Bertelsmann to shut German book club business, says model has no future in changing market

BERLIN – Media group Bertelsmann AG says it will shut down its book club business in the German-speaking world at the end of next year, closing a business that was once a driver of the company’s growth.

Bertelsmann’s DirectGroup unit said Tuesday it decided to close the book club business in Germany, Austria and Switzerland because it has become clear that “the club’s business model no longer has a sustainable economic perspective” in the regional market.

The company cited customers’ decreasing willingness to commit themselves to clubs and the “far-reaching change” in the book trade over recent years. In Germany, as elsewhere, online sales have eaten into traditional booksellers’ business.