Global book products generated revenues of $1.06 billion at Reader's Digest in the fiscal year ended June 30, 2002, down from revenues of $1.11 billion in fiscal 2001, according to the company's year-end filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Book sales in the North America Books and Home Entertainment group fell to $481.1 million, a decline of 8% from sales of $521.5 million in the previous year, while International book sales slipped to $582.6 million from $590 million.
Book sales in fiscal 2002 represented about 72% of the North America Books and Home Entertainment group's total revenues, which RD reported earlier this year as $670 million, a decline of 11% from fiscal 2001 (News, Aug. 5). The decline in sales for the BHE group was due in part to a 40% reduction in mailings, a reduction in the number of continuity series and general books titles released, the closing down of most of its video business and the elimination of a catalogue business. The company also closed its gifts.com venture, which fell under the BHE umbrella. With the decline in revenues, RD eliminated 289 positions in the BHE group, with about 179 of those spots cut in the fiscal fourth quarter. The remainder of the cuts took place in fiscal 2003, which began July 1.