Tuesday, July 2, 2013

A week is a long time in publishing #3

Following on from 12 June’s post on changes in the NZ publishing industry, the Penguin-Random House merger went live yesterday and this arrived from HarperCollins:
HarperCollins New Zealand has engaged journalist and editor, Finlay Macdonald to steer its local publishing program, led by ANZ Publishing Director Shona Martyn.
Finlay Macdonald has worked as a journalist, editor, publisher and broadcaster in New Zealand since 1986. He was editor of the New Zealand Listener magazine from 1998 to 2003, and deputy editor before that. He worked as commissioning editor at Penguin New Zealand from 2003 to 2005, during which time he published the late David Lange’s best-selling memoir My Life. He was an award-winning columnist for the Sunday Star-Times from 2003 to 2011, and continues to write for various publications. He is also a regular commentator on radio.
‘I’m delighted to be working with HarperCollins and to be re-entering the world of book publishing. I’m especially looking forward to working with existing and new authors to make the best books, and the right books, for New Zealand readers,’ says Macdonald. ‘Yes, there are definitely challenges ahead, but there are also great opportunities to bring energy and a commitment to quality to the local publishing scene.’
Shona Martyn says: ‘It will be exciting to work with Finlay who has a commitment to quality publishing, stellar contacts and an instinctive sense of the type of books that New Zealanders want to read.’
Finlay is an interesting appointment – Nicola Legat, another former magazine editor, has been a great success at Random so perhaps HarperCollins are hoping for a repeat. 

Booksellers have been muttering darkly that HarperCollins’s shift of support, warehousing and so on to Australia is a big mistake, that the Aussies don’t understand the New Zealand market and never will.  Whatever Finlay proposes, no doubt the decision to publish (or not) will be made in Sydney. Fortunately, Shona Martyn, his boss there, is not only very smart and great company – she is a New Zealander.

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