Yesterday, executives from Random House and Penguin announced their plans to combine the two companies. The combination, which will be called Penguin Random House, will, the two companies hope, "be better able to deal with the digital transformation of the book industry." The Wall Street Journal also points out that the decision comes at a time when Penguin is still fighting the U.S. Department of Justice's antitrust suit, which alleged price-fixing on e-books.

Well, the worst of Hurricane Sandy has passed, and New York is now assessing the damage. So how are things looking on the indie bookstore front? According to the Twittersphere, it's a mixed bag: In Brooklyn, the Community Bookstore, Word, BookCourt and Greenlight Books are okay and open for business, while sadly, PowerHouse Books in the low-lying Brooklyn neighborhood of DUMBO has been flooded and "devastated," according to blogger Edward Champion. In Manhattan, St. Mark's in the East Village has lost power but does't appear to be damaged, Mercer Street Books is open, and Housing Works in SoHo is closed for the day. (They're not yet sure if the store sustained any damage). Melville House is also closed—they also don't know if the store is okay—and so is McNally Jackson. If you live in the New York City area, keep us posted on the bookstores in your neighborhood by tweeting @bookforum and stay dry!

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