The technology blog The Digital Reader has reported that “massive layoffs” have hit Safari Books Online, a digital subscription service specializing in technical and business content. According to the report, the company's CEO Andrew Savikas is among those who have been cut.
Savikas confirmed that he is leaving Safari in a post on Medium. SBO is owned O’Reilly Media, and Savikas said, in his post, that as "O’Reilly works to fully integrate Safari with the rest of their operations, [O’Reilly founder] Tim O’Reilly and I agreed this was the right time for me to step away.”
TDR reported that Savikas is leaving SBO as part of a restructuring effort following O’Reilly Media’s August 2014 acquisition of its partner Pearson’s stake in the company. (O’Reilly bought out Pearson to become the sole owner of SBO.)
Savikas’s departure will undoubtedly put a spotlight on SBO's future performance. The company is one of a handful in the book business testing the viability of the subscription e-book model. And, although focused on the business and IT marketplace, SBO, one of the first e-book subscription companies, has long been considered a successful example of the model. Other services have followed it, such s as Scribd and the now-defunct Oyster.
Since its launch, SBO has grown to offer more than 25,000 titles (including books, online classes and video), building a membership of more than 1 million users.
SBO will come under even more scrutiny in the wake of the failure of Oyster, another e-book subscription service that shut down operations in 2015, and efforts by Scribd to revamp its business model.