After rumors surfaced before the Labor Day weekend that Bob and Harvey Weinstein's publishing unit, Weinstein Books, was shuttering, the company's publisher, Judy Hottensen, shot down the chatter and said the division is not closing, though one editor was laid off. Hottensen said the staff, which now numbers four, is "looking to buy books" and the company is facing the same economic realities as the majority of the industry. "We are, as the rest of publishing world is, keeping our overhead very tight."
The news about Weinstein Books's uncertain future surfaces amid growing reports that the Weinstein brothers are facing financial issues. After Hollywood blogger Nikki Finke reported, in early June, that the brothers were dealing with mounting debt, The Wall Street Journal and other papers confirmed that the Weinsteins had hired the financial firm Miller Buckfire & Co. to consult on possibly restructuring or refinancing.
Miramax Books, founded in 1993, was the publishing unit of the former Miramax, the boutique media company run by Bob and Harvey Weinstein and owned by corporate parent, Disney. When the Weinsteins split with Disney and established the Weinstein Company, the book unit was similarly renamed and reconfigured; Weinstein Books, which publishes 15 books annually, was officially born in September 2007.
In April 2008, former Weinstein Books CEO Rob Weisbach left the company and Hottensen, who had been the number two at the house, took the reigns. (Hottensen, however, retained her title as publisher.) Among the titles on Weinsteins Books's fall list are this month's The Third Man Factor by John Geiger and Benjamin Mee's We Bought a Zoo (which was a finalist, in 2008, of the Borders Original Voices Award); December's The Overnight Socialite by Bridie Clark; and January's The Secrets of Timeless Appeal by Raquel Welch.