Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Publishing In Flux

The publishing world seems to be constantly in flux, never more so than in 2009 with the downtrodden economy adding to the mix. The most recent news: Avon, the mass-market romance arm of News Corp.'s HarperCollins, has acquired select frontlist and backlist romance titles from Dorchester, by New York Times bestsellers Christine Feehan, Katie MacAllister, and Marjorie Liu to name a few. Avon says it's planning the Avon releases of these titles: an unusual move, even by publishing's topsy-turvy standards.

I'm not sure if this is a good thing or the death throes of Dorchester. I hope it's the former and not the latter. But, to me, a big sign of trouble is the loss (and my gain) of its editorial director, Alicia Condon, to Kensington. Alicia had been with Dorchester for 24 years, and her switch to become editorial director of romance imprint Brava is pretty much a lateral move as far as I can tell, especially since Kensington is also an independent publishing house with similar annual revenues.

As reported in today's Daily Finance: "'Given the difficult publishing climate, the shrinking mass-market paperback market, and Anderson News's demise, which tremendously undermined [Dorchester] through no fault of their own, it's a practical business decision,' says a literary agent who represents authors affected by Dorchester's sale. 'It's not an adversarial mandate. It's [Dorchester] saying, 'We've worked it out so that we can be back on sound footing.' What's not to like?'"

We'll have to wait and see.

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