In June, John Sargent, CEO of Macmillan, sent a memo to staff outlining plans to change their leadership structure. “It is clear that we have to change who occupies the seats at the table when the important decisions are being made.” They plan to create a new Trade Management committee with 13 members “who will meet regularly to decide on the key issues for Macmillan” and “focus on running the overall company.” One member will be the head of Diversity and Inclusion. Sargent will not take part in the committee, and will withdraw from day-to-day operations “to make room for new voices.” Macmillan’s units “remain as independent companies.” Macmillan president Don Weisberg and chief operations officer Andrew Weber wrote, “Creating true systemic change that is successful and sustainable is difficult and will require company-wide effort. We have a lot to do, and we need to be more focused and determined to make this happen quickly.” They cited a need for “more diversity in the titles we publish, more committed positioning and marketing of these titles, more hiring and promotion of diverse staff, more inclusivity in the decision-making process, and more open dialogue throughout the organization.” They say the new structure “fundamentally changes the group of people at the table where key decisions are made concerning our company strategy and priorities.”
The American Booksellers Association has announced plans to remedy their “lack of representation and diversity on the board.” They will expand their board to include 13 directors, plan to appoint two Black booksellers right away, and will institute a bylaw saying four of the 13 seats must be held by Black, indigenous, or PoC members. President Jamie Fiocco says, “In ABA’s history there has only been one Black board director. We wish to acknowledge our failures and focus on actual system changes to ensure the erasure of Black voices no longer continues.”
Aconyte Books (the fiction imprint of game company Asmodee Entertainment) now has a distribution deal with Simon & Schuster in the UK. S&S will handle distribution in the UK starting with Aconyte’s launch in October; Simon & Schuster USA is already handling North American distribution.
Book wholesaler Bertram’s has entered bankruptcy administration, and is in the process of liquidating its assets, including “38,763 various titles in a total quantity of 292,576 books.” Most of its nearly 460 employees have been fired, with those left only employed “to manage the winding down of operations.” Bertram’s was a major wholesaler in the UK. The company says, “Book wholesalers have suffered from falling demand in recent years due to changes in the distribution model for literature and the rising popularity of e-books. These factors, combined with the COVID-19 related closure of many public libraries and educational facilities, meant these businesses could no longer operate viably.”
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