The inside scoop on the book world

THE RISE OF THE HOUSE OF PICADOR Picador USA, the three-year-old literary imprint of St. Martin’s Press, is no longer the little sister: Owner Holtzbrinck Publishing Holdings has decided the quality division is now grown-up enough to be given its independence. Effective immediately, Picador will be a house of its own, and it will also serve as the new paperback publisher for Farrar, Straus & Giroux, the prestige house under the Holtzbrinck umbrella that has never had much luck with paperbacks. ”We could have poured a lot of resources into our own paperback imprints, [but] this seems more efficient,” says Jonathan Galassi, FSG’s editor in chief. With big names from FSG — publisher of Tom Wolfe, Scott Turow, and Jamaica Kincaid — the Picador paperback division could become a powerhouse to rival Vintage or Penguin.

JUST DESSERTS It’s a Good Thing indeed that Martha Stewart retrieved all but a tiny slice of her eponymous multimedia company from Time Warner last year. The latest twitting of the hostess with the mostest is a roman a clef that Time Warner-owned Little, Brown is publishing in January (Time Warner also owns EW). Catalog copy for American Icon — penned by glitz specialist Pat Booth, who used to share a publisher, Crown, with Stewart — promises ”a delicious new novel about a model turned caterer turned business mogul who creates a public image of homespun perfection only to see her own home life deteriorate before her eyes.” As if that weren’t cheeky enough, the book’s jacket (see photo) blatantly parodies the design of Stewart’s glossy magazine, Martha Stewart Living. Booth’s editor, Sarah Burnes, assures us the project has been vetted by lawyers. As for the unfortunate soupcon of synergy: ”It’s just a coincidence,” she says.

Alexandra Jacobs and Matthew Flamm