More layoffs in publishing: This time at Macmillan - East Valley Tribune: Get Out

More layoffs in publishing: This time at Macmillan

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Posted: Monday, December 15, 2008 10:32 pm | Updated: 10:53 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

NEW YORK - Another book publisher is cutting jobs: Macmillan, where authors include Thomas Friedman, Rick Atkinson and Janet Evanovich, is eliminating 64 positions, just under 4 percent of its work force.

"Going forward we are tightening our belts in response to the current recession, but we are also reorganizing and rethinking our business to position ourselves for the long term," Macmillan CEO John Sargent wrote in a company memo, a copy of which was obtained Monday by The Associated Press.

Simon & Schuster, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Thomas Nelson also have announced layoffs in recent weeks. Staff reductions are likely at Random House Inc., which is undergoing a significant consolidation. Other publishers, including Macmillan, have frozen wages or deferred raises.

Sargent said Monday that it was "necessary to adjust our company and become more efficient in the face of the market we are dealing with." He added that there would be no cuts in the budget for acquiring books.

"That's 100 percent unchanged," he said in an interview.

In a move Sargent said he had been looking into for months, Macmillan will combine its seven children's companies into a single division, the Macmillan Children's Publishing Group, effective Jan. 1. Macmillan also plans reductions through a "centralized business and production group for its adult and children's publishing companies," according to the memo.

Other changes include the increased use of digital technology and reducing Macmillan's presence at BookExpo America, the industry's annual national convention. In the Internet age, other publishers have questioned BookExpo's role; the show's manager, Lance Fensterman, has said he is looking at ways to make the show more affordable and more productive.

"I think it makes more sense to funnel our marketing dollars elsewhere," Sargent said, referring to the book convention.

Macmillan's publishers include St. Martin's Press, Henry Holt & Co. and Farrar, Straus & Giroux. Macmillan is owned by Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck, based in Stuttgart, Germany.

"We will remain a loose federation of publishers producing and selling a remarkable collection of books by exceptional authors," Sargent wrote in the memo.

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