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Kirkus Reviews has a new owner

Herb SimonKirkus

HerbsimonHerb Simon, owner of the Indiana Pacers, developer of shopping malls  and savior of an independent bookstore in Montecito has bought Kirkus Reviews. The publication, which has long been known for its critical pre-publication book reviews, was slated for closure by Neilsen, which is trying to get out of the magazine business.

Simon has named Marc Winkelman CEO of the company, which will be renamed Kirkus Media. Winkelman, who shares ownership with Simon of Tecolote Book Shop and owns a chain of retail stores, talked to the New York Times:

Mr. Winkelman said that Mr. Simon was “an inveterate and unquenchable and voracious reader” who was a longtime subscriber to Kirkus, which was founded in 1933. “The idea that Kirkus was leaving was a real shame for him,” Mr. Winkelman said.

In May 2007, the 80-year-old Tecolote Book Shop was up for sale; a longtime manager appealed to Simon for help, and he came through as an investor. Simon, chairman emeritus of Simon Property Group, the largest publicly traded real estate investment firm in the country, is  No. 317 on Forbes' list of the richest Americans. He's probably bought new glasses since posing for the photo above, which was in the 1996-97 Indiana Pacers media guide. Now 74, he told the N.Y, Times in a statement:

With the growth of e-books and e-reading devices, no one can really see the future of publishing. But turmoil like this creates opportunities. At a time when even the definition of a book is changing, my love of books makes me want to be part of the solution for the book publishing industry.

Which sounds right on: smart and forward-thinking. But while they're finding solutions for the publishing industry in electronic books, Simon and Winkelman might consider building a website for Tecolote Book Shop.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Herb Simon. Credit: Indiana Pacers media guide

 
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