At Collins, Harper’s sister division at 10 East 53rd Street, editors have been asked to scale back on their expenses, and at Random House, several sources confirmed, some supervisors were recently given guidelines indicating how much employees should tip and which restaurants near the company’s midtown headquarters are thrifty enough to do business in.Stuart Applebaum, Random House’s corporate spokesman, said:
“Prudent leadership should be suggesting that if your expensed lunch isn’t absolutely mandatory now, why not postpone it, or eat in the cafeteria?”Some literary agents disagree with the new policy on frugality. Agent Ann Rittenberg said the money spent on her and her fellow agents was well worth it. Marjorie Braman, the new editor in chief of Holt, agrees:
“What happens at lunch for agents that’s important is sometimes they find out things about an editor that they wouldn’t otherwise know,” said Ms. Braman, “and then when a particular project comes along, they say, oh, it’s perfect for so and so—she’s adopted, this is a memoir about being adopted, or, you know, this is a medical book about a condition that it turns out the agent found out at lunch the editor’s mother had.”At this point in time, it seems some editors are cutting back on their expensive networking lunches, some are not, some are doing more “dutch treat” lunches and some - mainly younger agents and editors - are moving to breakfast or after-hours meetings.