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When Houghton Mifflin merged with Harcourt Publishing in 2008, the new firm found itself fighting for survival in a fierce battle being waged in a digital world in which the whole publishing industry was caught virtually unprepared.Upon reflection, I now realize that my role had become as outdated as that misunderstood poet who had lost his voice long ago within the corporate system.The 21st Century will bring crime rates to a substantially high rate. Day by day more crimes are committed, and taken year by year the numbers rise hugely.
If a personality is set toward the negative, the same persons environment will be set in the exact same direction.NEW FICTION: In 'The Only Story,' scandalous love goes bad The editorial leadership there fully understood the nature of its mission and thus forced the inevitable collision at the intersection of culture and commerce.The two forces simply never meshed — yet no apology was offered by anyone in the company who had knowingly taken the symbolic "vow of poverty" when each of us had signed up for our jobs.The discount book chains changed the retail landscape forever for the independent owners around the country, and the decline in the number of those family-owned stores was swift and dramatic.
Long before online book buying and downloading to hand-held digital devices from Amazon became the rage among consumers, I was already being greeted in my neighborhood by my longtime friend and veteran writer Josh Greenfeld as "the village blacksmith." He tried to gently remind me that my obsolescence was just beyond the horizon.Houghton Mifflin was no longer a dominant force in publishing as it had been in the first part of the 20th century, but by the time I had arrived it was still actively publishing bestselling authors like John Kenneth Galbraith, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. Among the many categories Houghton published, poetry was always the one genre known for commanding a certain cultural distinction, but often yielding little in consumer sales.Let's face it: A company's mission statement that even remotely implies "for the greater good" is not a message that generally endears itself to an accounting department.Changes occur daily, yet taken into view yearly these changes become extremely noticeable.