After accumulating assets, it is not unusual for publishers to look for ways to manage those properties more effectively. Such was the case again in 2018, especially late in the year when two of the Big Five trade publishers made significant adjustments. The most wide-ranging realignment was the merger of the Crown Publishing Group into the Random House Publishing Group. The reorg, announced in October, put both groups under Random House head Gina Centrello, with Crown president and publisher Maya Mavjee leaving the company at the end of the year. On December 7, Centrello announced how Crown will be structured as part of Random House.
The new Crown will be composed of three distinct groups:
• Crown Trade, which comprises Crown, Archetype, Broadway, Tim Duggan Books, Hogarth, and Three Rivers;
• Illustrated and prescriptive nonfiction, consisting of Clarkson Potter, Harmony, Rodale, and Ten Speed;
• Christian, business, and conservative books, composed of Convergent, Currency, Forum, Image, Mutnomah, and WaterBrook.
In her memo announcing the changes, Centrello explained that the Crown Trade and the illustrated and prescriptive nonfiction imprints will be co-led by David Drake and Aaron Wehner, and Tina Constable will continue to lead Christian, business, and conservative publishing. All three report directly to Centrello. The major casualty of the restructuring was Molly Stern, senior v-p, publisher at Crown, who is leaving the company.
The merger of Random House and Crown is the latest restructuring effort to take place at PRH, following Penguin and Random House completing their merger on July 1, 2013. The combination of Crown and Random is not the only major change announced by PRH in 2018. In early November, PRH’s DK division said that its Prima Games unit will be closing by spring 2019. Dedicated to publishing strategy guides for video games, Prima Games has stopped commissioning new titles and its Indianapolis, New York City, and Roseville, Calif., offices will be closing.
The Hachette Book Group implemented two reorganization efforts late this year. The bigger of the two moves came in early November and involved acquisitions old and new. In the reorg, HBG moved its Da Capo Press imprint into the Hachette Books division, which itself was moved into the Perseus Books division overseen by Susan Weinberg. Hachette Books was created largely from HBG’s purchase of the adult Disney Publishing titles in June 2013, and the Perseus Books division was formed following HBG’s spring 2016 purchase of the Perseus Books Group publishing arm. At the same time, HBG announced that it was consolidating the editorial and publishing teams of its two Nashville-based Christian publishing units, FaithWords and Worthy. (HBG bought Worthy in September.) A total of about 25 jobs were eliminated in the reorganization.
In early December, HBG’s Grand Central Publishing group announced that its Life & Style imprint will be absorbed into the flagship GCP list at the end of 2018. The imprint was formed in 2010 under the direction of Karen Murgolo to publish books in the food and cooking, health, inspiration, self-help, and wellness categories. Now, GCP said, books in those areas will be published on the flagship GCP list. Murgolo’s job was cut along with a handful of others.
At other Big Five houses, HarperCollins underwent a realignment when Michael Morrison, president and publisher of HC’s U.S. General Books Group, left the company at the end of January. With his departure, Jonathan Burnham was named president and publisher of Harper, overseeing Harper, Harper Business, Harper Design, Harper Paperbacks, Harper Perennial, Harper Wave, Amistad, Broadside, and Ecco. Liate Stehlik was promoted to president and publisher of William Morrow/Avon, overseeing William Morrow, Avon, Custom House, Dey Street, and Harper Voyager
. Later in the year, HC hired former Atria Publishing Group president and publisher Judith Curr to take over (and expand) its HarperOne unit, where Mark Tauber resigned as publisher at the end of 2017. Curr added HC’s Amistad and Spanish-language publishing operations to her group.
Simon & Schuster announced that, following the decision by Susan Moldow to retire as head of the Scribner Publishing Group and as publisher of Touchstone at the end of the year, it will stop publishing new Touchstone books at the end of 2018 and move any forthcoming books already signed to the Atria and Gallery lists. Touchstone staff will also head to Atria and Gallery. S&S will continue to release Touchstone backlist titles, which will be managed by associate publisher Meredith Vilarello. In explaining the move, S&S adult publishing president and publisher Jonathan Karp said that though Touchstone’s backlist is a vital part of S&S, the division’s frontlist “frequently overlaps with our other adult publishers, particularly Atria and Gallery.”
Over at Macmillan, company president Don Weisberg announced that Picador will stop releasing original titles by April 2019, and that Picador will return to its primary role as Macmillan’s literary trade paperback reprint unit. James Meader was put in charge of day-to-day management of Picador, which is moving under Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Three Picador employees, including publisher Stephen Morrison, left the company.
In major restructurings at larger independent publishers, Quarto Group began a round of cost cutting in the U.S. and U.K. in the second half of 2018 that includes closing its Minneapolis office by the end of 2018. Quarto will shut down its Voyageur imprint, which has been housed in Minneapolis, but the location’s Burgess Lea, Cool Springs, and Motorbooks imprints will continue. Quarto did not disclose how many jobs are being eliminated under the restructuring.
In April, Skyhorse Press, which had seen rapid growth over its 10-year history due in part to an aggressive acquisition spree, said it was reducing its title output by about 25% and was eliminating 16 of its 77 full-time positions.