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
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.
|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.|