Simon & Schuster cuts 35 positions

Liz Thomson
News - International 03 Dec 2008

They say that when America sneezes, Europe catches a cold. The economic crisis originated in New York - so does yesterday's round of job cutting, with Simon & Schuster CEO Carolyn Reidy announcing the loss of 35 positions, on top of the , as well as the loss of 54 employees at Christian publisher Thomas Nelson, suggest that London publishers will shortly be making similar cuts? UK publishing is much leaner than it was last time the country went through a severe downturn, but the New York news will certainly induce feelings of anxiety if not insecurity. The cuts at Simon & Schuster represent 2% of the workforce - at Nelson that figure is a whopping 10%.

S&S is not naming names, and spokesman Adam Rothberg told BookBrunch that the losses were spread across the company. What's not clear yet is whether there are any cuts in London, an operation that has improved its performance dramatically and in which Reidy has always been keen to invest. Separately, the CEO announced that Rick Richter, President of S&S Children's Publishing, is leaving the company after 12 years, as is Rubin Pfeffer, Senior Vice-President and Publisher of the Children's Group; he joined in 2005.

In a statement to staff, Reidy explained:

'Earlier today we enacted a reduction in staff in which 35 positions across the company were eliminated, from areas including our publishing divisions and international, operations and sales.

At Simon & Schuster we have always been conscientious about our operating expenses, and I know that many of you have been especially helpful this year in finding ways to take even more costs out of our business. We have literally examined our budget line by line to find those areas large and small where we might further economize. But today's action is an unavoidable acknowledgment of the current bookselling marketplace and what may very well be a prolonged period of economic instability. In light of this uncertainty, we must responsibly position ourselves for challenges both near term and long.

While the entire publishing industry is coping with these truly difficult circumstances, we can take satisfaction in our ongoing status as an industry leader in all facets of our business. Our 161 New York Times bestsellers year-to-date, surpassing by far our 2007 company-record bestseller totals, are a testament to the strength of our publishing programs. And despite the current retail environment the sales of a number of our continuing authors have shown excellent growth compared to their prior titles. We continue to publish the acclaimed and award-winning books for which we are known, and we have and continue to make tremendous strides in our digital publishing efforts.

These accomplishments give me every confidence that, even in a difficult time, you will continue to serve our authors and customers with the creativity, expertise, and professionalism for which Simon & Schuster is justly known. I deeply appreciate all that you, and your departing colleagues, have contributed on our behalf, and know that I can count on you to carry on in the same spirit moving forward.'

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