Wiley cuts at least 70 Indy employees in restructuring

September 30, 2013

A global restructuring by John Wiley & Sons Inc. is not sparing its Indianapolis office, where the publisher of the "For Dummies" guidebook series has axed dozens of employees over the last several months.

The U.S. Labor Department recently certified a group of 70 people who were laid off from Wiley's local composition services group as eligible for benefits under the Trade Adjustment Assistance Act, which provides two years' worth of retraining to people who lose their jobs to foreign labor markets.

Wiley, based in Hoboken, N.J., has been working with a restructuring consultant since January to identify opportunities for consolidation, offshoring or outsourcing, and simplifying operations. The company hopes to find $80 million in savings, on a run-rate basis, by the end of April. The savings will go toward profit margins and be reinvested in new digital business opportunities, Wiley has said in corporate filings.

Wiley spokeswoman Linda Dunbar said she could not answer any questions about the local office, which is at Crosspoint Boulevard in Fishers, including the number of people let go under the company's ongoing restructuring. She did reveal that companywide consolidation would bring some customer service and creative service positions to Indianapolis.

Wiley has had a substantial presence in the Indianapolis area since 2001, when it bought IDG Books, creator of the "For Dummies" series. IDG was based in California, but "For Dummies" was edited and produced locally.

The series is housed under Wiley's professional development division, which currently derives 70 percent of its revenue from print, but which the company aims to push into the digital realm with online training and assessment  tools. In its most recent annual report, Wiley said it's looking to build upon its market-leading position in certain topics, which include business, finance and accounting, and the "For Dummies" brand.

More than 200 million "Dummies" books are in print, representing more than 1,600 titles, according to Wiley.

Wiley's former consumer division, which included the Frommer's travel series, also had a presence here. Wiley sold all of those brands to various buyers in 2012, because they no longer fit with the company's new focus on research, which includes publishing scientific journals, professional development and education. 

It was unclear Monday whether, or how many, Wiley employees from the consumer division were let go due to the acquisitions.

As of April, the company had 5,400 full-time-equivalent workers worldwide. Wiley incurred $7.8 million in restructuring charges in its most recent quarter, which ended July 31, and expected to see a similar charge in the next quarter.


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