Harper Collins to Close Lackawanna County Warehouse

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THROOP -- The future doesn't look so bright for a publishing warehouse in Lackawanna County.

Shutting down the Harper Collins warehouse in Throop is part of the company's plans to scale back operations and lay off some 200 workers.

Harper Collins was once a book publishing giant in the U.S. Its warehouse in the Keystone Industrial Park in Throop is one of its last large facilities. But, corporate officials announced this week that Harper Collins has been hit hard by the growth of e-books and as a cost-saving measure, part of the facility in Throop will shut down next year.

For decades, Harper Collins Publishing sent mostly school books all around the world from a warehouse in the Keystone Industrial Park in Throop. But, as the company says it's getting fewer shipment orders, its shipping will soon be handled by another company, and many of the jobs here will be lost.

"It was home, it had become home for a lot of us. So, it's sad, and to take another hit like this in this area, it's bad," said Mary Zayac, a former Harper Collins employee.

Zayac recently retired from Harper Collins. She worked in the warehouse for 19 years. She was saddened, but not surprised, to hear that many of her former co-workers will lose their jobs.

Zayac believes the layoffs are a way for Harper Collins to stay afloat while the book market is changing.

"I just hope that there's something they can salvage of it. They'll have New York and they'll have News Corp. But, that's not here so I don't know what it can do for this area," added Zayac.

The Throop facility is one of only two Harper Collins distribution centers left in the U.S. But, corporate officials say come next summer Harper Collins won't ship any of its own books anymore.

Harper Collins blames the advent of e-books for the company's decline. Its distribution will now be handled by another struggling publishing company, RR Donnelley.

But, many people in Lackawanna County wish the jobs were staying here.

"There's aren't so many jobs, people are needing jobs in the area and they're going to get rid of 200 or some jobs. That's a big chunk," said Ashley McGavitt of Pittston.

"The printed text is going by the wayside, it's unfortunate, and it's costing these people jobs," added Mike Quinn of Lake Ariel.

Harper Collins says the warehouse will close sometime next summer. But, some employees will still work in Throop. The company's IT, sales, and customer support departments will still be housed in the building.