Black Wednesday in Publishing

Well, looks like it’s Black Wednesday in the Publishing world. Random House issued a memo this morning, to the shock of many, detailing an immediate restructuring of the house into three major groups. Galley Cat has the details of the changes and we are hearing much panicked chatter from those on the inside about which employees the changes might make redundant (and sadly it looks to be more than a few). The New York Observer is reporting that the head of the newly restructured houses will themselves be in charge of whatever layoffs take place. We hear that employees will be meeting tomorrow under their new leaders.

Meanwhile, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt continues to implode. Word leaked last week that the publishing house would cease to purchase new books until the end of the year. Yesterday came news that HMH publisher Becky Saletan had abruptly resigned (she’d only just taken over the position last January) and this morning Galley Cat broke the news that executive editor Ann Patty had been fired along with “a lot of others.” Galley Cat will be updating as they learn more. Of course it may be worth pointing out that some people are looking to the future of books — GC also has an exclusive about an how the iPhone reader folks have just partnered with Fictionwise, doubling their inventory and bringing a whole bunch of bestsellers to the iPhone.

UPDATE: Simon & Schuster just got hit, also. From the memo sent to staff: “Earlier today we enacted a reduction in staff in which 35 positions across the company were eliminated, from areas including our publishing divisions and international, operations and sales.”

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