Layoffs Hit Star Trek Book Editing Team – Pocket Remains Committed To Trek

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.

…more author comments at TrekToday and TrekBBS.

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.

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That is a true shame, always not cool to get laid off.

First!!! At last!! HAAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!!

Sad to see him go…

Aw – nuts!

That -sucks-. The man was a real force for quality Trek writing.

I hope we continue to see the Vanguard series.

Of course they are committed to Trek. They can bank on the release of the new film with all the tie-in books. The novel, complete guide to…, etc.


Really nice to see, less than six months before the most important and riskiest event in the history of the francise, the braintrust at CBS is really making sure they’re protecting every aspect and avenue of their investment by laying off perhaps the most knowledgible Trek employee on their staff. The novels are the one place where Trek is thriving and servicing the fanbase on an almost monthly basis.

Marco’s loss is a boneheaded move which proves you can’t just simply cut senior employees just to save money on a sreadsheet.

I think each and all of you posting on this website should write the President of Simon and Schuster and tell them just how stupid they really are.

Wow, laid off right before Christmas. Classy…

#6. “Marco’s loss is a boneheaded move which proves you can’t just simply cut senior employees just to save money on a sreadsheet.”

Actually, um, that’s exactly what it does. That’s the point.

I’m sorry to see Marco go, but stop being naive.

I’ve enjoyed the Trek novels of recent times, more adult and great adventures. I know from the “Acknowledgements”, Marco was a big part of that. I wish him well, as well as good luck to those who remain.

Well the article did say he was laid off, not fired, so there is hope that he can come back in the near future.

They could have at least waited till after the holidays to lay the 35 workers off, what would two weeks have hurt. Talk about scrooge…

I always question the wisdom of mass layoffs. Sure you save the money short term. But without dedicated, experienced professionals that can stay long with the company, the production quality and capacity will suffer. And that will have a direct impact on the company’s earning power. Which, puts the company at even worse state.

Blame our culture of not looking past the next business quarter, FSL.

I just got laid off too this weekend :'(

I hope the entire exec team at GM gets fired before Congress gives them a bail out.

I’ve always hated that poor joes like us get laid off but millionaires get to keep their jobs.

if you lay off just one million dollar salary, you can keep several middle class people working.

There should be a law…

If I were senior management at S&S, I’d certainly hold someone accountable within STAR TREK. The STAR TREK publishing franchise used to generate enough profit to keep the entire S&S publishing unit of Viacom in the black. While the current series may be successful, the decision to publish more TNG-forward titles and almost no TOS-era titles seems ridiculous in retrospect.

TOS is The Brand.
Whatever better/best/worst opinions one has about the various incarnations of STAR TREK, there’s 42+ years of Brand exposure to TOS.

Marco is one of the classiest folks I know. He’s a tremendous fan of Star Trek, and a wonderful champion of the people he’s worked with. I’ve had the good fortune to interact with many of the Trek editors over the years, and Marco always made that interaction a tremendously rewarding one. his work, I think, was instrumental in bringing Trek books to levels far beyond “just another media tie-in”.

I realize Simon & Schuster felt they needed to cut costs, but I truly wish they had found another way than to lay off Marco. As Spock once said, Marco’s absence from Trek will be keenly felt, and I wish him all the luck in his future endeavors.

#15 – One of the reasons we’ve seen an absence of TOS-related books in the past year or so was a conscious decision to clear the field for the movie. ‘Course, a lot of plans were messed-up when they changed the movie’s release date!

If you check the projected schedules for 2009 and 2010, though, you’ll see a lot more TOS-era books coming up.

You obviously have no idea who it is you are talking to (#6) thereby showing that you are the naive one. Actually ignorant would be the correct term as in ‘not knowing’
Rob has a far better idea of the ins and outs of the industry then you do.

The only way to restore the economy is to disban NAFTA and bring manufacturing jobs back to the Uited States!!!

When I heard this last week, I had four thoughts at once: It truly is a blow to Trek, I hurt for Marco and his loss, it doubles up Margaret’s workload … and it is eerily reminiscient of a year ago this Friday (or Sunday by number), when CBS Interactive laid off the entire active full (3) and part-time (3) staff just before Christmas as well. At least S&S had enough internal cohesiveness to keep Margaret, and not wipe out the whole team.

You know, Circuit City fired all its long-term, experienced employees, and then hired new ones who worked for less money.

Look how well that turned out for them. When you walk in and get a blank stare from a punk kid, you’re not going to walk in again.

When you don’t have a quality editor overseeing quality writing…

I was laid off last month, but I keep buying Trek related stuff.

Maybe I should stop, and save my money for multiple viewings of the movie when it comes out.



I used to complain to you often about delays as a longtime subscriber to the Fanclub magazine in the ’80s. You used to bend over backwards to get the mags out and send personal notes. I always appreciated it.

It’s true that the sense of letting Marco go before Xmas, and the Trek.Com crew last year seems cruel. Unfortunately, publicly traded companies get a provision for layoffs, and in order to start 2009 strong, they have to process the layoffs before they close the books 31 December.

With the large investment in Trek now in full swing, it seems ironic, but S&S is not Paramount, but a sister company with an independent P&L.

I’ve just started getting into the books again. I hope they don’t suffer from the cut.

I have been laid off since June and still can’t get a job, it really F***ing sucks.

i lost my video production job with a (the) major cable company in the US. My position was eliminated in October. My last day is December 19th. I live in the northern panhandle of West Virginia. Let me tell ya, “good” jobs are hard to come by around here.


Another victim of the current economy. Everyone, everywhere, are laying off people right now. When the economy’s bad, more people lose their jobs so the companies can continue to make profits and not go under. Of course, with less people working, less people can spend money, and those that can tend to save more in case they to get laid off. It’s a vicious cycle, but that’s how the economy works. I look forward to the future of Trek novels, even though I am running a little behind right now, and will continue to read the Trek books in the future.


I’m naive? perhaps.

Thing is…Marco was a SandS senior employee. On a spreadsheet, his elimination was academic. However, what they failed to take into consideration is his overall effect on the company. What does his elimination mean to the company’s bottom line? To their future earnings?

These kinds of firings are not performance based, which is their fundamental problem. The don’t take into consideration his contributions to the next few years of the company’s bottom line. They are based on current numbers, nothing more.

How much he’s earned for the company over his past twelve years…and how much his elimination means for the company as a whole for the next few years was NOT taken into consideration. They looked at his name…and how much he makes…not that he’s the steward for a much larger franchise property which fuels every other aspect of CBS. That’s why he was eiliminated…because of the numbers next to his name, not what his contributions meant to the comapany.

That’s why it’s a stupid move. It undercuts the entire’s company’s worth.

That’s what I object to. His firing diminishes the ENTIRE TREK brand.

Make no mistake about this.

Losing Marco loses profits. However, this data didn’t appear on the beancounter’s spreadsheets…so now he’s gone.

In two or three or four years….when the TREK publishing empire suffers loses from it’s bottom line, those same bean counters will be asking “Why? Why are we losing money? What’s changed?

They won’t have the slightest idea.

We will, though.

Begin that letter writing campaign. Now.

27, it seems you have no confidence in the other Trek editor. Margaret Clark gets a lot of compliments in the acknowledgments pages in Trek books too. Give her a chance. Granted she’s going to have a lot more work to do but I’m sure she’s up to the task.

I haven’t been a big fan of the creative direction of Star Trek novels under Marco Palmieri’s leadership but I still think this is bad news. Aside from the personal tragedy of losing a job you love, I don’t think having one editor instead of two is more likely to make these novels more accessible to new readers or to curb the sometimes painfully bad prose. Even with Palmieri on duty half of Destiny was frustratingly pointless. This may be the final nail in the coffin for a book series that is already ailing.

I’m really disappointed to hear about Marco going. He was always great to deal with. I hope he lands a far better position, and perhaps will gain Star Trek a new license or two.

I wonder if pocket books will release books based on the new movie and stuff

perhaps a prequel series on the kelvin???

As an avid reader of the Trek novels, I am saddened to see a great and positive influence on the Trek world leaving this position.

I wish him the best of Luck for his future.

Marco’s loss is being felt dearly. Not least of which by Margaret, I’m sure, who now has a lot more work to do. It’s a lose/lose for all involved right now. Marco is awesome, and I hope to work with him again on something, somewhere, some day.

Sad to hear it! Such a terrible time for jobs with this global recession!

At least the new Trek film guarantees there will continue to be a healthy market for spin-off products.

#27—-I am a business owner will reluctantly have to “lay off” quite a few employees in the coming year. Many of them are very talented and worthy of employment. Some of them are even personal friends. That has nothing to do with it.

If you will notice, there was a clear reference in the statement from the CEO to “unavoidable acknowledgement of the current bookselling marketplace”.

Translation: Not as many people are buying books right now as compared to the past.

I can identify with that. Our Houston area business is continually showing growth, while our expansions into other markets are taking it on the chin. I have to pull back, otherwise, I’m puttting everyone else in jeopardy at the company as well. It’s a tough decision, and not one made without personal consideration.

Without looking at the financial statements of S&S, I don’t think I can say whether reducing the staff in one area or another was prudent, but people like Carolyn Reidy are hired to make those decisions based upon what’s good for the whole company—not just for one employee, or even one department.

There are people who will inevitably be asked to diversify their responsibilities in certain areas within my company (and likely will little or no additional compensation) for the sake of still having a job at all!

Margaret Clark is apparently being asked to do that at Pocket Books. She is no different from some of the people on my management staff and in the wharehouses, and neither is Marco for that matter. Some of them will have to work harder, and some of them will have to find other jobs to support their families. It sounds cold, but in truth, so is the coming winter of economic trouble.

While I won’t be laying anyone off before Christmas, I already know who the likely casualties are to be. Upon January 1st, 2009, I will give notice to at least eleven more American men and women that their jobs will only pay them for 30 more days! While some of them attend the company New Years Eve bash, I’ll have to look at those faces the night before.

After measuring what impact the coming economic troubles will have upon our Spring season, it may very well be more by mid-April.

I don’t do this to hurt people, but to ensure that I can still pay those who continue to work for me after they are gone. To borrow from Spock, “The good of the many outweighs the good of the few, or the one.”

If Reidy is “stupid” for choosing to eliminate Marco, then I guess I’m stupid too, along with the thousands of other employers who will have to deliver that news in the coming year.

As someone who has been laid off since July, the idea that the economic woes “hit Trek” was another slap. That plus I’ve met Marco at Shore Leave and he IS great to talk to- – he talks to fans, not down to them (do’t feel as warm & fuzzy about ‘Margaret’

Re: Closettrekker

The burdens of command…

I just wish there are other ways. The company I’m with cosidered against pay cut to do the layoff. A relatively small portion of each of our pay will keep everyone employed. The numbers doesn’t add up from my perspective as a lowly employee.

#37—“I just wish there are other ways.”

Sometimes there are other ways. But sometimes, there are not.

We all wish that we could weather the storm, but the truth is, some of us do not have the capability to take such a loss in the hope that things will get better soon.

Unfortunately, people I have trusted for a long time in financial matters are projecting 3-5 years( at a minimum) before the economy is in decent shape again. Although it makes me sick, I am inclined to trust their judgement.

It is in times like these that businessmen/women cannot afford to overextend themselves. Even with impeccable credit records, my business credit lines are dimishing as we speak. It is the same across the country. After all, there are not many business owners who routinely pay cash for things. That is completely unrealistic. With diminishing credit, businesses just have to pull back what they are spending to accomodate those changes.

In my case, I am actually forced to close a store I just opened 12 months ago. That store employs 11 people with families. I have no choice. That store was running on credit alone. The sales in year one were barely paying the lease on the building. That, in itself, is not unusual for an expansion project. But my company’s credit is no longer in line with my own patience and experience in building a local client base.

Without the ability to borrow money, many businesses cannot sustain themselves at all, and even with credit, there is little guarantee that the loan payments can be made in the next few years.

Again, I don’t know the financial status of your company, but these are not issues that will go away any time soon.

I was laid off earlier this year and it is by no means any fun. Very stressful situation, especially in these hard economic times. And all the Star Trek novels are fun to read. I wish Marco Palmieri the very best in his future endeavours and look forward to hearing about his success in the future.

This is a fracking travesty, no other way to say it. Macro, we’ll miss you.