Briefly, for some of today's news--and this is today's news only:
Random House parcels out Doubleday and Bantam Dell groups (complete with personnel changes, including, most likely, the resignation of their top executives) (also here)
Thomas Nelson lays of 10% of its team--here, Michael Hyatt cites the terrible results of the Sept/Oct cash flow, which you'll recall we talked a lot about here
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt lets the other shoe drop from their acquisitions freeze of last week--some layoffs already and talk of many, many more to come
Simon & Schuster eliminates at least 35 positions (Children's president Rick Richter has resigned) (via Publishers Lunch--unfortunately I don't have a public link I can attach, but I'm sure GalleyCat will cover this shortly)
So I don't have much to say, except that a lot of things are going to change this year, and I suspect it will be the kind of change in publishing that hasn't occured in our lifetimes. There was much talk of the freeze on Houghton Mifflin Harcourt acquisitions last week, mainly (as I was following it) about how it would affect authors and a new writer's chance of selling a book right now. But on our end, sitting nervously on our thumbs inside our publishing houses, the freeze was even scarier. Without acquisitions and new products, there is no future billing. We saw a company that was basically declaring they were in such a desperate place that they needed to give up the potential of any incoming billing in the next little while--a very, very frightening business decision, more frightening to us because the company seemed forced to make it public.
But specifically, I am worried about my friends across the industry, and about what we'll be when we get out of this. I have already watched several good friends be summarily told their services were no longer required or that their positions were being discontinued. I can't believe I'm the only person at a house right now whose heart starts pounding crazily everytime I get a new Publishers Lunch update in my mailbox or Mediabistro post in my Google feed.
I know we have spent a lot of time on this blog talking about some of the flaws in the institution of publishing, and I am hoping desperately that these sorry changeovers--which will, of course, hit some people who deserve to have much better--will not make the current structural problems even worse.
I could go on and on, but I don't think there's much of a point. Others have said it all much better. Please do, though, consult those better news sources if you are interested in more information. Maud Newton, for example, is a fine source of news and smart opinion; you can read her essay on what it all means here. Also, please read GalleyCat, a faithful source of first news about everything, if you're interested in the blow-by-blow.