HMH buying freeze 'out of context'

<p>Reports of a buying freeze at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is news to the publisher of one its imprints, according to the Associated Press. Reports stated earlier this week that HMH, the US publisher of the likes of Philip Roth and Guenter Grass, had &quot;temporarily stopped&quot; buying books, in response to the economic crisis. </p><p>However, Otto Penzler, whose Otto Penzler Books specialises in mystery books, doesn&#39;t work in the Harcourt offices and therefore asked whether the information was true. He explained: &quot;I was told that it had been blown out of proportion and that there was simply some belt-tightening going on. I asked, &#39;Does this mean I can keep buying books?&#39; &#39;Absolutely,&#39; I was told.&quot;</p><p>Penzler says the information came from a high-level Harcourt Houghton executive, whom he declined to publicly name, saying he wanted to preserve the official&#39;s privacy.</p><p>HMH spokesman Josef Rosenfeld has called the current policy &quot;freeze-lite,&quot; although cracks keep appearing. Rosenfeld confirmed that education and children&#39;s books are still being acquired, did not dispute Penzler&#39;s assertions and added that the &quot;right&quot; book, of any kind, would still be considered. He said talk of a freeze had been taken out of context.</p>