according to the Wall Street Journal. If true, the overture comes less than a month after News Corp reportedly jumped in the bidding for Pearson’s Penguin book label with an offer the Sunday Times Of London says was for about $1.6 billion, as consolidation is being seen as a way to best transition the industry to digital platforms. Penguin later merged with Bertelsmann’s Random House. The WSJ, which is also owned by News Corp, reports HarperCollins-Simon & Schuster talks are preliminary. Any News Corp publishing entity would reside in its soon-to-be-split-off publishing company along with Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers and education businesses.
Chuck Lorre’s TV vanity cards are coming to a bookstore near you. Simon & Schuster announced today that the executive producer of CBS’ Two and a Half Men, Big Bang Theory and Mike & Molly has signed a book deal with them. Simon & Schuster, a division of CBS Corporation, will publish the blurbs and musings that Lorre has been putting up for seconds at the end of his various shows since 1997. The coffee table What Doesn’t Kill Us, Makes Us Bitter comes out in October 2012 and will cost $100, with all proceeds going to the Dharma-Grace Foundation that Lorre set up in 1999 to help offer free medical care. During Charlie Sheen’s public war of words with Lorre in early 2011, the vanity cards became the Two and a Half Men co-creator’s outlet back at his former leading man. In one card played after a February 2011 episode of Men, Lorre responded to the actor by noting his own good health and lack of vice and concluded, “If Charlie Sheen outlives me, I ‘m gonna be really pissed.” Not long after Lorre said he would discontinue the cards but they are still after his shows. While the vanity cards have been available online for a while and can be seen by anyone fast with the freeze button on their remote, this is the first publication of them, including several that CBS have not …
The federal judge in the e-book price-fixing case against Apple and book publishers who haven’t settled out of court has set a trial date of June 3, 2013, Bloomberg reports. Of the five publishers originally charged, only Macmillan and Penguin remain after CBS Corp’s Simon & Schuster, Hachette and News Corp’s HarperCollins agreed to settle out of court after the government filed suit April 11. Settlements between the three publishers and all 50 states are slated to be finalized August 10. Feds have stepped up enforcement against price-fixing in other industries as well and have increased scrutiny of Apple’s digital publishing, mobile computing and music retail businesses to make sure company hasn’t thwarted competition.
It could be a fascinating anti-trust case according the details reported by The Wall Street Journal. The paper says that the Justice Department is gearing up to sue Apple and five top publishers — Simon & Schuster, Hachette, Penguin Group, Macmillan, and HarperCollins — for conspiring to fix e-book prices around 2010 when the tech company introduced its iPad. The group allegedly wanted to end Amazon’s practice of selling e-books for a deeply discounted $9.99, part of the company’s strategy to promote sales of its Kindle e-readers. Hoping to loosen Amazon’s grip on the market, and help its new iPad, Apple encouraged publishers to stop selling books wholesale — which enabled retailers to set the selling price– and to adopt a so-called “agency model.” That empowers publishers to set the sales price, and pay retailers a fee of about 30%. The late Apple CEO Steve Jobs told biographer Walter Isaacson that he told publishers “the customer pays a little more, but that’s what you want any way.” He added that
EXCLUSIVE: Simon & Schuster has moved the publication date of the Don Winslow novel The Kings Of Cool from fall to June 26. The move was made to bring the book closer to the launch of Savages, the Oliver Stone-directed adaptation of Winslow’s novel that stars Taylor Kitsch, Aaron Johnson and Blake Lively. The Kings Of Cool is a prequel to Savages. After seeing Stone’s cut, Universal Pictures moved Savages from September 28 to July 6, where the film’s summer setting seemed more appropriate and because it seemed like a neat counterprogramming to some of those summer behemoths. S&S is also releasing the Savages movie tie-in novel May 29, and the trade paperback movie tie-in novel on June 5.
Simon & Schuster To Coincide Don Winslow Prequel Novel Bow With Release Of Oliver Stone-Directed ‘Savages’
New York, NY, January 4, 2012: Simon and Schuster announced today that Don Winslow’s The Kings of Cool, the much-anticipated prequel to his New York Times bestseller Savages will be published to coincide with the release of Academy Award winning filmmaker Oliver Stone’s major film of Savages from Universal Pictures in September 2012. Savages stars Oscar winner Benicio Del Toro (Traffic), Taylor Kitsch (Friday Night Lights, John Carter, Battleship), Blake Lively (Gossip Girl, The Town), Demian Bichir (A Better Life), Aaron Johnson (Anna Karenina), two-time Oscar nominee John Travolta, Oscar nominee Uma Thurman, Emile Hirsch (Milk), Mia Maestro (Twilight) and Oscar nominee Salma Hayek. The screenplay is written by Shane Salerno & Don Winslow & Oliver Stone.
CBS chief Les Moonves joined the chorus of media execs telling analysts today that they aren’t feeling any pain from the anemic economy. “We don’t see a slowdown,” he told the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Media, Communications and Entertainment Conference. Ad pricing in the TV scatter market is strong, he says. Also, “people who bought (ads) in the upfront are increasing their orders.” Even radio and billboards are holding up. Indeed, Moonves expects the television network to be “very much in demand in the first quarter. Our schedule is very strong. The other guys have a lot of new shows. I know we’re the boring network, but we’re the stable network and we just win.” Stations also will benefit from what he says will be a record level of spending for the 2012 elections. “It may not be good for the country, but it’s going to b good for CBS.”
EXCLUSIVE: Simon & Schuster has made a deal for Don Winslow to write a prequel novel to Savages, his bestseller that forms the basis of the film that Oliver Stone will begin shooting for Universal Pictures July 6, with Taylor Kitsch, Blake Lively, Aaron Johnson, John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Emile Hirsch, Salma Hayek and Benicio Del Toro starring. Simon & Schuster’s Jofie Ferrari-Adler acquired the book from CAA. The Story Factory made his publishing deal.
Savages, a book that got wide acclaim last year before its paperback publication (The New York Times named it one of the top 10 books of 2010), focuses on a couple of Laguna-based pot growers who are muscled by a Mexican drug cartel that kidnaps O, a young woman who’s their best friend and occasional bed partner. Faced with an impossibly high ransom, the growers begin hijacking the cartel’s own shipments to ransom back their friend. That book has something of a Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid climax, so a sequel wasn’t in the cards. The idea of the prequel book came from Shane Salerno, who wrote the movie script with Winslow and Stone. The prequel fleshes out the relationship between the pot growers (played by Kitsch and Johnson) and O (played by Lively), and will add interaction with characters from Winslow’s other novels that include The Winter of Frankie Machine and The Power of the Dog. Winslow is already deep into the writing and …
At the Simon & Schuster division Atria Books, Emily Bestler has been promoted to editor and chief and senior vice president, and she has gotten her own imprint–Emily Bestler Books–which will debut this spring. She has been with S&S for 16 years and her authors include John Connolly, Vince Flynn, Jodi Picoult, Diane Setterfield, Sister Souljah, Brad Thor, Nicole Wallace and Liza Marklund. The imprint will publish fiction and non-fiction.
EXCLUSIVE: Reveille and Jack Black’s Electric Dynamite Prods. have optioned the TV rights to journalist/author A.J. Jacobs’ best-selling non-fiction book My Life As An Experiment for a potential half-hour comedy series. This marks one of the first projects under Black’s two-year exclusive production deal with Reveille inked in April. The book, whose full title is My Life As An Experiment: One Man’s Humble Quest To Improve Himself By Living As a Woman, Becoming George Washington, Telling No Lies, And Other Radical Tests, is being released by Simon & Schuster in paperback today.
Esquire Editor-at-Large Jacob is known for immersing himself in a self-improvement project and then writing about it. In My Life As an Experiment, he provides a humorous account of his 10 month-long exercises in self-improvement—from assuming the identity of a beautiful young woman to outsourcing his life to a couple of Indian assistants, to living a life of Radical Honesty. ”I’m being radically honest when I say I’m thrilled to be working with Reveille and Jack Black, and I’m looking forward to helping them transform these stories from my life into a series,” Jacobs quipped. Reveille’s EVP scripted TV Carolyn Bernstein called the stories “tailor-made for television,” noting that they “chronicle A.J.’s real-life adventures in immersion journalism and their unexpected comedic impact on his domestic life.” Search is underway for a writer to adapt the book.
ICM-repped Jacobs previously spent a year reading the entire Encyclopedia Britannica and another year following every rule …