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Questia: A Company That Offers an Online Library Lays Off Half ItsEmployees

Of possible interest, from today's Online Chronicle of Higher Education.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 29 Nov 2001 17:19:52 -0500 (EST)
From: jod@sas.upenn.edu
Subject: A Company That Offers an Online Library Lays Off Half Its Employees

  Thursday, November 29, 2001

  A Company That Offers an Online Library Lays Off Half Its


  Questia Media laid off half of its staff members this month.
  The company, which operates a database of nearly 70,000
  e-books, has been trying to market its services to
  undergraduates, high-school students, and even some college
  libraries. However, the subscriptions -- at $19.95 a month --
  have not sold as well as company officials had planned.

  Although Questia started the year with 280 employees, only 68
  remain now. In May, the company laid off 140 employees as it
  slowed its production of digitized books.

  Ann M. Brimberry, a spokeswoman for the company, said the
  latest layoffs were an attempt to hunker down during bad
  economic times. "With the world events and the economic
  environment, it was prudent for us to conserve the capital and
  reduce expenses," she said, adding that the layoffs had hit
  every part of the company but mainly the engineering and
  operations departments.

  However, Ms. Brimberry said that the company had attracted
  more investors since the end of September and would  announce
  the amount raised near the end of the year. From May until the
  end of September, the company attracted $16-million in venture
  capital. Before that, Questia had raised $135-million from

  She added, "What we're seeing week over week is subscriber
  increases at a really good rate." She would not reveal that
  rate now, however; the company might release that information
  when it announces the new financing. Questia is not yet
  profitable, but company officials hope to be in the black by
  the end of 2002.



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