Thursday, October 30, 2008

Dohle'n Out Some Change

Article in the New York Observer about Random House and Marcus Dohle. They contrast RH with the fortunes of the Hachette Book Group although this is done by illusion since the author seems to be saying just because Hachette is smaller they are better.

That would be between 600 and 700 titles per year, if you’re keeping score. Random House, which one rival publisher recently called “the biggest, fattest, most grotesquely obese company ever,” last year published more than 3,000.

Of course, the vast majority of those books were signed under Mr. Olson, whom Bertelsmann replaced late last spring with a much younger, more German man named Markus Dohle.

MR. DOHLE, who at 40 years old has never worked in publishing before but had previously managed a large printing company, has not yet ordered any major changes since moving to New York from his home in G├╝tersloh and taking up the frayed reins Mr. Olson left behind. There have been some adjustments, to be sure. For one thing, Mr. Dohle has hired several new people at the corporate level, including a director of human resources who, like his boss, is very young and comes from Germany (one editor said, half seriously, that “there do seem to be a lot more people speaking German in the elevators”). For another, some division heads have asked their employees to cut back on expenses such as lunch and travel.

Also, as an example of Dohle's impact they note (only) the elimination of 16 jobs at Doubleday. These apparently "stunned" the industry. Someone needs to point out to the Observer that we are in a recession and 16 jobs (with due respect to the people that held them) is small beans. Stunned is just silly.

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