Thursday, May 26, 2011


This from Booksellers New Zealand The Read:
26 May 2011

Booksellers not over the moon with prize-winning publisher

The euphoria of a great title The Moon & Farmer McPhee - by internationally recognised author Margaret Mahy and illustrator David Elliot - winning the New Zealand Post Children’s Book of the Year Awards on Wednesday, 18 May ended abruptly for many booksellers the following day.

As The Read ran a feature on the surge in sales that accompanies most major prizewinning books, eager booksellers placing their orders were met by the ‘sorry we are out of stock and having to reprint’ advice from publishers Random House New Zealand.
Indications are that the title is unlikely to be available until the first week of July.
These are days of instant gratification – customers might wait a week, but will they wait seven weeks?

“The situation is extremely frustrating, we offer to take orders, but customers want it NOW,” says Children’s Bookshop Christchurch’s Mary Sangster.

“It is really disappointing that this is now the second time the title is out of print since it made the shortlist.”

Booksellers in general are indignant because when a publisher signs an agreement to the book being promoted as an New Zealand Post Children’s Book Award nominee, they undertake to keep stock available.
Booksellers New Zealand’s Lincoln Gould contacted Random House’s Karen Ferns on Monday, 23 May to ascertain when stocks would be available.
Karen replied “As discussed we were in stock at the time of the awards and have since gone out of stock and are currently reprinting in Asia. We expect to airfreight stock to meet the demand.”
“Seriously disappointed,” is how Annemarie Florian of Storytime in Whangarei describes her reaction to discovering the book was out of print.
“Even more so because the publisher that won has given good support to the award and usually looks after its supply chain. This time they dropped the ball.”
Annemarie was carrying good stock of The Moon & Farmer McPhee, but sold all her copies on 19 May (the day after the book's awards win).

“You have only got a short window to capture all the people who want the title following the win. People are excited at the time but in four to five weeks they will forget, and be on to something else.”

Yesterday, 25 May, Karen advised “We are still negotiating hard with the printer to get a better June date for Farmer McPhee.
“The very production values that helped the book win is a factor in slowing down the speed of the reprint. So we haven’t been able to make an announcement yet on when we can get new stock back into stores.”
Today’s update from Karen as The Read is released:

“It is currently looking like late June but we are expecting an update around 2pm to 3pm today when Hong Kong comes back online for a new day.

“So we can’t be more definite. Sales department here has sent out an order form saying 1 July, which I hope would be the worst scenario.”
Booksellers are holding their breath.
This story will be updated on our website as more information comes to hand.

1 comment:

TK Roxborogh said...

To be fair to the publisher, may I suggest that, if it had not won, none of this would have been an issue. To avoid a huge financial risk in these times is understandable.

What if another book had won? Would the immediate demand have been so great?

When publishers are told their books are shortlisted, a very long time before announcement, they ensure extra print runs.

Book sellers need to have a little more faith in this book - and the people who look to buy a special one for their children/grandchildren etc etc.

Hey, I bought a Hairy Maclary last week as a gift for a friend's child....

I've taken over the rights to three of my titles and reprint them myself for teachers. They are more than happy to wait for them. Shuffling around the programme for Years 9 or 10 is not so hard if you are keen to use a text.

Waiting to get a copy of an exceptional book is annoying but doable if you know that if will come eventually.
(in my teacher/writer/mother/bookbuyer/opinion