Thursday, April 22, 2010

Waterstone’s took a wrong turn, says Dan Franklin

21.04.10 | Felicity Wood in The Bookseller

A major part of the crisis facing midlist authors has been Waterstone's failure in recent years to support new and non-bestselling writers, according to Jonathan Cape publisher Dan Franklin.
Speaking yesterday at the LBF seminar "Midlist crisis: How to revive the middle market", Franklin argued that the decision to compete against supermarkets was a wrong turn for the retailer.

He said: "When Tim Waterstone arrived on the market he was a wonderful supporter of new writers and funded the first ever book of the month himself. In the previous few years, however, although Waterstone's paid lip service to new writers, things haven't been so happy for them. They took a wrong turn when deciding supermarkets were the main competition."

Franklin was heartened by the new direction of Dominic Myers, saying there had been early signs that Waterstone's was reverting back to its old ethos. "They are now saying that they want to do more for new writers," he said.

Franklin suggested that to have a good year publishers only needed to have three or four titles work beyond expectations. He added: "At least 80% of books fail to meet their budget expectations but I would never drop an author just because their sales are down."
More at The Bookseller.

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