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The inside scoop on the book world

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A Simple plan
Sarah Ban Breathnach, whose New Age day book Simple Abundance became an Oprah favorite and No. 1 best-seller, has left Warner Books for Scribner, striking a joint-venture, profit-sharing, rumored seven-figure deal for three new books as well as for her Simple Abundance publishing imprint. Warner had announced the launch of the Simple Abundance Press a year ago, but when publisher and author couldn’t agree on her own next book contract, ”we put a hold on the imprint,” says Ban Breathnach’s agent, Christine Tomasino, and she began shopping for a new home. ”She was looking for a lot of money,” says one industry source on the collapse of the Warner deal. But both Ban Breathnach and her editor at Warner assert that money was not the main issue. ”It was a vision thing,” says senior editor Caryn Karmatz Rudy. The new Scribner imprint will bring out the author’s own books, plus four books a year by writers mining the Simple Abundance vein, beginning with Simple Abundance: A Man’s Journey, scheduled for fall 2000. Ban Breathnach’s first Scribner title, Charmed Life, will appear in 2001.

The Fresh men
They don’t really have a gold record called ”You’ve Gotta Be Fresh,” but Fresh Step — a parody Backstreet Boys-type band cooked up by David Letterman’s head writers — has appeared on MTV and the Late Show. Now the group (not to be confused with the brand of cat litter) is one step closer to Spinal Tap fame: Spurred by thousands of e-mails from teens ”who needed help finding the album,” literary agent Dan Greenberg is shopping Fresh Step: You’ve Gotta Be Fresh! Your Freaky Jammin’ Fresh Step Handbook, a scrapbook of ”backstage” photographs and mock interviews that would spoof teenybopper bands and the books about them.

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