Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Hachette UK expects 'short transition period' to agency model

21.09.10 - Graeme Neill - The Bookseller

Hachette UK has said its switch to the agency model is a bid to create "a level playing field for large and small booksellers alike" and has said that switchover of clients will take place over a "short transition period".

The UK's biggest publisher's move led to Hachette e-books being removed from the websites of Waterstone's, W H Smith, Tesco and The Book Depository this week. continues to sell Hachette e-books on its site and appears to be still setting the prices. Hachette e-books were still not on sale on any of the sites this morning (21st September) with only Amazon and Apple selling its digital titles.

Hachette had declined to comment on the move but issued a statement overnight confirming that it was "in a short transition period from wholesaler terms to the agency model for our e-books".

The statement added: "While the process of their introduction may seem a bit bossy, the point of agency terms is to create a level playing field for large and small booksellers alike and we believe most people will quickly come to understand that the outcome is supportive and fair to all".

Hachette c.e.o. Tim Hely Hutchinson first contacted agents in June to inform them that it would move to agency. He said at the time the move was "in the long-term interests of the whole industry".

Waterstone's, W H Smith, and Tesco have not commmented on the reasons for taking Hachette UK titles off their websites. The Book Depository has publicly stated that it does not wish to move on to agency terms.

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