Houghton Mifflin publisher resigns

Eoin Purcell

In what can only be described as the biggest unsurprise of the year, the acquisition pause @ Houghton Mifflin Harcourt brought about a departure at leadership level, (the AP has the story as does the NYT).

From the AP:

Saletan, ironically, had initially benefited when Houghton purchased Harcourt last year. Formerly publisher of adult trade books at Harcourt, she was promoted to head the combined adult trade divisions, winning out over Houghton publisher Janet Silver.

From the NYT:

Literary agents who knew Ms. Saletan were upset by the news of her departure. “I think that Becky is a woman of extraordinary integrity and had quickly become a terrific publisher,” said David Black, whose clients published by Houghton include the cookbook author Dorie Greenspan, the journalist Earl Swift and the sports columnist Ian O’Connor. “It’s a significant loss because I think that they need strong leadership now.” He added: “They now need to find leadership. They had it, they lost it.”

I’m beginning to think we are watching the prelude to the decline if a huge publishing house. Hopefully I’m wrong but I cannot see this ending well. Strikes me the only happy outcome now is a sale to another trade publisher. Otherwise HMH will limp along damaged by the “Freeze” and this new departure until it fails even more spectacularly.

I really do hope I’m wrong,

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