For avid court watchers, this morning the Federal Court of Appeals was scheduled to hear oral arguments in the fight over whether to certify the author class in the long-running suit brought by the Authors Guild over Google‘s book scanning. Last year Judge Denny Chin approved certification of the class, and Google appealed that decision. We’re going to spare you further details until the court rules.
Harlequin sales fell 4 percent in the first quarter, down $4 million to $102.5 million (CA) , with operating profit declining 27 percent to $14.9 million, falling $5.6 million in the period.
Parent company Torstar had a similar weak overall quarter, and announced further restructuring in both the book publishing and general media divisions. They are cutting approximately 105 jobs companywide — with roughly 20 to 30 of those positions coming from Harlequin (a deduction based on the dollar figures provided). The book publisher took a restructuring charge of $2.3 million for the quarter, and expects to save $2.1 million annually on the staff reductions.
Digital comprised 23.4 percent of Harlequin’s revenues in quarter (compared to 20.5 percent a year ago), “as a result of growth in digital revenue in overseas markets.” Operating earnings were lower ” as higher author royalties [which began last July] for digital sales and lower revenues and were partially offset by lower advertising and promotional spending and $0.4 million of savings from restructuring initiatives.”
The publisher indicates that the class action plaintiffs who accused the company of depriving authors of proper ebook royalties and saw their case dismissed by a US District Court judge in early April filed an appeal on April 30.
Companywide, sales at Torstar fell 5 percent in their first quarter, down to $313 million and operating profit dropped almost 60 percent, down to $9.3 million.