Penguin blames a shift towards ebooks as it considers cutting 225 jobs

More and more readers are ditching hard copies and going digital

Penguin, publishing , books, business

Tim Ireland / PA

Penguin Random House, the entity which was created in 2013 when the two publishers joined forces, has announced that it is likely to cut 225 jobs in the UK.

"Proposing to part company with colleagues is never easy," chief executive of Penguin Random House UK, Tom Weldon said.

He continued, "Making this proposal has been a difficult but thoroughly considered and necessary action which we believe will enable us to better match market requirements and continue to deliver the excellent distribution service for which we are known."

The publisher added that this move comes after, "an extensive strategic review prompted by a changing marketplace."

Workers at the company's warehouse in Rugby, Warwickshire face an anxious wait to see if the company will reduce its head count.

It has put this down to a continued fall-off in the demand for physical books as readers migrate to ebooks and reading on electronic devices.

The company has published some of 2015's most lucrative titles, including Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman and EL James latest book in the '50 Shades' series, Grey. 

Unite regional officer Peter Coulson highlights the effects that shifts in habits and technology are having on workers, "The revolution in reading habits, with ebooks becoming more popular, has put these 225 jobs at risk. Printed book sales fell by 5% in the UK last year.

"It is a worrying time for employees and their families, especially in the run-up to Christmas, and is a real blow to the local economy."

Retail Ireland is predicting that Ireland will go on its biggest December spending spree since Christmas 2008 in the coming weeks - but book sales have been highlighted as one of the areas which have continued to struggle while the economy has improved.

"Categories such as electronics, fashion, footwear and furniture are all outperforming the market but growth in other categories such as books, news and stationery and groceries remains weak," Thomas Burke of Retail Ireland said commenting on the current trends on Ireland's high streets.