Abrams Books has made an unspecified number of job cuts this week, with some speculating that cuts were in the double digits.
In a statement, Abrams has confirmed that it has “implemented workforce reduction measures affecting departments across the company.” The release came after social media posts reporting job cuts taking place at the publisher put the positions eliminated at over 10. Abrams declined to comment on the size of the workforce reduction.
Prior to the pandemic, Abrams had been on a years-long effort to broaden its publishing base beyond its well-known adult nonfiction illustrated titles, establishing a successful children’s list led by the Wimpy Kid series and a well-regarded graphic novels business. In 2018, it acquired the storied Overlook Press, integrating Overlook's nonfiction books into Abrams Press and moving all Abrams adult fiction under the Overlook umbrella. Michael Jacobs, who retired as CEO in November and was succeeded by Mary McAveney, said in an interview in 2021 that sales for adult titles, helped along by Overlook’s backlist, had some early success, with sales especially strong during the pandemic.
Since the easing of the pandemic-era restrictions, adult titles have not done as well at the publisher. Tracy Carns, who moved to Abrams during the Overlook acquisition, left the company last year. In its statement, Abrams said that “like many in publishing” Abrams “is having a challenging year.” The statement continued: “Changes to our operating structure are important to set the foundation of growth for the company. While we are deeply aware of the concerns this raises with our employees, we are also aware that the future of our business depends on these changes which will lead to finding and refining new ways for readers to discover our great books.”
In addition to Abrams, a host of other publishers have cut staff this year, the most notable being the 5% workforce reduction HarperCollins began implementing at the beginning of the year. A number of publishers are offering voluntary retirement packages to trim costs, including Harper, Hachette Book Group, and Penguin Random House.