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H.B. Fenn Announces Bankruptcy

February 07, 2011

Canada's largest book distributor, H.B. Fenn announced it has filed for bankruptcy protection. The move puts 125 employees out of work and would impact largely on the Canadian book publishing scene.

Established in 1977, H.B. Fenn distributes books for over 90 publishers and inprints. In a statement from the company, it claims to have "encountered significant financial challenges due to the loss of distribution lines, shrinking margins and the significant shift to e-books, all of which have significantly reduced the company's revenues."

The company was dealt a large blow at the start of 2009 when multinational giant Hachette Group announced it will sell directly to Canadians out of its a Toronto publicity and marketing office and shipping from its warehouse in Indianapolis.

H.B. Fenn's major remaining account, Macmillian, put out an announcement calling for booksellers to make purchases through wholesellers, namely Tenessee-based Ingram Book Company. The company said it was working on new arrangements for distribution in Canada.

H.B. Fenn owns Key Porter Books, which had a major restructuring last year which eliminated two-thirds of its staff. The company was acquired by H.B. Fenn seven years ago and publishes major works from Canadian authors such as Margaret Atwood and Farley Mowat.

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