Last week Simon & Schuster laid off Marco Palmieri, one of the two primary Star Trek editors at Pocket Books, the licensee for all Trek books. Palmieri’s layoff was one of many across S&S, but it has raised concerns about the future of Trek publishing. Today, a spokesperson for Pocket spoke exclusively to TrekMovie to allay those fears and reaffirm Pocket’s commitment to Trek.
S&S committed to Trek books
Currently Pocket Books publishes around a dozen new Star Trek titles per year, and Marco Palmieri has been the editor for roughly half of them (focusing on The Original Series, Deep Space Nine, Voyager as well as Vanguard and Titan book series). Jean Anne Rose, Publicity Director of Pocket Books, tells TrekMovie that the layoff of Palmieri was not related to Star Trek and how it is viewed at Pocket and was more of an overall restructuring at the company effecting every division. In addition, Rose said that Pocket was sticking with its current plans for Trek books for 2009 (although some dates may move around a bit). Rose emphasized "we remain committed to publishing a robust and energetic schedule Star Trek books moving forward." This means that Margaret Clark, the other primary Star Trek editor at Pocket, will now be handling almost all the Trek books moving forward.
S&S cuts part of a media industry trend
The cut of thirty five positions across all departments of Simon & Schuster were called an "unavoidable acknowledgment of the current bookselling marketplace and what may very well be a prolonged period of economic instability” by CEO Carolyn Reidy. S&S isn’t the only division within CBS that is seeing job loses, with cuts across the board. Just last week it was also announced that ‘hundreds’ of jobs within CBS Radio are being cut. And the cuts within CBS are part of a trend across all media companies, including NBC and Viacom.
Goodbye to Marco
Although Pocket remains committed to Trek, Marco’s loss will still be felt within the Star Trek community. Marco had been with Pocket for eleven years and he is truly a fan of Trek and a passionate advocate for the Trek books. In recent years, he and Margaret have essentially been the ‘show runners’ for franchise after the end of Trek on TV. Marco was active in fan outreach as well as being helpful to TrekMovie and other sites to help promote the Star Trek books.
Marco will also be missed by the authors who he has worked with. On his blog, David Mack, author of the recent Destiny trilogy, wrote of Palmieri:
He has been not only my editor, but my teacher, my coach, my cheering section, my counselor, my brother, and my friend. I have for years called him my sensei; this is an honor I have afforded to no other editor.
Many other Trek writers have spoken their praises for Palmieri in a thread in the Lit forum of TrekBBS, including prolific Trek writer Keith R.A. DeCandido who wrote in part:
I think the three best novels I’ve written among the thirty-five plus I’ve penned were all under Marco’s editorial tutelage, and that’s not a coincidence. He was always good at pushing me to push myself harder.
A Personal note
And on a personal note, I will miss Marco Palmieri. He, along with Margaret Clark, was very helpful to myself and Robert Lyons (our Trek novels reviewer). Palmieri went out of his way to make sure that we brought news and reviews of the Trek books to our readers. His passion and enthusiasm for the books, along with his advocacy of his writers, was infectious. Plus he was just fun to chat with about Star Trek.