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A Whole Lot of Holy Crap Economic News

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Jia
    Nov 24, 2008 @ 17:03:57

    Okay, that last item is a bit scary.

  2. Jana Stocks Brown
    Nov 24, 2008 @ 17:26:51

    Wow…scary news, however things are changing so rapidly it likely won’t last. I think the biggest thing the rest of us can do is to keep buying books and encourage other people to do so too!


  3. Meljean
    Nov 24, 2008 @ 17:36:07


  4. Kathryn Smith
    Nov 24, 2008 @ 18:04:37

    It makes sense that publishers might not want to acquire new authors for the time being. Readers wanting to escape into a good book are more likely to do so with their favorites, rather than take a chance on someone new. Plus, you don’t have to put as much work (promo etc) into an established author. If I owed a publishing company I’d rather put out two books out by a ‘star’ who I know will bring back a certain amount of return rather than take a chance that my newbie author will take off like a rocket. Things will rally again, however. They always do.

    And I’m sure that if a fabulous new book fell into an editor’s lap they’d buy it regardless of the economic temperature. Probably the poor author just wouldn’t get as big an advance as they might in a different situation.

    But, that’s just my two cents. I could, of course, be out of my mind. :-)

  5. whey
    Nov 24, 2008 @ 20:56:26

    I think the biggest thing the rest of us can do is to keep buying books and encourage other people to do so too!

    Or, you can go totally tinfoil-hat (GD 2.0) with me and do what I’ve been doing for the last year: fully and gleefully embrace that “frugal is the new black”.

  6. Sherry Thomas
    Nov 24, 2008 @ 21:54:48


  7. EC Sheedy
    Nov 25, 2008 @ 00:14:35

    I’m with Sherry

    . . . sigh . . .

    Especially over that last tidbit about Houghton Mifflin.

  8. Diana Peterfreund
    Nov 25, 2008 @ 03:50:20

    But Kathryn, it’s not necessarily about new authors. What about established authors at the end of their contracts?

  9. Jackie Barbosa
    Nov 25, 2008 @ 09:42:25

    Publishers are in the business of publishing books, so at SOME point, they either have to start acquiring new books to publish or go out of business. (Though I’m with Diana in thinking the HMH book buying freeze doesn’t just apply to new authors, but any author who’s seeking a new contract.)

    But, either way you slice it, publishers can’t stop buying new books altogether. At some point, they have to buy new ones. Right now, my sense is that they’re sitting on their hands, waiting to see what’s going to happen in the credit markets. They don’t want to commit themselves to outlays of cash in the form of advances for new books they may not have the wherewithal to publish.

    And HMH is highly leveraged. Not sure all the other publishing houses are in quite the same tight spot. My bet it everyone’s buying is SLOW (I can see it Publishers Marketplace) for the next little while, but won’t come to complete halt.

  10. Donna
    Nov 25, 2008 @ 10:33:04

    if they are hurting so bad why are they so rude when you go into their stores?? A normal person like me spends a good deal of money on books each year and for them to tell me I w/ be escorted out of the store if I came back in with another coupon later in the weekend is crazy to me… I am buying from your inventory why would you tell me things like this??? Sorry I refuse to pay full price for a book, any discount is nice…..

    With this economy they should welcome customers not make them mad…I am not asking for special treatment just to be fair and not treat me like I am not wanted…This happened at Borders…

  11. Randi
    Nov 25, 2008 @ 14:46:06

    Donna: wait, what happened? I got confused by your story. Are you saying that you went into Borders with one of their coupons and they told you not to come back with another one or you would be escorted out?

  12. Persephone Green » Blog Archive » The Publishing Cliff Is Approaching, Please Fasten Your Seat Belt
    Nov 26, 2008 @ 01:46:24

    […] More Terrible Economic News from Dear Author. Oh, dear. -.- Harcourt has even halted acquisitions of manuscripts entirely. […]

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