Publishing Deathwatch – Doubleday Lays Off 16 Employees

We hear that SPIEGEL & GRAU, the small female-founded division of DOUBLEDAY that publishes a mix of literary fiction and nonfiction books, laid off 16 employees yesterday; we’ve got a call into company spokesman DAVID DRAKE. Update: Drake tells us that the job cuts are taking place across all of the Doubleday imprints which include Doubleday, Broadway, Doubleday Religion, Nan A. Talese, Flying Dolphin Press, Doubleday Business and Spiegel & Grau.

According to their mission statement, JULIE GRAU and CELINA SPIEGEL (both formerly of Penguin) have a goal to “be responsive to the issues that touch people’s lives but also to provide a forum for thinkers and writers who break new ground, pose new questions, provoke and challenge us to remain alert and alive to change, even as they entertain us.”

Their current stable of writers includes SAHER ALAM, ANTHONY BOZZA, JANELLE BROWN, LESLIE T. CHANG, TA-NEHISI COATES, KAREN CONNELLY,  TODD HASAK-LOWY,  JANE KAMENSKY, SANA KRASIKOV, LANG LANG, ARTIE LANGE, ADAM LANGER, ALIZA LAVIE, JILL LEPORE, ELZABETH LITTLE, SOMALY MAM, ADAM MANSBACH, JAMES MASKALYK, LIZA MONROY, SUZE ORMAN, IAIN PEARS, JESSICA QUELLER, STEVEN RINELLA, DAVID RITZ, CATHERINE SANDERSON, LEE SIEGEL, WARREN ST. JOHN, REBECCA STOTT, MATT TAIBBI and STEVE TOLTZ.

We’re assuming this news means that thought provoking and fresh doesn’t sell as well as an author’s 14th book about a detective named Harry Bosch.

Which begs the question, is book publishing viable in an economy that has even best sellers worried — especially when you’re talking about such a little imprint?