January 15 – January 22, 2008 Edition

HMH Struggles
Under Heavy
Debt Load

NEW YORK, NY (Authorlink News, January 13, 2009)–Education Media & Publishing Group, the Irish owner of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, which accounts for about 30% of the U.S. textbook market, is struggling with $7 billion in debt and falling textbook sales, according to the> Wall Street Journal and an item on the Shelf Awareness website.

As a result of its heavy debt, Education Media “has been firing staff, outsourcing functions, buying fewer new books, and phasing out some textbooks for the past year.” In some cases, the company is eliminating

textbooks that duplicate material. Education Media also remains “open” to selling its well-regarded trade publishing operation.

Education Media president Jeremy Dickens told the Journal that the cuts are making the company stronger. “The cost-savings opportunity is significantly greater than any revenue loss we might expect,” he said.

Other text publishers are having difficulties, too, the paper noted. McGraw-Hill school division revenue fell 9.1% in the third quarter, and CEO Harold McGraw III estimated that the market for texts and other educational materials fell 3%-4% last year. Scholastic cut its 2009 profit forecast 30%.