O?Reilly Media laid off 30 employees on Thursday in a restructuring effort intended to help the influential Sebastopol tech publisher weather the economic downturn.

?We?re being hit by the economic malaise,? said Sara Winge, a spokeswoman for the company.

The layoffs included 21 employees at its Sebastopol headquarters. The rest were staff from its Cambridge, Mass., office and remote workers. The cuts affected almost 14 percent the company?s 222 employees.

O?Reilly Media made a name for itself as a publisher of high-tech books and an early advocate of the Internet.

Its 1992 book ?The Whole Internet User?s Guide,? was named one of the most significant books of the 20th century by the New York Public Library. In 1993, it created the world?s first commercial Web site, Global Network Navigator, which it later sold to AOL.

More recently, it expanded its operations to include online publishing, conferences and its traditional print publishing business. Those three areas comprised the bulk of its about $70 million in revenue in 2007.

The layoffs occurred throughout the company?s divisions, and in the midst of an economic recession hitting both technology and publishing companies, Winge said.

Just this week, for example, both tech giant Google and book retailer Barnes & Noble announced their first layoffs ever. Other publishing houses, including HarperCollins, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Random House and Simon & Schuster have frozen salaries or cut jobs, or both.

O?Reilly customers will not notice major changes to the company, Winge said.

On the social networking tool Twitter, people passed their condolences to O?Reilly employees.

Derrick Story, a well-known photographer who worked at O?Reilly, revealed his layoff on Twitter with the comment, ?Hey, those of you who connect with me via O?Reilly Media, don?t use that e-mail address. Most of us in Digital Media were laid off today.?

Responding to an outpouring of condolences, Story wrote, ?I?m doing well. Need to figure out healthcare and all the usual stuff for the fam, but, I have projects too.?

The Digital Media branch was restructured into one publishing division along with the company?s Missing Manual group, O?Reilly Technology Exchange and its Head First series, Winge said.

O?Reilly Media suffered a series of layoffs following the dot-com bust, with the first coming in March 2001. The company announced another round of layoffs in October 2001 ? about a 10 percent reduction. In total, the company had at least four rounds of layoffs that extended into 2003.

Although O?Reilly Media surpassed its 2000 revenue of $60 million in recent years, it never surpassed its high of 336 employees reached during the peak of the dot-com boom.

Tim O?Reilly, the company?s chief executive and co-founder, is a well-known prognosticator of Internet trends and the future of high-tech. Recently, he has been advocating for entrepreneurs to work on problems that make a difference, such as alternative energies and the threat of global warming.

His fellow co-founder, Dale Dougherty, coined the now popular term ?Web 2.0? and also started the popular do-it-yourself magazines ?Craft? and ?Make,? which are published in Sebastopol.

The company produces several tech conferences throughout the year. The most prominent is its Web 2.0 Summit, which draws influential business and political leaders such as Rupert Murdoch, Al Gore and Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook.

The company sees a strong future in the tech sector.

?We are certainly bullish on technology,? Winge said.

You can reach Staff Writer Nathan Halverson at 521-5494, nathan.halverson@pressdemocrat.com, or at his blog dailygeek.pressdemocrat.com.