05 January 2009

No limos? Oh, no!

Of course longtime industry insiders have seen it all before. Michael Korda, former editor in chief of Simon & Schuster, who often held court from his favorite table in the Grill Room at the Four Seasons, recalled a period in the 1970s when his bosses banned editors from dining at certain restaurants. “And then after a while business got better,” Mr. Korda said. “And everybody went back to doing what they were doing before."
Everybody except the laid-off assistants, of course! Not to turn this blog into an endless response piece to the New York Times, but I sure hope none of my friends who were recently laid off from a book publisher read yesterday's piece on the "new austerity in publishing."

I guess I can't expect the newspaper that reports on the recession by profiling those who can't get divorced because their mansions have dropped in price or those who have to GASP! cut back on plastic surgery to have much sensitivity to the "little people." And from all accounts, some houses have been unduly extravagant, or so I've been told. But maybe if publishers had made these expense-account cuts earlier, people would not have to be laid off. I mean, what's worse, having to take an author to a reading via cab... or drawing unemployment?

Granted, one of the cuts mentioned as "being examined," the practice of distributing advance review copies, would directly affect me as a reviewer. But where is the sympathy?

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