As part of a companywide effort to reduce costs, Amazon has eliminated an unspecified number of jobs in its Books business. Word of the reductions came in a letter sent yesterday to employees from CEO Andy Jassy describing “role eliminations” in its Books and Devices units.

“Today, I want to share some information about role eliminations. We are in the middle of our annual operating planning review where we look at each of our businesses and make decisions about what we believe we should change” the letter stated. “Yesterday, we communicated the difficult decision to eliminate a number of positions across our Devices and Books businesses, and also announced a voluntary reduction offer for some employees in our People, Experience, and Technology (PXT) organization.”

The letter came after the company implemented a hiring freeze and announced plans to reduce the size of its workforce. Downsizing efforts are expected to continue into next year, Jassy indicated. “Our annual planning process extends into the new year, which means there will be more role reductions as leaders continue to make adjustments. Those decisions will be shared with impacted employees and organizations early in 2023. We haven’t concluded yet exactly how many other roles will be impacted (we know that there will be reductions in our Stores and PXT organizations), but each leader will communicate to their respective teams when we have the details nailed down.”

At press time, it wasn’t clear where exactly cuts in the Books group took place; Amazon's Books business spans all of the e-tailer's operations that deal with books, from its online stores to its Kindle operations. The cuts follow the decision made by the company this summer to significantly reduce book orders as it worked to sell down the mountain of inventory it acquired to meet the demand for books during the pandemic. At that time, an Amazon spokesperson said the company remained committed to its book business. A spokesperson issued a similar statement this morning, telling PW, “We remain as committed as ever to the book business and to working closely with authors, publishers, and sellers around the world to offer the best experience for readers."

Nevertheless, the latest news is likely to add more fuel to the feeling within publishing that Amazon is losing interest in its book business. Earlier this month, HarperCollins pointed to a significant drop in orders from the e-tailer as the primary reason its sales fell 11% in the quarter ended September 30. HC CEO Brian Murray told PW business with Amazon had picked up in the fall and he hoped the worst of the ordering decline was over.