Saturday, January 23, 2010

Publishers look at life without Borders

22.01.10 Catherine Neilan in The Bookseller

Publishers are drawing a line under the loss of Borders, with a number expecting to retrieve a “reasonable” amount of the debts tied up with the retailer.

However, industry chiefs have warned the greatest impact will be the long-term effect on the retail environment, as they adjust to life with one fewer national outlet for books.

Simon Juden, chief executive of the Publishers Association, said: “Most publishers have come to a reasonable position on their debts, but the real impact will be on the long-term retail capacity. Coupled with recent events at Waterstone’s, the retail landscape for books is going through a challenging time.”

Tim Hely Hutchinson, chief executive of Hachette UK, said: “We have been doing valiant work to collect the debt, and we expect to collect the great majority of it, so it is not serious in bad debt terms at all. But we are now missing more than 40 good stores . . . The loss of bookstores will mean loss of sales—some business goes to another book store, but some just disappears into thin air.”

He added Hachette was expecting to increase sales through supermarket and internet channels—“if that is where the public wants to shop, then publishers cannot stand in their way”—but would also increase its focus on independent booksellers.

Faber sales director Will Atkinson agreed. He said: “With the loss of Borders, plenty of bigger publishers will start taking the independent sector much more seriously. For us in particular, a healthy independent sector is important, because they tend to sell our books well, so keeping them well-treated is a good thing.”


Maggie May said...

what!!?? Borders is going? i hadn't heard this. i'm going to cry, this can't be...what?

Beattie's Book Blog said...

Only Borders UK Maggie.