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Bantam Doubleday Dell Finds Room to Grow

October 07, 1994|PAUL D. COLFORD | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES; He is a columnist for Newsday

Dramatic expansion has been announced by one of the book industry's largest corporations. A fourth general-interest publishing division is being built from scratch within the Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group Inc.

The as-yet-unnamed operation will be led by William Shinker, who most recently worked in Rupert Murdoch's book line as HarperCollins' head of adult trade publishing.

Shinker's new venture will concentrate on nonfiction, to be published in hardcover and trade-paperback editions beginning in 1997.

* Let's Pick on Oprah: As Oprah Winfrey's fans await the autobiography she postponed indefinitely last year, an unauthorized bio of the TV talk-show host and a cookbook she endorsed (Rosie Daley's "In the Kitchen With Rosie") have both enjoyed strong sales.

Now comes word that Tom Shales, the Pulitzer Prize-winning TV critic of the Washington Post, will weigh in with a book about the diva of daytime.

Shales will explore "the meaning of Oprah and what it tells us about ourselves," according to senior editor Claire Wachtel, who is handling the book at William Morrow & Co. Publication is set for next fall.

* All About Oswald: Norman Mailer's next book has the working title of "Oswald in Minsk," although Random House Publisher Harold M. Evans says he wanted to call the book "Oswald's Ghost."

Either way, it promises to expand mightily on what we know of Lee Harvey Oswald, the presumed assassin of President John F. Kennedy.

Mailer's "portrait of deviation" (Evans' words) draws on the author's fruitful visit to Minsk, where the local office of the KGB obligingly laid out the files on Oswald that it amassed when the American defector was living in the city with his Russian wife, Marina. The trove included tapes of bugged conversations between the couple and helped swell Mailer's book by a third, to an expected 800 pages.

Publication is scheduled for June.

* Bigger and Better: The National Times, a magazine that gathers previously published news and commentary, has re-emerged in bookstores and on newsstands in a standard-size, more cleanly designed format.

The staff, led by editor and publisher David Krebs, a former manager of Aerosmith and other rock 'n' roll acts who now heads Krebs Media Corp. in New York, has cast a wide net for the pieces appearing in the re-launch. The topics range from foreign affairs to the arts to technology.

Now a bimonthly, the magazine, aimed at readers on the go, is scheduled to become a monthly in February. . . .

Apple Computer, Eastman Kodak, Time-Warner--and the rest of the top 16 publicly traded companies that offer health-insurance benefits to the domestic partners of gay and lesbian employees--are listed in the October issue of Victory! Billing itself as the "national gay & lesbian entrepreneur magazine," the fledgling, business-oriented Victory! is published monthly by Intercultural Science Group in Sacramento. . . .

Alan Light, who had been acting editor in chief of Vibe magazine, is now officially editor in chief. The hip-hop music and lifestyle magazine published by Time Inc. Ventures plans to increase the circulation it will guarantee to advertisers--the so-called rate base--to 250,000 next week.

* Paul D. Colford's column is published Fridays.

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