The Not-So-Luxurious Life Of Book Publishing Execs

Forced to cut costs, book publishers have cut back on exotic trips, fancy lunches, lavish parties and the limousines that took them to such places.

NY Times: Amid a relentless string of layoffs and pay-freeze announcements, book publishers are clamping down on some of the business’s most glittery and cozy traditions. Austerity measures are rippling throughout the industry as it confronts the worst retailing landscape in memory…

Venerable houses including HarperCollins, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Penguin Group, Random House and Simon & Schuster have all announced salary freezes or layoffs, or both. Simon & Schuster canceled its annual holiday party, held for the last few years at Tavern on the Green and scheduled in 2008 for Guastavino’s, a splashy banquet hall in Manhattan. One division of Random House had pizza, beer and wine in a room off the cafeteria for its holiday lunch instead of going out for pricey cocktails. Across the city, editors with Four Seasons taste are being asked to scale back on their lunch tabs…

[T]he economic downturn is forcing publishers to scrutinize some of the industry’s hoariest traditions. One ripe target: the international book fairs in London and Frankfurt at which publishers and agents gather, ostensibly to make deals. But in reality they spend much of their time making the rounds of parties and dinners.

Many houses that previously have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on flights, hotel bills and cocktail hours are planning to prune the size of the contingents they send to the fairs this year. Similarly, companies are revising their budgets for BookExpo America, the annual spring jamboree at which publishers promote their fall lineups to booksellers…


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