After 14 years at Harcourt Trade Publishers, Louise Pelan, v-p and publisher of the children's books division, will retire from that post in early March.
Pelan told PW that her decision to take early retirement was "purely personal" and stressed that it had nothing to do with the company's acquisition last summer by Reed Elsevier. "Our new Reed Elsevier ownership has been absolutely everything a publisher could ask for," Pelan wrote in a letter announcing her retirement to colleagues. "I would never want anyone to think that my departure indicates any lack of confidence in the future of Harcourt Trade Publishers."
During Pelan's tenure at Harcourt, its children's publishing program grew from sales of $7 million to $30 million. "When I first came here the seasonal children's list was buried in the back of the adult catalogue in a few pages," she told PW. Now children's titles account for 60% of trade sales at Harcourt.
Harcourt president and CEO Dan Farley credited Pelan with the growth of the children's books division. Along with acquiring top children's authors including Janell Cannon, Mem Fox and Theodore Taylor, Farley said Pelan helped increase both the number of titles published, expanded the fiction list, established a new paperback division and worked with Harcourt's educational division to create innovative products. Working with Harcourt Education, Pelan created the Green Light Readers program, which took the school division's content and created low-price stand-alone readers.
Pelan is working closely with Farley in the company's search for a new v-p and publisher.
After she retires, Pelan said she plans to spend more time with her family and hopes to do consulting and freelance writing. "It was time for me to do something different," she added.
Schulz Joins Adult Unit
In Harcourt's adult group, Da Capo Press executive editor Andrea Schulz will join the house as senior editor, reporting to Jane Isay. Schulz has acquired a variety of titles for the Perseus division, including a Wynton Marsalis memoir that was one of the hot books at last year's BEA as well as a collection of music writing edited by Nick Hornby. At Harcourt she will develop a serious nonfiction list.