Pub Rants

Let There Be Light

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STATUS: Working very late to finish up a contract.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? LINUS & LUCY by Vince Guaraldi Trio

Firings at HMH. Layoffs at Simon & Schuster yesterday, layoffs at Scholastic a month or so ago, huge structural changes at Random House announced yesterday, HarperCollins delaying pay raises until next summer, and Macmillan CEO outlining that not everyone might have a job going forward

And yet, Michael Cader at Publishers Marketplace had this to say:

“Meanwhile, despite all the attention for the books HMH isn’t buying, our deal reports continue to show steady activity in the marketplace. (Over 90 deals in the past three days; 700 reports since November 1; 1375 since October 1.”

I like that ray of light!

18 Responses

  1. Anonymous said:

    As an artist, my sales have tanked in the last year. As a writer, 3 contracts in the last two months. That’s more than the previous 4 years combined. Go figure…

  2. Liz said:

    Definitely good to keep an eye on the numbers. I would expect you guys will be facing tougher negotiations on deals over the next few months as publishers try to get more rights for less $$$, put off payments as much as possible, increase reserves, etc. – whether or not it’s legitimately justified by current circumstances.

  3. Marion Gropen said:

    It’s my opinion that this is a classic Panic. In that situation, everyone hears an overly dramatic report of financial bad news and begins to re-trench. (And drama sells news, doesn’t it?) This causes more bad news reports, and more over-reactions. The prophecy, which was originally significantly overblown, now comes true BECAUSE someone trumpeted it.

    In our industry, large publishers are especially vulnerable to changes in banks’ policies on short-term, low-risk lending. We have astonishingly volatile cashflows, and need to manage them well, but that takes a functioning banking system. When the lending officers close the taps, the publishing behemoths feel the pain.

    On the other hand, the smaller presses, who comprise more than a third of all sales, and of whom there are nearly 100,000 active companies in the US alone (and those numbers are growing explosively), are almost completely unaffected.

    Of course, they’re also almost completely invisible to industry reporters and the financial newspapers . . .

    In other words, brace yourselves folks, this is gonna be a bumpy ride, but there could be some very interesting consequences for the development of our industry.

  4. Crystal Jordan said:

    Well, it’s not a fun time to be in the publishing industry…but the economy is rough all over. I think the reality is, publishers still have to buy and publish new books in order to remain in business.

    So, hopefully, everyone takes a deep breath, calms down, and gets back to business to the best of their ability. Writers have to write, publishers have to publish, regardless of how good or bad the economy is.

    Thanks for the good news, Kristin! 🙂

  5. Amy Nathan said:

    Thanks for your honesty and optimism. I’m very tired of the publishing sucks blogs posts and the sorry-for-themselves writers. Write better. Submit. Books get published.

    Go for it.

  6. Anonymous said:

    I have many other feeds I sub to, and I skim through them to see what’s interesting. I usually read the headline, and the first line of the first paragraph.

    The What’s playing on the iPod right now? crap really slowed that down, until I learned to skp that crap. But the STATUS is just too much to bear. BORING! BYE!

  7. AstonWest said:

    Interesting comment, anon@7:03…

    I’m with Mark, though, and wonder if they (like other companies and industries) are using the “woe-is-me” news out there to make cuts they wanted to make anyway, and just have an excuse now.

    My book still seems to be selling well in certain venues, regardless…