Baker & Taylor

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Baker & Taylor
Founded 1828
Country of origin United States
Headquarters location Charlotte, North Carolina
Owner(s) Follett Corporation
Official website

Baker & Taylor, a distributor of books and entertainment, has been in business for over 180 years.[1] It is based in Charlotte, North Carolina and currently owned by Follett Corporation. Before being acquired by Follett in 2016, Baker & Taylor had $2.26 billion in sales, employed 3,750, and was #204 on Forbes list of privately owned companies in 2008.[2]


Baker & Taylor's core business unit focuses on sales/distribution of physical media product (i.e., books, calendars and secondarily music CDs, DVD discs, Blu-ray discs) and digital book content (i.e., e-books and e-spoken word audio), and collection development and processing services to public libraries throughout the world (USA mainly). Of late, Digital book content is available through the company's Axis 360 platform via the Blio app or the Axis360 app.[3] Its retail unit distributes an estimated 1 million book titles and non-core business materials; music CDs, DVDs, and Blu-ray discs to a declining number of brick and mortar retailers, Internet sites (, CDUniverse,, booksellers (indie shops & Barnes & Noble), craft stores (Michaels), department stores (tbd) and several comic book stores.[4]

Baker & Taylor announced in 6/2018 an alignment with education and training provider, the for-profit school, PA's Penn Foster to provide working adults with skills development and training programs free via their local public library. Specifically, the plan is to make Penn Foster’s library of “competency-based, career-aligned courses and playlists, including foundational career readiness skills, soft skills, and degree and certificate programs,” available to public library patrons through Baker & Taylor’s digital book platform. [5] Unfortunately, Penn Forster has a dubious history in providing applicable training, as noted by this complaint concerning the usability of course credits issued by the school. [6]

Ownership history[edit]

Castle Harlan Partners was Baker & Taylor's majority owner, having acquired it from the investment firm Willis Stein & Partners.[7] In 1994, it[which?] the Follett Corporation of River Grove, Illinois had intended to acquire Baker & Taylor from the then majority holder, the Carlyle Group, which was looking to sell its interest to concentrate on the defense industry.[8]

Arnie Wight became president of the company on May 23, 2007.[9] Jack Eugster became chairman and chief executive officer, replacing Richard Willis, on January 4, 2008.[10][11] Thomas Morgan took over the CEO role on July 7, 2008.[12] In January 2014, George Coe replaced both Wight and Morgan as president and CEO.[13]. in May 2017, after one month as Follett/B&T CEO/Pres., George Coe departed the company and former B&N retail exec, NJ office based David Cully was named president of B&T.

In February 2015, Baker and Taylor's publishing group and U,S. marketing services were acquired by Readerlink Distribution Services.[14] Under the acquisition agreement, Readerlink took over ownership of the firm's 504,000 sq. ft. Indianapolis distribution center, as well as their general offices in San Diego and editorial offices in Ashland, Oregon.[14] Baker and Taylor (UK) and B&T (Mexico) were not included in the acquisition, and will remain subsidiaries of Baker & Taylor.[14] A Readerlink spokesperson said no offices, distribution centers, or operational changes were planned, and indicated that all current management and employees of the acquired divisions were joining the Readerlink.[14]

In April 2016, Baker and Taylor was acquired by the Follett Corporation of Westchester, Illinois. According to The Chicago Tribune, the deal may boost the privately held Follett’s annual revenue by as much as 40 percent—from $2.6 billion to $3.6 billion.[15] and resulted in senior mgmt changes at B&T.


In 1999, Baker & Taylor paid a settlement of $3 million USD to the U.S. government to settle a federal lawsuit. The suit claimed that Baker & Taylor had overcharged the federal government, as well as state and local libraries using federal funds. These charges occurred after 1992, when Baker & Taylor was sold by its then-parent company, W. R. Grace and Company. Baker & Taylor denied all allegations.[16][17]

In other matters (one is unrelated to the $3M settlement) B&T has had other legal problems, notably; U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois entered on July 10, 2013 a consent decree resolving a lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against Baker & Taylor, Inc., a leading distributor of print and digital book content to libraries and retailers. The decree resolves Case No. 1:13 cv 03729, which was assigned to U.S. District Judge John Nordberg.[18]

Book wholesaler Baker & Taylor and its former parent company W. R. Grace agreed August 2 to pay $15.5 million to settle allegations that they overcharged schools and libraries for books over more than 10 years. B&T, after spending five years in litigation with the U.S. government over an alleged violation of the False Claims Act, settled with the Department of Justice in July 1999 in return for release from all federal civil liability. [19]


In 2009, Baker & Taylor bought the North American arm of Blackwell UK as well as Blackwell's Australian library supplier, James Bennett. In return, Blackwell acquired the UK-based Lindsay and Croft from Baker & Taylor. Blackwell's North American division was merged into Baker & Taylor's YBP Library Services.[20]

Baker & Taylor sold two business divisions in 2/2015, YBP Library Services (YBP) was acquired by EBSCO Publishing, Inc. and Baker & Taylor Marketing Services' U.S.-based warehouse club business (BTMS US) and Baker & Taylor Publishing Group (BTPG) were acquired by Readerlink Distribution Services, LLC. Sales terms were not disclosed. "These transactions allow Baker & Taylor to focus on our core business (Adult print materials) and new opportunities within those businesses and markets," said George Coe, then CEO of Baker & Taylor.[21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Baker & Taylor". Archived from the original on 9 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-01. 
  2. ^ "America's Largest Private Companies". Retrieved 2015-09-02. 
  3. ^ "axis360 App Zone". Queens Public Library. Retrieved November 19, 2014. 
  4. ^ "About Baker & Taylor: Our Business". Retrieved 2015-09-02. 
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Castle Harlan Completes Purchase of Baker & Taylor, Leading Distributor of Books to Libraries and Stores". Retrieved 2015-09-02. 
  8. ^ "Baker & Taylor being sold. (Baker and Taylor Inc. Baker and Taylor Video)". Video Business. Retrieved 2008-06-01. [dead link]
  9. ^ Johnson, Jenny. "Baker & Taylor Appoints New President". Baker & Taylor. Retrieved 31 July 2015. 
  10. ^ "Baker & Taylor Chief Executive Officer Resigns: Eugster Appointed Chairman" (pdf). Retrieved 2008-06-01. [dead link]
  11. ^ "Baker & Taylor Chief Executive Officer Resigns: Eugster Appointed Chairman". Retrieved 31 July 2015. 
  12. ^ "Morgan Replaces Eugster As CEO of Baker & Taylor". Retrieved 31 July 2015. 
  13. ^ Price, Gary (17 January 2014). "Leadership: Baker & Taylor Names George Coe as Company's New Chief Executive Officer and President". Library Journal. Retrieved 31 July 2015. 
  14. ^ a b c d Jim Milliot, Jim (23 February 2015). "Readerlink Buys B&T Publishing, Warehouse Units", Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 20 December 2015
  15. ^ Tribune, Chicago. "Blockbuster book deal: Follett buys Baker & Taylor". Retrieved 2016-04-18. 
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^ Milliot, Jim (8 December 2009). "Baker & Taylor Acquires Blackwell North America". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 31 July 2015. 
  21. ^

External links[edit]