SAGE Publishing, a global publishing house specialising in academic books, journals, reference and library products and services is shutting its book publishing division in India.
In an email to its India employees on Thursday, Blaise R Simqu, chief executive officer, wrote, “We have recently made a very difficult but carefully thought through decision about the SAGE India book program. Over many years now our attempts to make domestic book publishing at SAGE India commercially viable have faced significant challenges and the pandemic has only made it more problematic. What we have reluctantly and unfortunately concluded is that despite these many efforts the combination of low-price points and the lack of an established adoption market as well as other external factors (including the prevailing COVID situation) have proved an impossible hurdle for us to climb despite our best efforts over the past several years…While we remain committed to our mission to support the dissemination of usable knowledge and to educate a global community, we have decided to divest the SAGE India book program.”
The letter, signed by Simqu and Sonia Kumar, executive lead for SAGE India and finance director, further noted, “We want to reinforce that this decision is very specific to books, it does not affect our thriving domestic and imported journal publishing, nor the marketing and selling into India of imported Sage books that continues to be an important part of the international book program…”
The layoff process has begun, with nearly 70 employees already told of their termination. “SAGE has always been a great company to work for. But the firing process has been brutal and humiliating. People have been given no chance to speak, made to sign NDAs and told to hand in their resignation letters with immediate effect,” said a company insider, on conditions of anonymity. Others expressed concern over the fact that this decision will shrink the space for original academic publishing from South Asia.
SAGE was founded in New York in 1965 and is currently headquartered in California. Its India arm was established by founder and chair Sara Miller McCune in 1981 together with George McCune and Tejeshwar Singh. The publishing house specialises in books on social science, medicine, technology, science and humanities.