Bertelsmann recently acquired Bookspan in a merger, and as a result, 280 employees and several book club groups will be phased out over the next 12-24 months. Although a complete list of the clubs being closed was not available, among those which will be shut are the conservative club, American Compass as well as InsightOut Book Club, which is aimed at the gay community. Other clubs being closed include Behavioral Science Book Service, Early Childhood Teachers's Club, Nurse's Book Society and Equestrian's Edge. The clubs will be phased out over the rest of the year and members will be given the chance to transfer to a different club. Books from some clubs will also be made available through the general interest and other specialized clubs.
This will also be killing the Science Fiction Book Club, despite numerous reports by Bookspan representatives denying it.
SFBC Senior Editor Ellen Asher has been offered an early retirement package, and other editor for the group, Andrew Wheeler - who was the one who procured most of SFBC's comics related and media related properties - has been let go or will be let go entirely (details are sketchy) after 15 years of service with the company.
I'd say that effectively kills the club, don't you? Supposedly while contracts for the SFBC will be fulfilled through the Doubleday system, effectively the SF, Fantasy and Comics industry just lost a valuable distribution source for their products.
Bookspan will now be merged into the BMG Columbia House label.