German Media Giant Bertelsmann to Sell More Book Clubs | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 16.07.2008
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German Media Giant Bertelsmann to Sell More Book Clubs

German media multinational Bertelsmann, which disposed last week of its US book-club businesses, has put direct-sale operations in more nations up for sale.

Bertelsmann shop

Bertelsmann book clubs will remain open in just a few European countries

The pullout underlines the major changes afoot at the family-controlled television-broadcast and book-publishing company. However, Bertelsmann said on Tuesday, July 15, that it would keep book-club operations in Italy and several other profitable European markets.

"We have decided to initiate the sale process for our businesses in Australia, Britain, New Zealand, the Netherlands and Flanders, Poland, Russia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Ukraine," Bertelsmann Chief Executive Officer Hartmut Ostrowski said in a letter.

He added Bertelsmann would keep its German, Italian and French operations, as well as those in Spain and Portugal.

The document, addressed to the employees of Direct Group, the company's global book-club division, was seen by DPA news agency.

Internet downloads make for stiff competition

Direct Group sells books, CD music and DVD movies by mail. The business model, which has suffered with the advent of music and movie recording downloads, requires buyers to commit themselves to regular purchases in exchange for discounts.

On Friday, Bertelsmann, which is based in Guetersloh, Germany, disposed of its US direct-sale operations to private-equity investor Najafi Companies, based in Phoenix, Arizona.

The group has also been backing out of making music recordings as sales in that sector slump.

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