Kurt Andersen To Save Book Publishing

Kurt Andersen, whose name continues to be very difficult for the Times to spell, will finally have something to fill his days besides writing his column for New York magazine, finishing the two books he just sold, and hosting 'Studio 360.' He'll join his publisher Random House as Editor At Large, in which capacity he'll try to "find them two or three books that they publish a year." Sweet gig! But it's a less-happy day in career news for Daniel Menaker, Random House Publishing Group executive editor in chief, who will step down at the end of the month based on a decision he calls "mutual." "I cannot emphasize to you how fine I am about this," he says. Oh rly? Times bookladies Julie Bosman and Motoko Rich have an alternate theory: they think Menaker got Kunkeled.

"Some of his titles failed to flourish financially. Most recently, a first novel by Mr. Kunkel was a critical darling but sold only 15,100 copies in hardcover, according to Nielsen BookScan, which tracks most online and retail sales," they point out. They also quote an RH spokeswoman as saying that she won't "go into the details" of Menaker's leavetaking. Hmm!

But maybe Menaker's exboyfriendy-sounding protestatations of mutuality are the truth. After all, as Galleycat wisely points out, 15,000 copies "sounds perfectly legit; after all, that's why we have a paperback market, right?" Besides, Menaker will now have time to learn how to play the fiddle, something that he has "always wanted to do."

Top Editor Is Leaving Book Post [NYT]