Monday, June 07, 2010

Karp Takes Over the Reins at S&S

I’ve mentioned Jonathan Karp on this blog before. According to his bio here:
He was previously Editor-in-Chief of the Random House Publishing Group, where he began in 1989 as an editorial assistant and worked for sixteen years, acquiring and editing such best-selling works of fiction and nonfiction as Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand, … Thank you For Smoking by Christopher Buckley, …The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean, [and] The Last Don by Mario Puzo …
In 2005, he quit Random House and joined the Hachette Book Group where he founded an imprint called Twelve. True to its name, Twelve only published twelve books a year under Mr. Karp, who became its publisher and editor-in-chief.

Last Thursday, the publishing industry learned that David Rosenthal, publisher of Simon & Schuster’s flagship imprint, the eponymous Simon & Schuster, was leaving after thirteen years and that Jonathan Karp would be taking his place.

Deadline New York reported here on Wednesday night that “Simon & Schuster CEO Carolyn Reidy is removing S&S publisher David Rosenthal.”

Slate’s The Big Money said here that:
S&S reported a decline of 6 percent in the first quarter's sales which was also 25 percent down from two years before … Karp's Twelve imprint was cast as an antidote to big-imprint publishing. Using his phenomenal track record for picking hits and nerves-of-steel willingness to pay big for projects …Karp showed that a small imprint could generate sales volume to match a big shop like Simon.
The New York Post reported here:
Rosenthal is not known for being a profligate spender, though one rival said he's had "no big failures, but he hasn't come up with a lot of hits lately" … Both Karp and Rosenthal are known as editors who have single-minded dedication to their own authors -- but who often ignore other editors within their own companies and are thought of as difficult.
The Los Angeles Times reported here that: “More than half of [Twelve’s] 37 books [published since its inception] have been bestsellers ...”

The New York Times said here that at S&S, “where he will begin on June 14, Mr. Karp will oversee the publication of more than 100 hardcovers a year.”

Karp’s expertise has largely been in narrative nonfiction. It will be interesting to see how he makes the leap to a large commercial fiction house that is publishing an average of more than eight books a month.

As someone who has thoroughly enjoyed a number of Mr. Karp’s offerings, I wish him well.

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