Human Kinetics’ corporate culture reflects its people – focused, respectful, and committed to doing quality work for the many audiences we serve. Our culture enables our staff to work effectively in the constantly changing environment of the publishing world and it has resulted in Human Kinetics being named by Book Business magazine as one of the top 10 publishers to work for in the United States in each of the last two years.
The past week has been the most distressing week in our 36-year history. For the first time, we have laid off staff, regretfully parting with 30 employees. Our culture of mutual respect made taking this step extremely difficult. We agonized over this decision for the past six months as we trimmed expenses, borrowed money, and operated at a loss. Unfortunately, sales have remained low and we were left with no choice. We do not anticipate having to repeat this painful process any time in the future.
The struggling economy has particularly affected two markets in the United States: K-12 schools and consumer bookstores. High unemployment and declining property values have cut available state and local revenues for education, which has impacted our sales of physical education resources. Slower consumer spending has meant lower sales of sport instructional and fitness books.
We expect both of those markets to rebound. Working with the Cooper Clinic, we are launching later this month the new Web-based FitnessGram 9.0 state edition, which also can be used by large U.S. school districts. From New York City to the entire State of Texas, FitnessGram provides educators with a powerful resource for assessing their students’ fitness levels and then doing something about it with revised curricula. Our consumer sales will also get a lift this spring with the publication of the third edition of Strength Training Anatomy. The amazing success of that title will result in over 1 million copies being sold across the three editions by the end of 2010.
Meanwhile, Human Kinetics’ digital offerings continue to grow. Today, nearly every HK print book is published simultaneously as an e-book. The e-book s are available through HK’s own Web site, Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble’s e-bookstore, and several other online resellers. Of HK’s nearly 1,600 active products, about 600 are either electronic or video offerings.
We continue to see positive results in other areas as well. A flatter world and a low-valued U.S. dollar have enabled HK’s international business to flourish even while domestic sales have fallen. Our college market is expanding with growing college enrollments and a new array of HK print and digital textbooks with interactive ancillaries.
Our remaining staff–299 people in offices located in Champaign, IL; Windsor, Canada; Leeds, England; and Adelaide, Australia –are committed to providing the same level of excellence in developing products and delivering service that you have come to expect from Human Kinetics.
We are optimistic about the future, yet our feelings this week are tempered with sadness and regret as we say good-bye to 30 colleagues.
(Note: If you have any questions or comments about HK, feel free to e-mail me at email@example.com)