By Rachel Deahl -- Publishers Weekly, 3/28/2008 7:54:00 AM
On Tuesday staffers in the Harcourt San Diego office, which is set to close this summer, were told their fates. According to an insider, only a handful of the roughly 65 employees were offered relocation packages to the east coast, where Harcourt employees are being integrated into the newly formed Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Trade & Reference Publishers division. In January, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt announced it would be closing the San Diego office by June 30,2008. A spokesperson didn't comment directly on how many staffers are coming east, only confirming there are discussions with some San Diego employees. For any employees moving to New York, they will set up shop at HM's office in Union Square which will house all former Harcourt employees; Harcourt's New York offices are set to be shut by June 30.
At least one now-former Harcourt San Diego employee, Allyn Johnston, has already landed a new position. Johnston, who was editor-in-chief of Harcourt Children's Books, is launching a new imprint at S&S. Johnston will join S&S with the title of v-p and publisher; her imprint does not yet have a name. She will also remain in San Diego, and report to her former colleague (at Harcourt Trade), senior v-p and publisher of Children's Trade Publishing, Rubin Pfeffer. Johnston's imprint will focus on middle grade fiction and picture books.