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Simon & Schuster grabs innovative publisher Jonathan Karp

June 3, 2010 |  9:16 am

Jonathankarp Jonathan Karp is leaving Twelve, the innovative imprint he founded in 2005, to become publisher at Simon & Schuster. Karp started his career at Random House, where he worked his way up from assistant editor to editor in chief.

Karp will replace Simon & Schuster's David Rosenthal as executive vice president and editor in chief. According to Deadline NY, the departure was sudden. But CEO Carolyn Reidy, to whom Rosenthal reported, had only nice things to say about him in a corporate statement Thursday morning. 

In that statement, she also praised Karp. “Jonathan Karp is one of the most versatile, talented and creative publishers working today,” she said. “I’m delighted that he will now bring his abundant editorial and publishing skills to the Simon & Schuster imprint.”

Twelve's major innovation was to publish just one book a month (hence the name), focusing its efforts around a single title at a time. More than half of its 37 books have been bestsellers, including "God Is Not Great" by Christopher Hitchens, Edward Kennedy's "True Compass" and "Columbine" by Dave Cullen. In a 2008 article for the Washington Post, Karp wrote:

Publishers will be forced to invest in works of quality to maintain their niche. These books will be the one product that only they can deliver better than anyone else. Those same corporate executives who dictate annual returns may begin to proclaim the virtues of research and development, the great engine of growth for business. For publishers, R&D means giving authors the resources to write the best books -- works that will last, because the lasting books will, ultimately, be where the money is.

It will be interesting to see how Karp applies that sensibility to Simon & Schuster. Its eponymous imprint publishes more than 100 books each year.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Jonathan Karp. Credit: Simon & Schuster

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