Penguin Problems

February 27th, 2005 · 1 Comment
by Booksquare

Publisher’s Weekly is taking a long, hard look at the problems plaguing Penguin Putnam (the fact that we dove headfirst into alliteration makes us as uncomfortable as it does you). The problems are myriad: recovering from a lousy implementation of a distribution system, ye olde balance sheet problems (outflow exceeds income), and changing of the guard at the head of the Putnam division.

What does this mean for most of us? Well, probably not much. We cannot predict the future, but that will not stop us from offering our opinion. Curing corporate woes requires coordinated effort. The way we see it, there will be high-profile firing* coupled with a high-profile hiring (nature and payroll demand balance). A shuffling of reporting lines (sleight of hand isn’t just for magicians anymore). Management retreats (high-priced executives “team build” with Gordian Knot exercises). Someone will even suggest “major changes”; this idea will be embraced, initiated, and twisted until everything new is old again.

It is also entirely possible the organization will try to address the root causes of their structural problems.l Because this involves breaking with 100 (give or take) years orf industry standards, such bold talk will be dealt with quietly and discreetly. It’s one thing to color outside the lines, but when you get down to it, tradition is thicker than water.

And no, we do not believe any of this will address our personal bugaboo. The publisher’s website will remain as inscrutable and user-unfriendly as ever. See previous re: tradition.

* – Never fear — our hapless jobless one will resurface elsewhere. Soon.

File Under: Publishers and Editors

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