According to a report from a local newspaper, Amazon is the latest major company to plan ahead for an uncertain economic front by laying off employees. Unlike major corporations like Walmart/Sams’s Club, Carrier, AT&T, and Comcast, Amazon’s layoffs were very specific in nature and could be more a sign of the times than an economic struggle.
Amazon-owned Createspace is laying off 58 employees in its North Charleston, South Carolina office, according to the Post and Courier. These employees work specifically in authors services, namely editing, design, and marketing services. According to a letter sent to the state’s labor division, Amazon is closing the service division altogether, and will keep its book printing offices open within its nearby West Columbia location.
“After a thorough review of our service offerings, we’ve made the decision to discontinue Createspace’s paid professional editing, design and marketing services,” Amazon said in a statement. “We will work closely with impacted employees through this transition to help them find new roles within the company or assist them with pursuing opportunities outside the company.”
This is certainly unfortunate for the employees and the city, but may also speak volumes for the services that Amazon offers to self-published authors. With the abundance of platforms that connect authors to qualified freelance professionals, this could simply be a matter of reinventing the wheel: why pay full-time employees for a job that others are doing very well online?
There has already been speculation that the closing of the Createspace e-store and the launch of Amazon Paperback in beta through the KDP dashboard mean that Createspace has now outlived its usefulness. Layoffs of this kind only lend credence to that notion. Ideally, employees currently working in the print-on-demand space for Amazon will retain their positions if/when a full switch to Amazon Paperback takes place.