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All of the more than 100 people who worked on the continuity series at Time Life Books have been let go. Staff members were told of the cuts on Monday, said officials at Time Inc., New York. Time Life Books is a unit of Time Life Inc. and was one of the world's largest direct marketers of books, music and videos.
"About half of these positions were involved with the production, marketing, editorial and sales of the books, and the other half were involved in fulfillment and customer service," said Time spokesman Peter Costiglio.
The book division's main business was the continuity club business, which distributed 30 million books a year around the world. Most of the continuity book series were do-it-yourself, history and cooking books. Recent collections included "Our American Century," "The Williams-Sonoma Lifestyles Collection" and "The Civil War Collection."
The production, marketing, editorial and sales departments were based in Time Life's main office in Alexandria, VA, and fulfillment departments were located in Richmond, VA, and Indianapolis. The other divisions of Time Life, including Time Life Music and Time Life International, will remain intact. In addition, a small core of Time Life Books that does trade book publishing will remain.
Over the past year, Costiglio said, Time Life scaled back its books operation because "the division is not in line with its goals. We looked at the business and reviewed it and examined it quite carefully, and it didn't fit in with the growth strategy of Time Life going forward."
Time Life Books is known for its massive computerized customer database, but Costiglio would not comment on what the company will do with it now that operations have ceased.
Costiglio said no other cuts are planned in Time Inc.'s other direct marketing divisions, including BookSpan, Time Inc. Custom Publishing and Targeted Media Inc. Other Time Inc. cuts included more than 200 people who worked at a magazine fulfillment center in Birmingham, AL. This center is closing down, and magazines will be fulfilled through Time's Tampa, FL, facility.
The layoffs were part of a massive restructuring that the newly merged AOL-Time Warner Inc., the world's largest media company, announced this week. The company will eliminate more than 2,000 jobs in a move to slim down operations and deliver on financial promises to Wall Street.