Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Whose Random House Still Stands?

Earlier this year when Houston was hit by Hurricane Ike, the day after there was so much debris scattered around it wasn't immediately clear whose house was standing and whose was destroyed. It's a bit like that in publishing today. Now that some of the lights are coming back on after last months Black Wednesday carnage and it's trailing storms, whose house still stands is becoming more apparent.

When Random House tore apart its Bantam Doubleday Dell division, placing Nan Talese's august imprint under the Knopf umbrella with Sonny Mehta, and splitting the rest between Gina Centrello's Random House and Jenny Frost's Crown. The question remained -- who would remain in their jobs?

Well, we all know that Irwyn Applebaum was outsted Steve Rubin is negotiating a new position. Now it is clear at least one esteemed editor, Susan Kamil, has been retained -- and promoted to boot. Kamil has been given the title of editor-in-chief of Random House, on top of her duties running Dial Press (the imprint she relaunched). Kamil, who has edited a wide variety number of blockbusters and award winners -- from the Shopaholic seriesa and Sting's memoirs to Justin Cronin's PEN/Hemingway Award Winner Mary and O'Neil -- is well liked and known for spending freely for books she desires (though that has tapered off somewhat in recent years). Commercial and hip, Kamil might be able to inject "big" Random with a little more adrenaline.

Blockbuster editors Kate Medina and Bob Loomis will have autonomy to report to RH head Gina Centrello.

Still, the Random House refurbishment is likely to be source of the most job cuts of all -- a friend inside the House says that everyone "is extremely worried and no one knows if they're going to have a job."

Still, it's the day (and week and month) after and there's still a lot of questions to be answered.

1 comment:

Ann Morgan said...

Meanwhile the internet is proving a fertile breeding ground for new forms of publishing, as witnessed by's unprecedented 5,000-book free for all which began this week.

Offering 5,000 writers the chance to put their books up for sale on a print on demand basis through sites such as Amazon, the scheme looks set to be the first of several of its kind.

Fellow UEA graduate, Emily Bullock, and I both took advantage of it to put out our first books after struggling to find publishers via the traditional route.