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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Dramatic cuts at HarperCollins

The surge of bad news has now washed up to the doors of HarperCollins in New York. The Collins division (which specializes in nonfiction) has been chopped, and staff dispersed or laid off.

Spy Mouse adds that all spring book tours have been cancelled. Children's division is moving to the main building. Editor Brenda Bowen is out, and Bowen Press is closed

"Over the last several months, the unstable economy has had a significant impact on businesses and consumer spending," wrote Harpers CEO Brian Murray in a memo issued February 10. "Our industry is not immune to these amrket forces, and there is increasing pressure on us, along with our retail and wholesale partners, to adjust."

Having stated the obvious, he announced the starting cuts. Among those leaving are Steve Ross, who worked on President Obama's Audacity of Hope at Crown before moving to head Collins in 2007.

Also going is Lisa Gallagher, publisher of the William Morrow division.
This bad news follows a strong decade in which CEO Jane Friedman (forced out last summer) had aggressively recruited Ross and other top talent, including Robert Miller (ex Hyperion) and Jonathan Burnham (from Miramax Books).

Both of these gentlemen remain with Harpers.

So far.

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