Ten Things I Want to Know About Random House’s Reorganization

Andrew Wheeler has the clearest summary of what some call Black Wednesday (I prefer Bloodbath Wednesday myself), which now encompasses more layoffs at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Simon & Schuster cutting 35 jobs (including editor Denise Roy) and Thomas Nelson’s layoffs. But back to Random House, which is still the biggest story in the making, and what I want to know:

  • What will Steve Rubin’s new role be with the company, if he even stays put?
  • Why did Spiegel and Grau get separated from the rest of the Doubleday crew? Will they work better under Gina Centrello than Sonny Mehta?
  • Will Nan Talese get to keep her own imprint under Sonny’s watch or is this a slow boat to retirement of some kind?
  • Why does the prospect of Phyllis Grann interacting with Sonny give me flashbacks to the 2003 Ann Godoff mess? Or to 2002?
  • Is there any reason whatsoever for the Crown side to keep doing fiction?
  • Will imprints disappear completely and if so, which ones? (Broadway seems the likeliest candidate, and most of Bantam Dell’s are up for scrutiny too, I reckon.)
  • How many growing pains will there be incorporating Doubleday’s commercial approach with Knopf’s ethos? Yes, Knopf isn’t nearly as highbrow as its reputation, but they wouldn’t have published Dan Brown or John Grisham.
  • Are Ballantine and Bantam Dell honestly expected to keep separate editorial mandates when what they publish are so close in nature?
  • How exactly will marketing and sales be streamlined across the board?
  • Last but not least, will all this news finally make Markus Dohle speak to the press? (I already know the answer to that: nope.)