Quick Note: Llewellyn Talks Finances in a Post-Borders World

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  October 24, 2011 — 15 Comments

Minnesota newspaper the Star Tribune does a profile of local business Llewellyn Worldwide, the largest publisher of Pagan and metaphysical books. In the article owner Carl Weschcke addresses the recent collapse of Borders, which cost the company half a million dollars, saying they’ve managed to stay profitable.

Carl Llewellyn Weschcke with author John Michael Greer

Carl Weschcke with author John Michael Greer

The company has weathered the Great Recession despite losing $500,000 in the Borders bankruptcy, Weschcke said. He credited stringent controls put in place by his wife, and company president, Sandra Weschcke, for keeping the company profitable despite the Borders loss. Their son Gabe Weschcke is Llewellyn’s vice president. The company ended its 2011 fiscal year June with $15 million in sales. “For every change, there is opportunity,” Weschcke said. “The main thing is to recognize change and be flexible and say that change is not bad. The only things that are bad are taxes.”

The article also discusses plans to expand more into fiction, and the central role the business plays to metaphysical booksellers. Quote: “Joseph A. Amara, vice president of business development and an owner of Magus Books in Dinkytown, said that Llewellyn is “one of the great pillars” of its industry.” Considering how close-lipped the company is about its finances and internal workings (they wouldn’t talk on-the-record to me about the Borders closure), its nice to get some news from a company that’s so central to the Pagan economy.

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  • Kelly NicDruegan

    “Minnesota newspaper the Star Tribune does a profile of local business Llewellyn Worldwide, the largest publisher of Pagan and metaphysical books”

    Must make Michele Bachmann nuts (okay… MORE nuts) to have the largest publisher of “evil” Pagan and occult books located in her home state. Gods forbid she should actually *read* some of the books they publish. She might actually learn something.

    • Baruch Dreamstalker

      I cracked up at a Michele Bachmann CNN quip I saw in my allergist’s waiting room, about her New Hampshire staff quitting: “She may not believe in evolution but her staff believes in survival of the fittest.”

  • Charles Cosimano

    Were they having a beard contest?

  • Kilmrnock

    The bit about Bachmann is funny . But i too am glad to hear Llewellyn is doing ok, i was worried that having to absorb the borders debt would do them in . We , the pagan community , have way too few good resources to be loosing one of our best .I personaly have to admit that Cunninghams work was a great influence on me in my early journeys on this path so many years ago.W/O Llewellyn and publishers like them our community would be not as rich as it presently is . Books like Cunninghams are many a newbie’s first introduction into the Pagan ways .Btw i like beards , have one meself ………….i too am a loyal member of ” The Brothers of the Bush” . And just for the record i believe shaving is barbaric , and denying a mans true image . Kilm

  • John Thomas

    As long as Llewellyn has Silver Ravenwolf churning out bunny food and airheads chomping it up they’ll never go broke.

    • ChaosTech

      Hey they have more serious Occult books like Modern Magick, The Golden Dawn, and Three Books of Occult Philosophy. It’s not all Wicca fluff.

    • Grimmorrigan

      Oh the old ignore the good stuff that comes from a publisher because they also make crap. Everyone craps sir. You want us to dismiss you because you make a pit stop once in awhile?

  • Raksha

    They’re expanding into fiction? That’s great! I can’t get enough Pagan-themed fiction!

    • http://pinkpolarity.livejournal.com/ Polarity

      They’ve been into fiction for a long time. Check the “history” section of any book of theirs about Wicca.

  • Steven

    To clarify, Llewellyn Worldwide has launched two fiction imprints in the past six years. Midnight Ink is an award-winning adult mystery paperback press, and FLUX publishes fiction for Young Adults and debuted the New York Times bestselling authors Carrie Jones, Simone Elkeles and Maggie Stiefvater. Neither publish New Age or Pagan-oriented fiction, and have strict editorial direction focused on their respective genres. Find out more by visiting http://www.fluxnow.com and http://www.midnightinkbooks.com.

  • Kilmrnock

    We were all newbies once , take a few moments to remember those days , atho i found ravenwolfs stuff a wee bit too fem slanted . Bunny food , i like that .For me that was many yrs ago , but i do barely remember the new found wonder , the feeling of coming home, of finding a place where i truely belonged .Twas wonderful . We need to help our newbies along , for the serous ones , guild them past the fluff bunny stage .Some will always be fluff bunnies , those we can’t help ………just tolerate the best we can . Kilm

    • Thelettuceman

      And in the end, to guide them out of that stage, I typically tell them to avoid books with the Lewellyn logo on the binding.

  • Jennifer

    Not only is Llewellyn located in Michele Bachmann’s home state, it’s located in her *home district.* About 15 miles from her home in Stillwater, MN. A particularly satisfying bit of irony.

  • Pitch313

    If we assume that Llewllyn sold books to Borders at 50% off retail, then the closing involved $1,000,000 in Pagan and metaphysical printed books. Borders had the 3rd greatest market share. So a lot of books remain available in the surviving retail market.

    More, in fact, than I’d have guessed.

    • Steven

      The comment re: $1,000,000 in Pagan and metaphysical books is not technically accurate. Llewellyn publishes a broad range of books encompassing a significant quantity of straight-up New Age and Mind Body Spirit titles aimed at a broader mainstream market, and has done so for years. Llewellyn also has one of the largest lines of Paranormal titles in the industry, which in the marketplace is categorized as entertainment. Borders was the 2nd largest market for Young Adult fiction, so a large segment of those dollars was FLUX titles. Strictly Pagan-oriented and purely metaphysical/occult titles, though a significant and fundamental part of Llewellyn’s past and future seasonal lists, encompass approximately 10-15% of the publishing company’s total title base. Even with these percentages and breadth of subject matter, Llewellyn remains the leader in both quantity and content, of Wiccan/Pagan and metaphysical titles.