TW, Bertelsmann to merge book groups

Club will be world's largest

NEW YORK — In an attempt to make up ground lost to the superstores and online book sellers, Time Warner’s Book of the Month Club and Bertelsmann’s Doubleday Direct are partnering to form the largest book club in the world.

Objective of the merger is to allow the two to exchange data and offer a larger selection of books at a greater discount to members of the Book of the Month Club and Doubleday’s large-scale and niche clubs. In the niche market, BOMC is known for its children’s and history book groups, while Doubleday runs the popular Literary Guild and military book clubs.

“We want to accelerate our momentum and make the technological and operational investments necessary to serve existing members and attract more book lovers to our clubs,” said BOMC chair George Artandi. “But to make those investments, we need to enhance our economic resourcefulness, which we will do by partnering with Doubleday Direct.”

The partnership of the two clubs, which have been struggling to hold on to members in recent years, continues a trend of massive consolidation in both the editorial and sales departments of Gotham’s major pubberies, including Random House, Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins.

While the merger is expected to create redundancies, neither Bertelsmann nor Time Warner would comment on potential layoffs resulting from the joint venture.

According to a Doubleday spokesman, who will run the newly merged entity and what it will be called have not been decided.

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