Thursday, December 4, 2008

Bah Humbug?

The question of the week is how will the upheavals in the New York publishing world impact we readers over the long run?

One good thing that could come of this is a rise in small independent publishers who might publish things that don't appeal mostly to the masses. Of course that also means we're probably going to see more e-publishing, to keep costs down. I like the feel of books so I'm not sure that's an upside.

It won't be a happy holidays in the publishing industry this year though. And not just for employees. I found this to be pretty astounding:

Despite all the attention being given to the tumult at Random House, the real, out-of-control bloodletting seems to be going on at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, where tips to MobyLives have it that among those fired were fiction editor Angelie Singh and one of the most prestigious and acomplished and admired editors in the business: Drenka Willen. She is best-known for being the editor of four Nobel Prize winners: G√ľnter Grass, Jose Saramago, Wislawa Szymborska and Octavio Paz, as well as other well-know authors including Umberto Eco and Amos Oz. Given that HMH has announced it won’t be buying their new books any time soon, and now has fired their truly beloved editor, one has to wonder if those writers will now stay with the house. Or, to put it another way, do the proprietors of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt really know what they’re doing?
Not good.

What we need is some holiday cheer and something to remind us of the grand old days of publishing. What we need is some Charles Dickens.

But not A Christmas Carol. Rohan Maitzen over at The Valve is suggesting a group read of one of Charles Dickens' other Christmas stories: The Chimes which, if you click the link, you will see is available in an electronic version. Discussion to take place sometime around December 19 or 20th over there.