TIME martha stewart

Martha Stewart Is About To Make Some Serious Dough

Triscuit Partners With Martha Stewart To Unveil Limited Edition Triscuit Flavor
Michael Loccisano—2015 Getty Images Martha Stewart

Martha Stewart agreed to sell her media empire to Sequential Brands Monday in a deal that was worth $353 million, but there was very little announced about the fate of Stewart herself until today.

Under the terms of a newly released employment agreement, Stewart will claim the title of Founder and Chief Creative Officer and will be paid a base salary of $500,000 a year. But, don’t be fooled by that “base” sum.

Her yearly take home pay will be much higher once you add in an unspecified bonus, an annual “guaranteed payment” of $1.3 million (for what, the document doesn’t quite clarify), plus 10% of gross licensing revenues, which typically exceed $46 million per year.

And don’t forget the perks. Stewart will get six weeks of guaranteed vacation and up to $100,000 in annual expenses.

Martha Stewart Omnimedia also filed an 8-K report Wednesday that outlined the employment agreement and also indicated that Stewart could also collect another $1.7 million each year based on an “Intangible Licensing Agreement.”

All told, it looks like the Queen of Homemaking will make out with an annual payment of about $3.6 million, at bare minimum, according to calculations put together by the blog Footnoted.

Stewart, the biggest shareholder of her namesake Martha Stewart Omnimedia, also stands to net a lump sum of about $167 million from the deal with Sequential Brands based on her stock holdings.

TIME martha stewart

Martha Stewart Just Sold Her Media Empire for a Near-clearance Price

Triscuit Partners With Martha Stewart To Unveil Limited Edition Triscuit Flavor
Michael Loccisano—2015 Getty Images Martha Stewart

Do-it-yourself maven will maintain creative control

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, an unprofitable lifestyle business founded by the do-it-yourself maven, is being sold for a near-clearance price.

Once valued at nearly $2 billion when it went public at the height of the dot-com boom, Martha Stewart Living is selling for a much smaller $353 million in a cash-and-stock deal to Sequential Brands Group, which licenses and promotes a number of brands including items under pop star Jessica Simpson’s collection and Linens N Things.

Under the terms of the deal, which has been approved by the boards of directors at both companies, Martha Stewart will stay on as chief creative officer of the brand she founded and will also become a “significant stockholder” of the new company once Sequential and Martha Stewart Living and have combined. She will also be nominated to serve on Sequential’s board of directors.

It makes sense that Stewart will be a significant holder, as The Wall Street Journal last week reported she owned nearly 49% of the company’s Class A shares. That report also first indicated that a deal between the two parties could soon occur, though investors that bought on that news might be a bit disappointed. Shares jumped above $7 but the deal is for a smaller $6.15 apiece. The deal is 16% less than what some had hoped for on Friday.

“This merger is positioned to further the growth and expansion of the unique Martha home and lifestyle brand,” Martha Stewart said. “With our media business operations now successfully transitioned to Meredith, we now have the opportunity to tap into Sequential’s expertise and resources to expand our merchandising business both domestically and abroad.”

The company has faced some tough challenges in recent years, remaining mired with annual losses and sliding sales. Total sales slipped to $142 million last year from $231 million in 2010. The company has reported an annual loss for every year during that five-year stretch. That’s partly because of declines in circulation and advertising revenue declines for the company’s magazines, a trend that is hurting the broader industry as well.

TIME Amazon

Amazon’s New Experiment Could Change How Authors Are Paid

It's a bold experiment

Last year, Thomas Piketty’s 700-page tome Capital in the Twenty-First Century made it to the top of the Amazon best-seller list, becoming so popular that the site temporary ran out of books. Piketty was rewarded for each sale. But if he had waited an extra year to publish, he might be out of luck: Amazon is rolling out a new sort of author compensation model, where authors are compensated for each page read. It seems like few readers got past page 26 of the dense read.

The change, effective July 1, will only affect self-published authors whose books are available on Amazon’s lending services. By paying authors by how much their books are read rather than bought, the site aims to address author complaints that authors of short books were compensated as well as those who wrote doorstoppers. But the payment model is likely to come with its own haul of complaints, since authors are already concerned that the pay-per-page system will reward cliff-hangers over more complex reads. Images also count toward the page-count, so Amazon books might get a lot more colorful as authors think of new ways to hold eyeballs for as many pages as possible.

That means, for Amazon, an author’s work is only as good as its ability to keep the readers’ attention.

TIME Apple

Apple Is About to Drastically Change the Way You Read the News

The new News app in iOS 9 is gorgeous

Apple announced a new app for reading news at its annual World Wide Developer’s conference on Monday in San Francisco. Dubbed News, the app pulls in stories from a variety of publishers such as Conde Nast and Time Inc, presenting them in a rich, magazine-like format.

Apple Vice President of Product Marketing Susan Prescott showed off the news aggregation service. Prescott said the app would learn users’ preferences by analyzing the content of articles they read. “I read ESPN for the articles,” Prescott joked at one point while demonstrating the software on an iPad.

During the presentation, Precott showed content from titles including Time, Entertainment Weekly, Bon Appetite, Wired and others.

Another feature called photo mosaics attempts to recreate the slide show experience, arranging images in a grid format. “We think there’s never been a more beautiful magazine reading experience,” Prescott added.

Apple is making News available in the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia as part of iOS 9, its upcoming mobile operating system update. The app is expected to replace its current Newstand app for magazine and newspaper applications.

TIME South Africa

Sequel to Nelson Mandela’s Autobiography Announced

Nelson Mandela waves in Paris, June 7, 1990.
Michel Clement and Daniel Janin —AFP/Getty Images Nelson Mandela waves in Paris, June 7, 1990.

The book will feature Mandela's writings on his presidency

A sequel of Nelson Mandela’s 1995 autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, will be published next year by Pac Macmillian, which owns the U.K. and Commonwealth rights to the work, off a little-known, unfinished manuscript handwritten by “Mandiba” himself.

The forthcoming title will spotlight the political maelstrom around South Africa’s inaugural black president, who was tasked with creating a post-apartheid multicultural democracy amid a burgeoning HIV/AIDS crisis, the dissolution of his marriage to Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, and the social acrimony exposed by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

After Mandela’s death in December 2013, his widow Graca Machel showed the nearly 230,000-word manuscript to the Nelson Mandela Foundation, which organized a committee to edit the book, led by South African politician and analyst Tony Trew, reports the Guardian.

Approximately a third of the book will be based on Mandela’s writing, while the rest will be written by Trew. The tome is also due to controversially confirm that Mandela favored Cyril Ramaphosa instead of eventual President Thabo Mbeki to succeed him.

Mandela’s first autobiography was co-written by Richard Stengel, former TIME managing editor and Obama’s current Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. Stengel’s work produced a worldwide bestseller that also spawned a 2013 movie adaptation.

The 115-chaptered Long Walk to Freedom outlined Mandela’s transition from prisoner to president, but it paused at 1994, without delving into Mandela’s presidency.

MORE: Read TIME’s obituary of Nelson Mandela

[The Guardian]

TIME Books

Adult Books Sales Are Down and Young Adult Soars in 2014

The Fault In Our Stars
Dutton Books

Book sales are booming, according to statistics released this week by the Association of American Publishers, which showed that in the first three-quarters of 2014, overall book sales increased by 4.9%.

But the real page-turners that flew off the shelves were for children and young adults–those categories increased by a whopping 22.4% from Jan.-Sept. 2013 to the same period in 2014, Media Bistro reports. To put things into perspective, adult fiction and non-fiction sales were down 3.3%.

But this doesn’t necessarily mean that adults stopped reading. They might just be expanding their palates to healthy servings of John Green and other YA heavy-hitters.

Adults reading YA wouldn’t be a new phenomenon. According to a 2012 survey by Bowker Market Research found that 55% of young adult novels are bought by adults — 28% of which are made up of the 33 to 44 demographic. That statistic drew some criticism aimed at YA-loving adults this summer–balanced by an overwhelming wave of pieces defending adults who love the genre.

While the AAP didn’t track who bought what books, it did note that children and young adult ebooks increased a total of 52.7% in the first nine months this year. And a December study by Nielsen found that even though teenagers are tech savvy, only 20% of them buy ebooks and express a strong preference for print.

Although no need to hide The Fault of Our Stars in that Kindle — it’s no 50 Shades of Grey, after all.

TIME deals

Amazon Buries the Hachette, Signs New Pact With Book Publisher

An employee places packed goods on a conveyor belt for shipment at Amazon's Brieselang logistics center west of Berlin on Nov. 11, 2014.
John MacDougall—AFP/Getty Images An employee places packed goods on a conveyor belt for shipment at Amazon's Brieselang logistics center west of Berlin on Nov. 11, 2014.

The online retailer and book publisher have ended months of contentious negotiations with a new multiyear agreement

Amazon and Hachette Book Group have put hostilities aside, ending their long-running and very public contract dispute over e-book pricing by signing a new multiyear agreement.

The online retail giant and the book publisher, which have been at odds since May, announced Thursday that they have finally reached a compromise after months of contentious negotiations, the New York Times reported. The dispute saw Amazon delay shipments of Hachette titles and remove discounts previously offered on the publisher’s products. The companies did not release terms of the new deal, the newspaper said. The pact covers sales of e-books and print products.

The reported deal, which goes into effect early next year, will allow Hachette to set prices for its e-books. David Naggar, vice president for Amazon’s Kindle division, said in a statement that the agreement “includes specific financial incentives for Hachette to deliver lower prices.”

“This is great news for writers,” Hachette CEO Michael Pietsch said in a statement. “The new agreement will benefit Hachette authors for years to come. It gives Hachette enormous marketing capability with one of our most important bookselling partners.”

Amazon earned itself something of a public relations black eye as a result of the strong-arm negotiating tactics, causing a backlash among authors, many of whom backed a boycott of the online retailer that was led by television host Stephen Colbert. Amazon was looking for a larger share of e-book revenues, but was met with resistance from Hachette.

Authors under contract with Hachette publicly complained about a drop in their book sales, causing them to worry about a loss of royalties. In July, Amazon tried to make peace with Hachette authors by offering them 100% of digital book sales for as long as talks with Hachette dragged out — a proposal that Hachette had already turned down in negotiations.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com

TIME Companies

Amazon’s Dispute With Hachette Might Finally Be Hurting Its Sales

The book industry nurtured Amazon's growth. Now the online retailer's war against publishers is a thorn in its side

The book business launched Amazon to success, and now it’s hurting the online retailer’s growth.

Amazon announced its worst quarterly loss in 14 years Thursday, losing $437 million in three months. One of its worst-performing segments? Amazon’s old core business: North American book, movie and music sales. The segment’s sales increased a mere 4.8% from 2013, the slowest growth for the category in more than five years. That compares with a 17.8% growth in that segment a year ago.

Amazon chalked up the slow media segment growth to fewer students buying textbooks, but that doesn’t seem to be the whole story. In fact, the company’s woes may in part be related to its damaging publicity spat with the publisher Hachette.

Here’s a quick recap of what happened: earlier this year, Amazon demanded Hachette give up a larger cut of its book sales; Hachette demurred. Amazon then increased shipping times on Hachette books, raised Hachette book prices, and redirected customers to other publishers on its website. Hachette, determined to hold its ground, rallied authors to its side. In August, 900 authors, including Stephen King, Malcolm Gladwell, Barbara Kingsolver, Jane Smiley, John Grisham and James Patterson, signed a letter to Amazon defending Hachette, accusing Amazon of “selective retaliation” against writers.

There isn’t much visibility into what’s going behind closed doors and in sealed accounting documents at Amazon, but by targeting Hachette, Amazon is making it harder to buy the retailer’s own books. A customer deterred by an artificially long shipping time on a Hachette book is a sale lost. For a huge company like Amazon, that may be little more than a self-inflicted scratch, but it’s likely making difference.

And more importantly for the online retailer over the long term, the dispute may be hurting Amazon’s image and turning customers away. For book readers who love particular authors, it’s hard to forget when a bookstore is accused of having “directly targeted” a favorite writer. A literary-inclined crowd, already more likely to side with the letters people than the money people, may see the Hachette dispute as a turning point. “It’s logical that readers identify more with authors than with Amazon,” says Colin Gillis of BGC Financial. “Amazon is a service. You may like the service but you build a relationship with authors.” If book lovers ultimately decide that Amazon is bad for authors, Amazon could lose its hold on the very business that nurtured its growth.

 

 

TIME Media

Gannett To Split Print and Broadcast/Digital Divisions

Gannett announced that it will separate its broadcasting and publishing businesses into two separate companies

Gannett, owner of USA Today and 81 local newspapers, announced Tuesday it will split its broadcasting/digital business and its publishing division into two distinct, publicly-traded companies.

The company is separating the two areas to protect its more profitable digital and broadcasting component from its less profitable publishing line.

Gannett CEO Gracia Martore said in a statement that “the bold actions we are announcing today are significant next steps in our ongoing initiatives to increase shareholder value by building scale, increasing cash flow, sharpening management focus and strengthening all of our businesses to compete effectively in today’s increasingly digital landscape.”

 

TIME Books

Are You There God? It’s Judy Blume’s New Novel for Adults

Author and producer Judy Blume attends "Tiger Eyes" New York Premiere at AMC Empire on June 7, 2013 in New York City.
Robin Marchant—Getty Images Author and producer Judy Blume attends "Tiger Eyes" New York Premiere at AMC Empire on June 7, 2013 in New York City.

It's never too early to start a 2015 summer reading list

Don’t worry, Margaret, God has been listening to your prayers. Iconic children’s book author Judy Blume will be treating her grown up fans to a new novel slated to be released in the summer of 2015 by Knopf.

The untitled publication will be Blume’s first adult novel since 1998. She will be reuniting with Carole Baron, who edited Summer Sisters.

“Carole and Judy have a long history together, and have been discussing this project for the last four years,” Knopf VP Director of Publicity Nicholas Latimer said. “When our head of house announced this acquisition at our editorial meeting last Thursday, everyone in the room broke out into applause. All as a way of saying, many Judy fans here!”

The editorial staff isn’t alone. Blume wrote childhood classics including Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Blubber, Deenie, and Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret.

We must, we must, we must get our hands on an advanced reader copy ASAP.

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