Links of Interest (At Least to Me) 08/04/2009

Eoin Purcell

Some catch-up!

Nice post from Adam Hodgkins about books, generations and nostalgia

The Bookseller lets us know that the engine of new book sales that is Richard & Judy, may be faltering!

Barry O’Callagahan is taking over as CEO at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

And last but not least, some recent survey work by Book Marketing Limited indicates that people value pricing and discounting above pretty much everything else. Given the climate, not a huge surprise!

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,

Riverdeep buys Harcourt from Reed

Eoin Purcell

Talk about Doubling Down
This really is a remarkable move by Riverdeep & Houghton Mifflin (now one and the same since Riverdeep acquired Houghton Mifflin late last year): Publishers Weekly, Reuters/Yahoo News, Bloomberg and a bit of blog reaction from Martyn Daniels.

From the HoughtonMifflin’s own press release:

The combination of Houghton Mifflin’s and Harcourt’s elementary, secondary and supplemental businesses creates a provider that will offer customers more choices in educational publishing. The new entity will be well-positioned to make the investments required to deliver to teachers and administrators a more comprehensive and flexible set of K–12 learning solutions than is available today. The addition of Harcourt Trade to Houghton Mifflin’s rich library of literature and reference titles will create a preeminent publisher with one of the industry’s most distinguished lists of authors.

Despite the noise they are making about the trade list, I cannot help but feel that the real goal is to lock in as much educational content as Riverdeep can and to begin the process of moving education online as we have mentioned here before. It is really an exciting time in educational publishing. I think we may be seeing the growth of an online education giant.

Seeing the shape emerging or is that just the fog?