Baker & Taylor to close retail wholesale business

Baker & Taylor to close retail wholesale business

Distributor Baker & Taylor (B&T) will shut down its retail wholesale business in a bid to align its operations with the education focus of parent company Follett Corporation. 

B&T will expand its role with public libraries as part of the “strategic shift”, announced by Follett yesterday (1st May). 

Follett Corporation president and c.e.o. Pat Connolly said: "Baker & Taylor's public library business is critical to Follett's goal of improving the quality of life in communities through learning and education. This shift for Baker & Taylor reflects our intent to focus all of Follett's capabilities, resources and investments to helping people learn, grow and thrive in communities everywhere."

Follett, which acquired B&T in 2016, serves more than 90,000 schools and school libraries in the US, Canada, and 140 countries, while Baker & Taylor supports 6,000 public library systems, representing 90 percent of all US public libraries.   

B&T president David Cully said: "Public libraries have always been core to Baker & Taylor's business, which is why this change will help accelerate the pace of innovative solutions our teams are introducing to drive community outcomes. Exiting wholesale book distribution will allow us to align our resources, technology and people to do what we do best – helping public libraries support the communities they serve." 

He added: "We will be working closely with our existing customers and partners to ensure a smooth transition during this change.” 

An estimated 500 jobs will be cut in the move, according to Publishers Weekly, but Cully did not provide a timetable for when B&T would formally exit the retail wholesale business, saying the firm will support the retail wholesale site through the summer with B&T warehouses in Bridgewater, New Jersey and Reno, Nevada closing by the end of the year. 

Follett said B&T’s  subsidiary businesses in the U.K. and Mexico are not affected by the decision. Baker & Taylor Publisher Services is also not impacted by the change and remains a “cornerstone” of B&T’s future growth strategy.  

The decision to exit the retail book distribution business follows Follett's sale of B&T’s retail entertainment products business in January of this year and comes five months after B&T and Ingram Content Group described reports that Ingram had taken steps on offering to buy the retail wholesaling operation of B&T as "speculation".