Friday, December 19, 2008

It's Not Just Newspapers Laying Off

From various sources come the following bits of publishing (actually, not publishing) news:

  • Farrar, Straus & Giroux has laid off an estimated 15 people--several of them key players--because of slow book sales. Among those let go are an editor, an associate publisher who "kind of keeps the company together," and the head of production. (New York Observer)
  • Powell's Books in Portland (which has a great Web presence) is asking its employees to work fewer hours or take sabbaticals. Sales here are slow, too.
  • Amazon's UK division ( has come under heavy scrutiny by The Times of London which is reporting some sweatshop-like conditions at the $4 billion (worldwide) company. The Times reports that workers are required "to work a compulsory 10-hour overnight shift at the end of a five-day week," can be fired if they report in sick, have to meet packing quotas described as "ridiculous," and is requiring workers to put in seven days a week.
  • Meanwhile, in newspaper land: The Seattle Times, which has lost 500 employees in the last year, has asked 500 managers and nonunion employees to take a week of leave without pay because of increasing difficulty in making money. The employees can choose how to take off the five days, but it has to be done by February. (AP)

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