Amid continued attention (and press coverage) for its ongoing terms dispute with Amazon, the Hachette Book Group has announced a round of layoffs. A statement from the publisher said the move is part of a "cost-saving initiative" to improve its "resilience to a changing marketplace."
Reports have the reductions at 28 positions, about 3% of Hachette's U.S. staff, and PW has heard that a handful of high-placed editors are among those affected. Hachette, however, said it will not confirm the names of the employees who have been let go.
While the timing seems to point to its fight with Amazon as a reason for the cuts, the realignment has been in the works for awhile. In early May, HBG parent company Lagardere reported that worldwide first quarter sales results were down 6.2%. In a statement at the time, HBG CEO Michael Pietsch said the U.S. first-quarter results were "slightly below budget," but that gross profit was "ahead of budget."
The rest of Hachette's statement about the layoffs said they will "improve efficiency and balance throughout" the company. It also said the layoffs were "essential to our company's continued growth, and our ability to carry out our primary goal: to publish our authors' work with passion, originality, and impact."