- Random House, fed up with the performance of its Doubleday and Bantam Dell divisions, tore them apart and redistributed the pieces among the Knopf, Crown, and Random House publishing groups. Top executives Irwyn Applebaum and Steve Rubin were immediately displaced; the first wave of additional job cuts came a few weeks later.
- Houghton Mifflin Harcourt went into what outside observers quickly decided was a freefall: One day after the resignation of publisher Rebecca Saletan, executive editor Ann Patty broke the news of her own firing, after which we were hit with insider accounts of layoffs throughout the company.
- Other publishing companies that laid off employees in December: Thomas Nelson, Simon & Schuster, and Macmillan. (Macmillan had also implemented a salary freeze for employees making more than $50K a year, as did the Penguin Group.)
- In the midst of all this upheaveal, somebody’s always ready to complain, but we want no part of that death culture. One day soon, it’ll all settle down, even if everything seems to be up in the air at this time.
Oh! We almost forgot: Over the holidays, another memoirist turned out to be a big phony: Berkley cancelled the publication of Herman Rosenblat‘s Angel at the Fence when the author admitted that he did not actually meet his wife from opposite sides of the barbed wire fence at Buchenwald twelve years before their first date. As HarperStudio chief Bob Miller pointed out, everybody rushed to blame Oprah for Rosenblat’s ability to perpetuate his fraud as far as he did.