Well, shucks. In a world where publishing empires grow larger by the day, it came as no surprise to read in PW Daily last week that both Hachette and Random House were bidding to purchase the trade division of only-just-recently-merged Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. The article mentioned that a third bidder was an "independent publishing house." But there was ZERO mention of who the fourth bidder might be.
Now that Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is no longer for sale, I’ll confess: that fourth bidder was me. I was personally going to buy Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Its new name was going to be Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Morris, or HMHM. (I wanted to use "Macmillan" but that name was already taken. Again.) If Gareth later decided that he too wanted to get involved we’d have changed the name to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Morris Hinds, or HMHMH, which has a nice ring to it, I think.
You might think a bookseller wouldn’t have the capital necessary for such an investment, but let me tell ya — living off ramen noodles for the past ten years is finally paying off, baby!! As of this week, I was gonna have me a publishing house. And a BIG one that!
BUT… no. Darn it.
IF HMH is up for sale up some point in the near future and I am then free (having not already bought another big publishing house), my first order of business will be to offer a whole BUNCH of talented people their jobs back. I say the more talent we have on board at HMHM(H), the better. Payroll, my foot. There will be no pink slips at HMHM(H)!! (But the lunch room will only serve ramen.)
My second order of business will be to publish MORE CYNTHIA RYLANT. And require everyone on the planet to read Sorcery and Cecelia by Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer. And sign Margaret McMullen to write a LOT more novels. And plaster Curious George’s image on as many books as possible! (Oh, wait. That last bit’s already been done.)
My third order of business will be to mandate BIG BOOK PARTIES every month, here in Boston. You New York publishing types can head up here to party with US, for a change!
For now, though, I will have to set my sights on other horizons. Who knows how dreadfully long I’ll have to wait before another great publisher goes on the auction block! (A week? A month? Sigh.) In the meantime, let me know if any of you want to join me for a discussion of your favorite HMH books over a steaming hot bowl of ramen!