HarperCollins Australia and New Zealand CEO, James Kellow, today announced a proposal to staff that would, if implemented, close the company’s distribution operations in New Zealand at the end of July, and switch supply of the NZ market to its warehouse facility in Moss Vale, New South Wales, Australia.
‘Over the last few years, there has been a significant rise in digital sales, mirrored by a decline in physical sales. We expect this trend to continue. As a consequence, we are proposing it may no longer be viable for us to maintain a separate distribution facility in New Zealand.
HarperCollins remains committed to publishing local books for New Zealand readers but, if adopted, the proposal would mean most support services — finance, IS, editorial, customer service, and credit control — would be maintained from the Sydney offices in the future. In addition, we propose to streamline and relocate aspects of our publishing, sales and marketing communications operations to new Auckland premises to ensure we remain competitive in the future.
We deeply regret the anxiety and concern this proposal will cause our loyal and long-serving colleagues in New Zealand, and we will be consulting closely with them over the coming 10 days to ensure we reach the fairest outcome we can. We aim to reach a final conclusion by the 12th June, when a further announcement will be made.’
Wow what a change this could make to the NZ publishing scene. Less jobs for booklovers is never going to end well!! HCNZ got me into the publishing industry and it would be a shame to see them go!
This news deserves much more than a "frowny face" emoticon. This is about the degradation of NZ's literary identity. Does anyone really believe the CEO's cadre of cost-cutting execs will care about NZ authors or the literary landscape here? They are turning HCNZ into a suburban-Sydney sales office. NZ is a small market on their spreadsheet and we are losing our national voice!
Can New Zealand's book scene get any lower.We really are turning into " and partner" .We have our own identity,let's not lose it totally.
Maybe it's time, given the state of Random House, Penguin, Pearson and now HarperCollins, for authors and booksellers to support local independent NZ publishers lest they too fade away.
Wait till they take the axe to Penguin and Randon House. They've already laid off most of Pearson. The whole industry is soon to become a branch office of Sydney. Scholastic will be soon.
Serious? Yes. I have a colleague for whom being Oxford UP-published was the gold standard. It closed its Auckland office, the next few Oz-managed projects turned pear-shaped in production values and even simple English-language communication skills, and we've gone on to other publishers. If the Random takeover of Penguin doesn't work, we may be in serious trouble. If it does,just wait for the new shoots to grow, just like Clif Reed did against the Whitcombes empire and others have done since. But companies like Exisle show that things can be done properly (as long as Ian W has a spare room in his house!) My best wishes for the HCNZ and Pearson staff caught up tin the latest London/NY games....
Whilst I am no longer surprised by anything that multinational publishers choose to do in New Zealamd, I am personally saddened by the likely dimunition of this company in New Zealand. They have a proud history of supporting the New Zealand booktrade and whilst their commitment to publishing locally has varied over the years they have been an important part of our coming of age as a strong domestic publishing nation. Let us hope that they continue to support a local publishing operation for many years to come. My sympathies go to any of their New Zealand staff who will lose their jobs as a result of this decision. No doubt this year's 125 year anniversary will be a more muted event although as I said earleir there is much to be proud of...
What a blow for the New Zealand book industry. I am sure HCNZ will decorate their releases with flowery language, but this is nothing but trouble for those in the industry here. How long will it be before New Zealand is a footnote in their annual reports?
It should also be noted that this is the THIRD time in the last few decades that this particular publishing multinational has chopped back its NZ publishing. On the previous two occasions it actually shut down its NZ publishing completely, shame, shame. At least on this occasion it seems there'll be some sort of publishing presence remaining in Auckland. For the moment. But yes, it's more grim news.
As a soon to be published Harper Collins author I must say I'm incredibly disappointed that this is happened. I chose to go with HCNZ because of thier gowing list and committment to NZ publishing so to see editorial be shipped off to Oz is a great blow. I feel so sorry for all the staff who have put so much effort into my (and other) books only to see it all for naught.
Have the multi-national publishers ever seen their NZ subsidiaries as more than distributors for their UK/US parents' product? The age of "buy it cheap from Amazon, Book Depository etc on the web" has impacted on them locally as much as it has on bookstores, so this was entirely predictable.
The consideration that the multi-nationals have, however, is that if they abandon local publishing their market presence locally will suffer.
We think indies will become ever more important in both publishing and retailing in NZ.
As a HarperCollins NZ author, I feel desperately sorry for those staff who have lost their jobs. Many of these people have worked with commitment and enthusiasm for HCNZ for years and years. They must be devastated.
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