November 13 – November 20, 2008 Edition

Doubleday Fights
Sagging Revenues
With Staff Cuts

NEW YORK, NY (Authorlink News, November 13, 2008)—Random House’s Doubleday Publishing Group confirmed an initial Publishers Marketplace report last week that the publisher had laid off 16 people at the end of October, about ten percent of its staff.

The publishing group, owned by Bertelsmann AG, is the world’s largest non-factual publisher. The job cuts come in editorial, publicity, advertising, marketing and administrative staffs, according to the New York Times. Here is a partial list of those who received pink slips.

Tina Pohlman, who began in January as a senior editor at the two-year-old imprint Spiegel & Grau, was laid off along with Spiegal & Grau’s director of publicity, Gretchen Koss. In addition, Janet Silver, an editor-at-large at Nan Talese’s imprint since May, was also laid off, as was Jennifer Josephy, an editor at Broadway. Other names will be reported as they are released.

At Spiegel & Grau, Julie Grau & Celina Spiegel have had a reputation for paying top dollar for books they call “distinctive.” In January 2008, for example, Ms. Grau put down more than a million dollars for two books by Mary Johnson, an acolyte of Mother Teresa’s who left the church after 20 years and renounced her faith. And before that, Ms. Spiegel paid a reported $5.2 million for two works of fiction by Water for Elephants author Sara Gruen.

The cuts come on the announcement of a painful downturn in third-quarter business. Doubleday paid $1.25 million for Andrew Davidson’s The Gargoyle, and Jon Krakauer cancelled his biography of Pat Tillman after promotion had already begun. Some said the delay of Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown’s next book hurt performance, however, Doubleday publisher Steve Rubin said the Brown book was not an issue. He said the cuts “were necessary” and added that they were not ordered by the company’s new Random House C.E.O., Markus Dohle.