USA Today told the Associated Press that its weekly bestseller book list will go on "hiatus for the remainder of the year” after its presiding editor was laid off in a round of budget-saving cuts on December 1, initiated by the newspaper's parent company, Gannett. In August, the company terminated 3% of its workforce (around 400 employees) after posting a loss of $54 million, on revenues of $749 million, in its second quarter.
Gannett is the nation’s largest newspaper chain, with more than 200 dailies. According to Gannett, a publicly-traded company nevertheless owned by private equity firm New Media Investment Group since 2019, the company is aiming to cut its news division by 6%, to put the company in a "stronger economic position" heading into the new year. The company told the AP it would issue an update on the future of the list in 2023.
Mary Cadden, the editor who has compiled the list since 2008, confirmed December 8 on Twitter that she was among the latest round of layoffs.
Sad to say that after 26 years at @USATODAY, I’m among Gannett’s layoffs. I am so proud of my work at USA TODAY, especially covering Books and the USA TODAY Best-Sellers list. I wish the best for my colleagues who are also leaving and those who remain.— Mary Cadden (@MaryCadden) December 8, 2022
To news of Cadden's departure, authors, book agents and readers responded with words of thanks for highlighting the work of various authors and uplifting the book industry.
"You will be sorely and dearly missed," wrote Pam Jaffee, senior director of publicity and brand marketing for Bloom Books/Sourcebooks Casablanca. "Thank you for always answering emails and calls. And for really setting the standard in the books industry. I’m wrecked right now, but I know you will go on to do more great things."
Sabrina Callahan, who does public relations for Little Brown, added: "Mary, you’ve been so lovely to work with. Good luck and please let us know how we can help!"
Since announcing her departure, Cadden has not shared whether she has been offered a job elsewhere. But her work to create an objective resource that represents what books audiences are reading has been felt even among the most commercially successful authors, such as E. L. James and James Patterson.
Thank you for all of your kind attention over the years. We will really miss your smart coverage.— James Patterson (@JP_Books) December 12, 2022
"Thank you for all of your kind attention over the years," Patterson wrote. "We will really miss your smart coverage."