Here’s the latest: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has stopped acquiring manuscripts.
Now, HMH says this is temporary, not permanent. According to Publishers Weekly:
“In this case, it’s a symbol of doing things smarter; it’s not an indicator of the end of literature,” [Josef Blumenfeld, v-p of communications for HMH] said. “We have turned off the spigot, but we have a very robust pipeline.”Upon hearing the news, one agent called it “very scary.” Another said:
“I’ve been in the business a long time and at a couple of houses I worked at, when things were bad, we were asked to cut back. But I’ve never heard of anything so public.”Comments on the article were mixed, from feeling like publishers need to work smart and work frugal to it’s time for publishers to look more critically at books they buy to feeling like times are changing, perhaps even evolving into a whole new era of publishing.
It’s hard economic times for all of us. There’s no reason to think it’s any different for publishers. They’re going to cut back just like consumers. It’s just unusual to hear a major publisher say they’re not just slowing down acquisitions, they’re stopping all together, albeit (hopefully only) temporarily.
What do you think about this move?