Bad trips for everyone (Waily waily?)

Discussion in 'Publishing' started by David Gullen, Dec 4, 2008.

  1.  
    David Gullen

    David Gullen New Member

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    It's all happening the other side of the pond:

    35 redundancies at Simon & Schuster

    S&S Cuts 35 Jobs* - 12/3/2008 10:57:00 AM - Publishers Weekly

    Random House reorganise:

    Massive Reorganization at Random House: Steve Rubin, Irwyn Applebaum Step Down; Doubleday and Bantam Divisions Dismantled | The New York Observer

    And Houghton Mifflin goes into meltdown with an astonishing amount of debt. Other reports say 'a lot' of people have been sacked.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/03/business/media/03book.html?ref=arts

    Makes you wonder what is about to happen in the UK? Hopefully this won't affect new books, though H-M have apparently stopped taking on new acquisitions.

    Any thoughts, John?
  2.  
    ctg

    ctg weaver of the unseen

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    From NYT,
    That's a lot of debt. I read an article this morning saying that we are in a depression at the moment and by looks of it, it's going to be even bigger then the 1930's one.
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    Ursa major

    Ursa major Bearly Believable Staff Member

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    Perhaps this excerpt from a Wiki article (Houghton Mifflin - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) might explain most of that debt (on the assumption that the company borrowed heavily to find the money to buy those ex-Reed Elsevier divisions and that those divisions already had debt of their own):


  4.  
    Boneman

    Boneman Active Member

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    By golly, then it's up to us to cheer up the world with such amazing writing that they forget all their troubles, and curl up with a good book..... Now, where have all the Publishers gone (long time pa...assing....):)
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    John Jarrold

    John Jarrold New Member

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    Every recession has its problems for publishing - we aren't bullet-proof. But UK publishing is considerably leaner than it was in the late 80s. I suspect there will be redundancies, but I've seen it before in London, at HarperCollins, Random House, Simon & Schuster and elsewhere. It happens...and it'll happen again. It terms of the UK, the S&S situation is more relevant than Houghton Mifflin, where friends in New York publishing advise me that the parent company seem to have given up on trade publishing.
  6.  
    ctg

    ctg weaver of the unseen

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    Here's a editorial on what happened.

    Salon.com Books | Read it and weep
  7.  
    wildwolfpublishing

    wildwolfpublishing Dark & brutal

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    Unfortunately we're in a global recession, so most industries are being affected one way or another, so the publishing industry is no exception. Companies have to tighten their belts and trim the fat, but as John mentioned here in the UK the publishing industry is somewhat leaner already, so is 'slightly' better equipped to deal with the troubling times ahead.

    We're only playing out the usual cycle though, so all will be rosy again in a couple of years and then we'll just be waiting for the next downturn to come along again. Round and round we go!

    I picked a helluva time to go it alone and set up my own small independent publishing house! But what's life without a few challenges! Being a small operation, I don't have any fat to cut and have low overheads, so with the right choices for my 2009 list I should be able to push through.
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    Ursa major

    Ursa major Bearly Believable Staff Member

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    I doubt whether publishing will be the last industry to be laid low by "investors" buying into them and loading them with debt. (There was a time when investment meant injecting cash into a business, not extracting it in return for debt.)

    Not being a publishing person, I find publishing to be an odd industry, part manufacturing and part supply-chain. The publishers' end customers (readers) buy on the basis of the (assumed) author, a good review or a recommendation, not the name of the publisher**. Goodness knows how the immediate customers (the book chains and, now, the supermarkets) choose which books to stock, but I doubt it rests on the name of the publisher (or even - these days - the reputation of a particular editor).


    (Oh, and best wishes for the future, wildwolfpublishing.)



    ** - I know that some people do respect an imprint, but I'm guessing that these better-informed readers do not make up the bulk of the book-buying public.
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    wildwolfpublishing

    wildwolfpublishing Dark & brutal

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    Thanks for that, Ursa and I agree with you.
  10.  
    chrispenycate

    chrispenycate resident pedantissimo Staff Member

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    The publishing industry had the example of the music industry to sound the warning, and, as far as I can see, made all the same mistakes.

    I have confidence that someone – probably the smaller, more nimble operators – will survive to fill the essential functions, even if downsizing is the word of the year.

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