German Buch News: Bertelsmann Sheds 20% of Workforce; Arvato adds Digital Services Portal

In German Buch News by Siobhan O'Leary

By Siobhan O’Leary

Big news from Gütersloh this week: the Neue Westfälische reports that Bertelsmann is letting go of 130 of its 692 employees. This comes after several months of targeted cost-cutting measures in the face of losses that hit TV division RTL and Gruner + Jahr’s periodicals (both subsidiaries shrank by 10% in the first half of 2009.)

Meanwhile, Buchreport writes that Bertelsmann’s IT service provider subsidiary, Arvato, will be expanding its full-text search technology BIC Media into a Libreka-like portal for managing and distributing content. Arvato’s plan is give it a stronger position as a digital service provider.

The revamped platform will feature, among other services, a “Marketing Module” (a widget service, which has already been a key part of BIC Media’s strategy); an “E-Book Module”, (which will allow publishers to control the management and distribution of their digital products, supporting a host of formats, with DRM or without); the “iPhone Module” (a service for adapting E-Books into iPhone Apps); and the “Media Asset Management Module” (which will be expanded to allow publishers to manage their individual assets, including photos and documents). Germany’s second largest book chain Hugendubel will now be delivering its E-Books by means of the BIC System.

About the Author

Siobhan O'Leary

Siobhan O’Leary is a literary agent, translator and writer based in Berlin. She previously worked in the Foreign Rights department of the Crown Publishing Group (Random House) and at the publishing consulting firm Market Partners International.