Apocalyptic pronouncements have been made in publishing amidst the layoffs and rough economy; even megastore Borders is struggling. Barnes and Noble's chairman told the Wall Street Journal last week that "never in all my years have I seen a retail climate as poor as the one we are in;" he's preparing for a terrible holiday sales season. It might not be all bad, reports Motoko Rich in today's Times. After all, Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind sold a million copies in a year—in 1936, the middle of the Depression. Other literary types remain true to their wishful thinking: the whole nation was simply distracted by the election and that's why they weren't reading books for the last year!

“I think that people have not been reading for the past year because they’ve been checking political blogs every 20 minutes,” said Larry Weissman, a literary agent. “At some point I think people are going to say,‘You know what, this is not nourishing.’

Equally un-nourishing: Jerry Seinfeld's proposed book, which is predicted to fetch 7 figures. Oh well! There's always the Laura Bush and Sarah Palin memoirs to look forward to, although not in time to save Christmas. [Booksellers and Publishers Nervous as Holiday Season Approaches [NYT]