The layoffs across the tech business are hitting digital publishing as well. Earlier this month, Wattpad quietly laid off 42 people of its total workforce of 267 people, according to a press release. The firm had added nearly 100 employees in the past two years, following its acquisition by Korea's Naver in 2021.
"The reality is the conditions that have historically enabled us to make bold moves have changed, and we are operating in a very different environment today," a release stated. "After nearly doubling the size of our teams, it’s now clear that we need to recalibrate based on our current business needs and realities."
Wattpad has made several changes to retain and foster the young writing talent that made it a popular platform for self-publishing and other forms of social writing. Last year, it began offering writers greater incentives, some of which could result in earnings of up to $25,000 a year. This came on top of the company's Paid Stories program, which has paid writers more than $3 million. And the company has also been ramping up its print book business.
In January, president Jeanne Lam left Wattpad after eight years with the company and 18 months as president. She was replaced by KB Nam as interim president. Previously, Nam was the head of strategy and research at Naver Webtoon.