This last week, there was yet another major upheaval in the book publishing business. Jon Karp, formerly founder and Publisher of Twelve, a division of Grand Central Publishing, was named Vice-President and Publisher of Simon & Schuster. Many will shake their heads and say this is just another instance of a major publishing layoff (Jon replaces David Rosenthal who had been Simon & Schuster’s Publisher for the last 13 years).
I don’t agree. Jon Karp has proven himself to be a publisher of great vision and he is a solid communicator, something our business desperately needs. In my opinion, he also has superb taste. For many months, if not longer, the word on the street has been that “little Simon” as the company is known, was not doing well. Sales were down and there has been an exodus of valuable and talented editors. Hopefully, this change will result in a turnaround.
Indeed, many of my colleagues have been wringing their hands of late at the number of recent changes at the executive level of the major publishers, and it is true that some truly wonderful people have lost their jobs. My hope though is that this restructuring will lead those companies doing it in new, positive and profitable directions. If that happens, we will all benefit–authors, agents and publishers alike. So, though change can be nervous making, my hope is that all of these moves will bring positive results to our beloved world of book publishing.