Can't resist pointing out this article from the New York Observer, which gives you an idea of what it was like inside the Macmillan offices during the layoffs.
The article also goes into great detail about how earlier publishing layoff victims are coping. Some high-profile people are still "floating," and the writer observes that
Most of the book people who have for whatever reason had to leave their jobs in the past year should not expect to find new ones if they only consider positions at the handful of New York trade houses that they’re used to working for. Instead, both Ms. Shanley and Ms. Sayre said, these people will have to make their living by doing freelance work and seeking out new outlets for their skills.
So I have to wonder: Will there be enough freelance work for everyone who seeks it? Certainly the fact that people are being laid off will necessitate that more work be sent out. But publishers are also cutting back their lists, which means less work in general.
The article then goes on to quote people bemoaning the end of the publishing world as they know it, tying it to the end of the Industrial Revolution. Well, folks, I have to agree. We are in the midst of the Information Revolution, and the way we do business and deliver information is changing. Those people who couldn't ever be bothered to learn how to edit on a computer will be the first ones left behind. Those who figure out what the trends are and adapt their skills accordingly are the ones who will lead the new publishing paradigm (whatever it may be!).