Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Layoffs at HarperCollins explained -- horribly.

Yesterday, I heard rumors of layoffs at HarperCollins. Now I've read the explanation in Publishers' Weekly, and it's ugly. According to PW's article, "Harper Closing Collins; Other Layoffs Planned," Harper is closing its Collins division. Collins' general nonfiction, business, and reference titles will be published under the Harper imprint, which is fine...but, with the expansion of Harper's list, it's obvious that the books published under the Collins imprint (or even the Harper imprint, for that matter) won't get the attention they would have received and that they should have received. Book promotion, marketing, and sales may well fall by the wayside for individual titles -- through no fault of the authors or the publisher.

To me, that's an indication the economy is really hitting the skids: when authors' book projects are compromised and it's nobody's fault. Even this book publicist, who would love to blame a "bad guy" for the situation in which HarperCollins' authors find themselves now, can't. Stuff happens. And, in this economic climate, we'll be undoubtedly seeing a whole lot more stuff.

My thoughts and prayers are with those who are affected by the changes at HarperCollins -- staff members and authors alike. It's the end of an era for all of publicists, book lovers, authors, and publishing industry professionals alike.