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Like "He's Just Not That Into You" and "The Nanny Diaries," Lauren Weisberger's "The Devil Wears Prada" achieved towering success based, at least in part, on the strength of its title.

GIVING AN ASSIST: Like “He’s Just Not That Into You” and “The Nanny Diaries,” Lauren Weisberger‘s “The Devil Wears Prada” achieved towering success based, at least in part, on the strength of its title. In fact, judging from the reviews, those four words may have been the best-received part of the book.

But catchy as it may be, the title was not Weisberger’s idea, according to a source. Rather, it was the suggestion of her former roommate, Daryl Nierenberg — or so Nierenberg has been telling people. The two were classmates at Cornell University, and, like Weisberger, who was Anna Wintour‘s assistant at Vogue, Nierenberg also had a short-lived, entry-level job at Condé Nast Publications, on the business side of Bon Appétit.

Asked whether she had supplied the title, Nierenberg, who now works in online marketing, said, “I can’t confirm or deny that.” She added, “Lauren wrote the book, and I’m really proud of her.” Weisberger did not respond to queries.

To date, “The Devil Wears Prada” has sold well over one million copies, according to Nielsen BookScan. Weisberger’s second novel, “Everyone Worth Knowing,” has recorded about 150,000 sales, according to the tracking service, which measures roughly 70 percent of total sales volume.

And that gap will probably widen with the film version of “The Devil Wears Prada,” which opens June 30, having received positive to glowing advance notices. It certainly got a warm reception from viewers who attended a special assistants-only screening Tuesday night. “I don’t think anyone will appreciate it as much as that crowd,” said one editor in chief’s helper. “Everyone was laughing; some were even gasping.” “It was like audience participation,” said another. “You could see assistants trembling.”
Jeff Bercovici

SPIN HITS EJECT: Andy Pemberton‘s slow-motion exit from Spin has finally concluded. The music magazine confirmed Thursday what WWD first reported three weeks ago: Pemberton is stepping down after only two issues. Sources said the delay was caused by haggling over how Pemberton’s departure would be explained and what kind of parting compensation he would receive. As for why he’s leaving in the first place, Pemberton, a former editor in chief of Blender, is said to have clashed with the magazine’s new owners, Tom Hartle and Nion McEvoy. “Andy saw the direction going one way and the executive team saw it going the other way,” said a source close to the title. Pemberton’s former number two, Doug Brod, has been named acting editor in chief.

This story first appeared in the June 23, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

POWER TABLE: A bad batch of Cobb salad could have wiped out a good portion of the magazine industry’s top talent Wednesday afternoon as Elle’s Roberta Myers, Teen Vogue’s Amy Astley, Men’s Health’s David Zinczenko, Blender’s Craig Marks, O’s Amy Gross, ESPN The Magazine’s Gary Hoenig and Essence’s Angela Burt-Murray convened at table one in Michael’s restaurant. What was their purpose? To help Glamour editor in chief Cindi Leive shape the agenda for her presidency of the American Society of Magazine Editors. “I’m doing [these lunches] monthly — a sort of listening tour to hear what various editors would like to see ASME doing over the next couple of years,” said Leive, via e-mail. Topics of discussion included possible changes to the National Magazine Awards and how magazines can harness the power of the Internet. Added Leive, “Wine helps!”

CORRECTION: The title of Stephen Perrine‘s book was misstated in Wednesday’s Memo Pad. The correct title is “Desperate Husbands: Secret Fears, Hidden Longing and the Quest for Meaning in the American Male.”

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