MIDSECTION OBSESSION: Abs architect Dave Zinczenko has created an empire rivaling Dr. Atkins’ around his book “The Abs Diet,” including 20 international editions and spin-offs such as “The Abs Diet Six-Minute Meals.” Now, after six years in print, the franchise in May will finally get a female-specific edition, “The Abs Diet for Women,” also published by Rodale Books. One may ask what the editor in chief of Men’s Health (and his books’ editor, Ted Spiker) knows about women’s bodies (apart from the obvious), but Zinczenko outdoes himself in punnery to explain that and how vital the book will be for the opposite sex. “We refurbished more bodies than the guys on ‘Pimp My Ride,'” he wrote in an e-mail. “Now women can cruise the town in low riders, too.”
The book dishes out advice on nutrition and exercise for a toned tummy and overall optimal health. The passage on menopause turned up some particularly unique observations: “Like a good bouillabaisse, all women aren’t made the same way — especially when it comes to how they respond to menopause.” Additionally, Zinczenko writes, “Though you may associate hot flashes with getting a glimpse of Usher’s abs, they’re more common in menopausal women for another reason.” “The Abs Diet for Women” covers a spectrum of women’s anatomical issues. But Zinczenko’s stablemate at Rodale, Women’s Health, had no part in writing the book, though the magazine will excerpt it in its June issue.
Buoyed by the success of the flagship, which has sold nearly 500,000 copies in hardcover and paperback, “The Abs Diet for Women” will have an initial print run of 100,000, which is a significant bump up from the 37,000 initial print run for the original book. Meanwhile, Zinczenko’s book “Men, Love & Sex: The Complete User’s Guide for Women” was released in the U.K. around Valentine’s Day with its original working title, “What Women Don’t Know About Men, Love & Sex Could Fill a Book.” Explained Zinczenko, “It’s a cheekier audience there, and we decided to go with something lighter.” Since its September release, “Men, Love & Sex” has sold 17,000 copies, according to Nielsen BookScan, though the figures do not include sales in Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club and specialty stores. — Stephanie D. Smith
CAN KHAKIS SAVE THE DAY?: While the show tune in the Gap’s latest television campaign, “Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better,” is far from describing the retailer’s current status (last week, the chain’s parent Gap Inc. reported a 35 percent drop in earnings), the song serves as the backdrop for actors Claire Danes and Patrick Wilson, who playfully compete in a dance-off. Danes eventually wins the competition by snatching Wilson’s pants off and putting them on. The commercial is intended to showcase Gap’s new khaki boyfriend trouser for women. A spokeswoman said the ad was shot by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, who were recently awarded a 2007 Spirit Award for best director for “Little Miss Sunshine.” Laird + Partners, the Gap’s creative agency, developed the campaign. The commercial will begin airing Thursday and fits in with new Gap president Marka Hansen‘s refocusing of the chain on a slightly older age group, as well as on knits, clean bottoms, denim and khakis. — Amy Wicks
IN AND OUT: With the completion of Ripplewood Holdings’ acquisition of the Reader’s Digest Association, Mary Berner is in as president and chief executive officer and Eric Schrier is out — in fact, he is now officially an “industrial partner,” which essentially means he’ll become a venture capitalist for Ripplewood. Schrier will be responsible for identifying companies to buy and develop for the private equity firm, ideally in the media and publishing industries, according to a spokesman. Separately, he will be a consultant to Reader’s Digest. Schrier will likely maintain two offices, one in New York and one in Westchester, closer to his home and where Reader’s Digest is based. — A.W.
WOMEN’S DAY: Women’s magazines ruled Adweek Magazines’ Hot List for 2007, out today, with media queen bee Oprah Winfrey earning top honors for O, The Oprah Magazine. Real Simple, More, Teen Vogue, Glamour, Allure and Martha Stewart Living all made the list of top 10 magazines with ad revenue over $50 million. But Mark Ford, Terry McDonell, Jeff Price and Paul Fichtenbaum of Sports Illustrated and SI.com made up for the lack of male representation. The group earned kudos for Executive Team of the Year, the first time the honor has been given to a team overseeing print and online operations. Gourmet editor in chief Ruth Reichl was named Editor of the Year, while Every Day with Rachael Ray was named Startup of the Year. — S.D.S.
SHOPPED AND DROPPED?: For those wondering about the status of The New York Times’ Thursday Styles column “The Critical Shopper,” which has traditionally been the provenance of plastic surgery aficionado Alex Kuczynski, Style editor Trip Gabriel said the fate of the column is still undecided. One thing is for sure: “Alex is all shopped out for the moment.” Kuczynski is still contributing occasionally to the column and to the Thursday and Sunday Styles sections, Gabriel said, but remains a freelancer rather than a staffer. As to whether any of the current writers rotating store visits will be the permanent columnist, Gabriel said, “I haven’t made up my mind.” Kuczynski, who has been promoting her book, “Beauty Junkies,” has written “The Critical Shopper” column three times this year. — Irin Carmon