Wednesday, February 11, 2009

And the round-up of HarperCollins Meltdown

The great blog of publisher Melville House, Moby Lives, has the follow-up on HarperCollins' layoffs. It pulls various articles from NY media, including:

- Boris Kachka's obituary in New York Magazine for Collins

- Motoko Rich's article in the Times putting these layoffs into context with all the other layoffs happening in publishing. Rich names some names:
HarperCollins declined to say how many others had been laid off, but people familiar with the changes said at least five editors at Collins had been let go, including Gillian Blake and Caroline Sutton, well-respected executive editors who had been with the company for less than a year. Several sales, marketing and publicity staff members were also let go from Collins and other divisions.

She also mentions this comment, which makes the news a bit sadder for many: "Literary agents were surprised to hear of [Lisa] Gallagher’s departure, as she was described as very pro-author."

- Leon Neyfakh's article for the Observer articulates the boom 'n' bust mentality at work here, which led to Collins' fantastic growth and now, what many see as untimely death. And once again, we have the mystery of the management's choices pointed out:
One person for whom Tuesday’s news might have been somewhat bittersweet is Jonathan Burnham, whose record as publisher of HarperCollins’ flagship imprint has been marked by a number of expensive acquisitions that did not meet expectations. Several publishing executives who spoke on background yesterday wondered aloud why Mr. Burnham—who declined to comment—was staying on at the company while certain others, like William Morrow publisher Lisa Gallagher, had been asked to leave.

And I'm guessing we won't get answers.

I don't meant to get all 2nd wave feminist here - or hell, maybe I do - but this restructuring seems to be disporportionately impacting women. I'm also thinking of Jordan Brown keeping his imprint, Walden Pond Press, despite only joining HarperCollins in 2008, even while Brenda Bowen leaves and watches The Bowen Press close before even launching officially. Maybe women in the workplace won't end up on top after this recession like some suggested...

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