What does this mean for the three-martini lunch?

Writing for The New York Times, Motoko Rich looks at “the new austerity in publishing”:

“Venerable houses including HarperCollins, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Penguin Group, Random House and Simon & Schuster have all announced salary freezes or layoffs, or both. Simon & Schuster canceled its annual holiday party, held for the last few years at Tavern on the Green and scheduled in 2008 for Guastavino’s, a splashy banquet hall in Manhattan. One division of Random House had pizza, beer and wine in a room off the cafeteria for its holiday lunch instead of going out for pricey cocktails. Across the city, editors with Four Seasons taste are being asked to scale back on their lunch tabs.”

It’s not all parties and perks, though, as Rich looks at some of the costlier aspects of book publishing, such as returns and creator advances. No mention of the graphic novel sector of the publishing industry, but lots of houses with significant graphic novel imprints or distribution deals go under Rich’s scrutiny.

Update: Tina Anderson points to an analysis of book publishing’s “blockbuster strategy” from Anita Elberse at The Wall Street Journal:

“Yes, that’s right — amid the worst economic crisis to hit the United States in decades, publishing executives are still making what many see as outrageous gambles on new manuscripts.”

One Response to What does this mean for the three-martini lunch?

  1. gynocrat says:

    I found this very depressing:


    Last month alone, Random House announced a massive restructuring; Simon & Schuster laid off 35 staffers; the adult division of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt stopped acquiring manuscripts for the rest of the year; and HarperCollins sent comedian Sarah Silverman a contract worth $2.5 million to write her first book.

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