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continuing losses from its book division, Rodale Press, the Emmaus,
Penn.-based publisher announced on Wednesday, Oct. 17 that it would
eliminate 148 jobs, approximately 13 percent of its workforce.
While the company’s magazines, which include Men’s Health, Backpacker,
Mountain Bike, Runner’s World, have remained profitable, increasing
costs such as postage, printing and salaries in the book division
dragged the company into the red in 1999 and 2000.
Although the book division took the biggest hit, layoffs affected every
division, including Backpacker. John Viehman, Backpacker’s publisher,
told SNEWSÂ®, “It is a big correction for us certainly, but the important
thing to remember here is that the entire publishing industry is
struggling. It is, perhaps, one of the worst years the publishing
industry has ever faced.”
“While Backpacker is not having as good a year as it has in the past,
compared to other niche magazines, we are doing very well,” added
Viehman. “The good news is we are doing better than most. The bad news
is we are not doing as well as we need.”
And, when sales don’t grow as fast as fixed costs, meaning people, eliminations are inevitable.
Viehman told SNEWSÂ® that on the editorial side, Backpacker has
eliminated four positions — an assistant art director, a copy editor,
a field editor (Michele Morris, the northeast editor), and an online
editor position that was vacant and now won’t be filled. In addition,
two sales positions were trimmed, however, more sales staff may be
added in the weeks to come in different parts of the country to meet
the advertising sales needs of the magazine said Viehman.