February 17, 2018

Baker & Taylor Layoffs Target Retail, Not Libraries

By Susanne Ault

  • 60 of 3000 staffers laid off
  • Restructuring emphasizes library outreach
  • International expansion also on tap

Distributor Baker & Taylor has laid off 60 of 3000 staffers in a restructuring aimed to emphasize its library and education outreach and to reduce resources directed to home entertainment retailers.

Company chairman/CEO Thomas Morgan said that, in the library and education fields, “we are also focusing on value-added services to offer the best of breed in web-based collection development and ordering tools, technical services and workflow solutions, and other value-added products to global markets.” He said that B&T is also looking to expand its presence internationally.

“We have taken a fresh look at our organizational structure and made some adjustments, including a reduction in staff involving just under 60 people, but this should not be interpreted as a signal to the market that we are only looking to focus on library and education,” Morgan said. “We are continuing to pursue retail business that meets our financial objectives and are moving forward with a number of new retail accounts.”

Two executives, in charge of entertainment and music purchasing, have left the company. B&T has 385,000 book, music, and DVD titles in its inventory and 1.5 million titles available for order, according to its web site. Along with many library distributors, on the retail front it services Amazon.com, Borders, and Overstock.com, among others.

“During challenging economic times, it is our desire to cut all non-employee expenses first, but we will always do what is necessary to build a financially viable company to protect the greater majority of our outstanding employees,” Morgan said.

Susanne Ault is a senior reporter for Video Business.