What Nostradamus could foresee

The wonder known as POD?

Could Gutenberg in his vainglory

Imagine life sans inventory?

Now that paper is de trop,

Digital is comme il faut.

Manuscripts and printed copy?

Deader than the three-inch floppy.

Editors eschew blue pencils.

Obsolete as quills and stencils!

To make our industry more green,

They edit on a Sony screen.

And agents now submit their schlock

By means of e-mail as dot-doc.

Jeff Bezos, richer than the Bourse,

Wanted to mint more, of course.

This tycoon cast a jealous eye

On profits made at LSI.

Thus Amazon began to urge

A shift of custom to BookSurge

For printing books upon demand

(A wish that sounded like command).

Mary Matalin's hired hatchet

Drove the Left completely batshit

With a wild-eyed swift boat hack job

Written by a right-wing wack job

With pen so deep in poison dipped

It spun Max Schuster in his crypt.

It looked like S&S had gone

Clear to the right of Genghis Khan.

Before they launched Obama Nation

They sent fact checkers on vacation.

We hail our newly chosen leader,

Author, speaker and—a reader!

Articulating dreams and hopes

In orotund Churchillian tropes.

A man the nation puts its trust in

To usher in an Age Augustan.

His reading tastes we scan for clues,

For what Barack reads sells in slews.

Just when you feared you would be fired

Or simply forcibly retired,

Wait! Belay robe and pajamas—

Acquire books about Obamas!

First Puppy, Guppy, Daughter, Spouse,

A veritable Obama House.

Success? One thing alone is vital:

Just put the Big O in the title.

But how ho-hum would '08 be

Without such gifts beneath the tree

As vampire fiction dark and bright,

The blood-drenched pack led by Twilight.

Next—Joe the Plumber's CD-ROM?

Memoirs of a hockey mom?

Seven bucks will surely getcha

Ten the title is You Betcha!

Rupert bade adieu to Friedman,

Then made Brian Murray lead man.

Explanation? Somewhat blurry.

God only knows (or maybe Murray).

Speculation is beguiling.

And somewhere—Judith Regan's smiling.

Great bewilderment arose

When Harcourt acquisitions froze.

The buzz about this bitter pill?

The parent firm owed seven bil!

Becky, shorn of raison d'etre,

Tendered resignation lettre.

And as we watched with breath abated

Arbitrageurs salivated.

Word came down from Gütersloh:

Peter Olson had to go.

His departure left a hole,

So Random House went on the Dohle.

Herr Dohle then told Herr Applebaum

That he'd run out of lebensraum.

Hyperion-watchers asked who shall be

Replacing ed-in-chief Will Schwalbe.

He preached how e-mails should be sent,

Then hit “Escape” and off he went.

No need to search in Disney's basement

For the worthy Will's replacement.

It took no time at all to vet

The estimable Will Balliett.

Prestige and power to him beckoned,

Thus one Good Will begot a second.

And speaking now of Good Will Hunting

May your halls be decked with bunting.

Though indicators may be dropping,

Suck it up and go out shopping.

'Tis not the time to practice thrifts.

This season's motto: Books=Gifts.

Author Information
Richard Curtis is CEO of the literary agency that bears his name and author of The Client from Hell and Other Publishing Satires, which includes previous end-of-year poems that appeared in Publishers Weekly.