Profits and Values in Publishing

Profits and Values in Publishing

Readers of the financial pages are familiar with resignations or firings (“has left to pursue other interests”). Nothing remarkable here, as the continual movement of people in and out of jobs is a capitalist fact of life. It must have come as a surprise to many, then, that the firing last February of Andre Schiffrin, managing director of Pantheon Books, became a minor cause célèbre in which book editors dueled in the New York Times, and authors walked a picket line and subscribed to an ad in the New York Review of Books protesting Schiffrin’s firing. Why
did so “normal” an event cause so much moral indignation?

Schiffrin’s dismissal is part of a larger phenomenon. Pantheon is owned by Random House which is part of Advance Publications, a company owned by S.I. Newhouse and his family, who also own a string of newspapers. Random House is a publishing conglomerate that is reputed to be worth more than $1 billion.

...

Lima