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December 30, 2008

Pirates Sack Publisher


My publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, was sacked by pirates last month.

The pirates -- the Ireland-based investment group that purchased Harcourt and merged it with Houghton Mifflin last year -- destroyed two century-old publishing houses in a single week by announcing they would no longer buy new books; one observer accurately compared this move with a butcher loudly decreeing they would stop buying fresh meat. My publisher, Rebecca Salaten, resigned in protest and authors were told to go elsewhere with their manuscripts. (Viking-Penguin is publishing my next book.) Massive layoffs followed.

Of course, you won't read about any of this on the company's website. As of today, their latest "news" isn't "Publisher destroyed" but rather an item on how Microsoft just named them "education partner of the year."

The folks at Microsoft might want to reconsider.

-- Colin Woodard




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