Books: Cover Stories

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TED HUGHES will be remembered in a memorial event staged by poets now taking part in the Poetry International season. The tribute will take place in the Purcell Room, London SE1, at 2pm on Sunday 1 November. Details: 0171-960 4242.

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AS PREDICTED in this column, the world-famous Simpsons of Piccadilly is to become a bookshop. Waterstone's will take possession next March and may be ready to open six months later. But, at 54,000 sq ft, Waterstone's flagship store will be only the world's third largest bookshop. Topping the league are two branches of Barnes & Noble, one in New York, and another in New Jersey. Many thought Simpsons would herald B&N's much talked-of entry into the UK market, but insiders say they are financially not yet able to make the move. Many believe that Tim Waterstone, who bought his group back from WH Smith last year and rolled it into HMV Media Group, will ultimately sell out to B&N. Meanwhile, in Glasgow this weekend, US rival Borders opens its second UK store.

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AFTER ALMOST two decades at the helm, Louis Baum, the dapper editor of The Bookseller, the venerable "organ" of the book trade, is stepping down to make way for Nicholas Clee, who has been with the magazine for 14 years. As well as a journalist, Clee is a former Booker judge and literary critic: his credentials make him the first books person for many years to edit The Bookseller.

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BLOOMSBURY, WHICH recently announced a new co-publishing deal with Microsoft, has raised pounds 6.1m through a rights issue. Much of the capital will reduce borrowings but the balance will fund expansion - not least in the US, where the firm is launching its first list. That's always a high-risk strategy for any publisher, for it reduces income from rights sales and will leave Bloomsbury more reliant on the slow cashflow that results from bookshop sales.

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TUESDAY IS the closing date for offers for Cassell, as it defends itself against what chairman Philip Sturrock calls Macmillan's "derisory" bid. Sources suggest that Orion, flush with cash from Hachette, the French group which bought it in August, have put a bid on the table. Anthony Cheetham, who launched Orion after he was ousted from Random House, is nothing if not acquisitive.

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